Trudeau’s big leap—like father, like son

Trudeau’s big leap—like father, like son

Just as in 2012, the Liberals of the late ’60s needed a messiah. Enter Trudeaus.

(Christinne Muschi/Reuters)

(Christinne Muschi/Reuters)

Justin Trudeau’s expected move into contention for the Liberal crown revives memories of a half-century ago, sitting around a polished table in a refurbished farmhouse near Ottawa, when I was part of a small knot of media junkies quaffing sangria and talking politics. This was in 1968, when it was his father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, about to hurl himself into the political snakepit, who was the topic of intense speculation.

There is a disconnect between the storied political campaign of the intellectual gunslinger who put us on the map with his macho pirouettes and devil-may-care gestures, and his eldest son, whose entry owes more to boxing than thinking outside the box. One vague link occurs. The year that the senior Trudeau was crowned coincided with Ben Tre, the Vietnamese city that the Americans, then at war, had to “destroy to save it.” Unless Justin as leader applies some harsh medicine to the remnants of the Liberal party, he will end up like Ben Mulroney, hosting entertainment shows. (Already the politician, Justin invited Ben to his wedding to glamorous CTV talk show correspondent Sophie Grégoire.)

A high school teacher when he wore a cropped version of a Johnny Depp beard, Justin reached out to the country only once before, at his father’s funeral: voicing the most poignant of the elegies, ending his prayer with the heart-rending, “Je t’aime, papa.” Prayers will come in handy should he be charged with rescuing the Liberals, who haven’t been the country’s Natural Governing Party since Noah launched his ark, or so it seems. The state of the Grits in the past decade adds up to an act of supreme self-immolation. They have lost every power base they once commanded: Quebec, the Maritimes, rural Ontario and Toronto. Their record in the past four elections, as they spiralled toward political purgatory, was to lose an average of 30 seats at a time in the past four elections. The downward momentum increased in the last election, when they gave up 43 constituencies, including that of the enigmatic Michael Ignatieff, the party’s previous instant messiah. The best brain of his generation he may have been, but without any discernable focus, he became the Titanic of his party and hasn’t surfaced since.

The Liberal party inherited by Pierre in 1968 also required a messiah, because the previous PMs, John Diefenbaker and Mike Pearson, had acted like mountain goats with locked horns. It took the iconoclasm of a catalyst of Trudeau’s determination and muscular vision to break the impasse, and he remained in office for most of the next 16 years.

The necessity for a saviour was much less apparent then than it is now, when the Liberals appear to be a vanishing species not just federally, but in Quebec, British Columbia and even Ontario.

It was a dreamy interlude, back in that heady evening of the inaugural Trudeau apparition. There we were in the welcome embrace of one of those glorious central Ontario clover-laden evenings, getting deeper into the Spanish red, when a vaguely radical CBC type mentioned a book he had been reading, The Morning of the Magicians. Its theme was to wrap the visionary ideals of the 1960s in a mystical aura, which suited the mood of our gathering just fine. We were so caught up in the spirit of the occasion that no one hooted in derision when it was suggested in the self-deprecating manner of Canadian intellectuals that Trudeau must be “some kind of goddamn magician,” as one of the revellers put it. The trick would be to adapt Trudeau’s perceived perfections into the operational code of the nation’s highest office—or so we thought.

Pierre Trudeau seemed to appear on the national scene out of nowhere, like a desert prince who follows the shifting sands. In fact he was the product of a crammed, precisely plotted educational regime that included stints at Harvard, École libre des sciences politiques, the London School of Economics and the Université de Montréal—an academic immersion that didn’t end until he entered active politics at age 46, a decade later than his eldest son. If Pierre’s conquest of the Liberal party appeared in retrospect to have been predestined, it was anything but. In fact, Trudeau’s victory seemed scarcely credible, much more far-fetched than inevitable. To most Liberals, Trudeau was an untested outsider whose only distinction was the red rose in his lapel—a disturbing presence not easily encompassed by the collective Liberal mindset that assumed its destiny was simply to carry on as the nation’s Natural Governing Party.

The denizens of the Rideau Club, the luncheon venue where the power barons gathered, were fond of telling one another about the time Trudeau turned up on a Saturday morning at the Privy Council Office dressed in desert boots and a boiler suit. The commissionaire on duty, convinced Trudeau was a plumber guided by a jumbled worksheet, turned him away. In the early speculative talk about leadership candidates, he was dismissed as a bad joke. (“How could anybody who combs his hair forward, like Julius Caesar at a Stratford matinee, presume to lead the country?”) Enlightened Liberals—both of them—felt they wanted a dramatic change from the Pearson brand of poker politics, a candidate who could re-establish public trust in the party and reawaken confidence in itself.

As soon as Trudeau hinted that he might be available, historians smelling of water biscuits, lobbyists desperate for credit ratings, the usual whisky priests and progressive thinkers of every vintage began coalescing behind his candidacy. Toronto artist Mashel Teitelbaum circulated a petition urging him to run, which eventually comprised 600 big-name signatures. In a courting mood, but not committing himself, Trudeau left for a holiday in the South Pacific. “Before I make my decision,” he told me before leaving, “I’ve got to find out whether it’s really possible to do anything once I get into the prime minister’s office.” Instead, he met Maggie Sinclair in a bikini.

In every successful political campaign there is an identifiable moment when it catches fire, when natural momentum overtakes plotted positions and propels a candidate into the lead. For Pierre Trudeau, that moment arrived on Jan. 28, 1968, at the Quebec Liberal Federation meeting held in Montreal’s Hotel Bonaventure. Jean Marchand, as the Liberals’ Quebec lieutenant, had craftily made sure that none of the candidates would be allowed to address the federation, even though Quebec would be sending 626 delegates to the leadership convention. Since he was not yet a candidate, Trudeau could appropriately deliver the conference’s keynote address. Using a screen that listed all of Quebec’s options (from separation to absolute monarchy) in crystal-clear prose, Trudeau demonstrated why federalism would ensure the province the most attractive destiny. At the end of Trudeau’s speech, they cheered and sang Il a gagné ses épaulettes. When one enthusiast yelled out, “THE NEXT PRIME MINISTER!” Trudeau bowed his head, shrugged, waved his hands in self-deprecating gestures, shrugged again, and sat down. Whatever doubts had existed among his followers about the willingness of Quebec delegates to support his leadership had vanished.

Their confidence was confirmed when Claude Frenette defeated Yves Paré, an old-guard candidate, by a four-to-one margin in the key vote for the presidency of the Quebec Liberal Federation. That evening Trudeau walked into Frenette’s hotel room, hugged him and said, “We beat the bastards. Now it’s possible for us to do things.” At the annual meeting of the Ontario Liberals in Toronto that followed, Trudeau’s delegate assault was organized by Robert Stanbury, Tim Reid and Charles Caccia. He was carried through the meeting hall on delegates’ shoulders and, for the first time, there was evidence of Trudeaumania, the spectacle of teenyboppers in miniskirts squealing at the sight of him. Their reaction was best described by Elmer Sopha, a playful Ontario MPP, who reported, “Their eyes are transfixed and they seem to be breathing through their toenails. You’d think they all had asthma.”

On Feb. 14, 1968, Trudeau finally announced his official entry in the race at an Ottawa press conference, accusing the media of creating his candidacy as a joke on the Liberals: “When I saw the response from political people, from members of the party and responsible members of Parliament, this is when I began to wonder if this whole thing was not a bit more serious than you and I had intended. It looks a bit like when I tried to enter the party. I didn’t think the Liberal party would take me and suddenly, they did. So I was stuck with it. Well, now you’re stuck with me.” Almost immediately, the contest became Trudeau against all the others. Riding a chartered jet, huddled inside the folds of his leather coat, Trudeau travelled 32,000 km, making 30 pit stops. Every appearance ignited standing ovations. Few recall the cliffhanger final score: he won the leadership with merely 51.1 per cent of the votes on the fourth ballot.

The general election that followed was a combination of coronation and Beatles tour. The same teenyboppers with manes of streaming hair gripped their machine-autographed photos of Pierre-baby and screamed whenever he deigned to hug one of their swarming numbers. Bemused toddlers borne on their parents’ shoulders were admonished to “remember him,” as excitement surged across the country. Press cameras clicked like hungry insects.

This also marked the inauguration of the dance of the klieg lights that was most directly responsible for Trudeau’s victory. There were eight serious candidates, forcing the television producers to narrow their coverage. To a man, and they still were all men, they assumed a Trudeau victory long before the delegates or the contender himself made that freefall leap of logic. Everywhere that Trudeau went he was followed by lights that bathed him in luminescence that turned into a secular halo. The more he appeared on the small screens, the more entranced Canadians were by his devil-may-care style and cool demeanour. There was about him a subtle, indefinable intensity, a suggestion of pent-up power and hidden dimensions—the identical feeling that had fuelled our bacchanalian evening at that Ottawa farmhouse.

The cameras love Justin too, but this is a different age, more accustomed to politicians playing to media. Still, the ability to hold a crowd in thrall is a rare thing, and Justin’s charm of mixing sex appeal with political ideals will take him a long way. Justin enters the race with two secret weapons: 150,000 avid Twitter followers, with the bonus that under the Grits’ revised constitution almost anyone can vote; and the campaign guidance of Gerald Butts, one of the wisest political advisers extant.

The two Trudeaus share not only a famous surname. There is an essential Pierre characteristic that I have noticed emerging in Justin, as I have watched him blossom into manhood. No matter what he did, in office or out, Pierre never failed to exercise his ultimate civil liberty: the right to be himself. Justin is cast in precisely the identical mould. As heir to that magnificent tradition, he will try to repeat history and reach for the top. Anything can happen—just watch him.

Peter C. Newman covered the national political scene for Maclean’s and has written half a dozen political bestsellers.


Trudeau’s big leap—like father, like son

  1. A capital and captivating read as always, thanks so much Peter C. Newman. Interesting to read that even PET was mocked for his hairstyle back in the day, and we are in such similar times in 2012 as we were in 1968 — we are struggling with a more-powerful separatist PQ government, fighting unpopular wars (and about to become entangled in another?), and still unsure if we should legalize pot. History repeats itself, over and over again, and I for one would be thrilled to support Justin Trudeau. I was just a kid during the Trudeaumania years, but remember my mother, father, and even grandmother taken with his intellect and other charms.

    • Speaking of “a more-powerful separatist PQ government”… can you tell us what Trudeau did trying to convince Quebecers to vote Charest Liberals in the last provincial election? I don’t remember if he was as active politically as he was in the Ontario by-elections and Toronto mayoralty election. Thanks in advance.

      • Pretty sure you’re playing me, and you can google as easily as I can, but I’m in a good mood: to my knowledge, and I do not live in PQ nor have I ever, JT had limited involvement in the recent PQ election. He did work with the local Liberal candidate (local to his own federal riding) and attended some of his events.

    • Just to clarify. Many of us criticize the wisdom of Justin running for the leadership – not because we dislike him. We are just so surprised that anyone can be distracted by charm because it is so unnecessary for steering a country through tough economic times. It’s in the context of politics that many Liberals are unhappy or shocked over the possibility of Justin running. It has nothing to do with Pierre Trudeau or Trudeaumania or Justin’s hair. We are just really really tired of all the subject matters that surround Justin and his wife Sophie who was introduced in Chatelaine magazine as the fiancee of the future Prime Minister of Canada. Canada’s PM isn not a Monarch so there is no such thing as being heir to the position of Prime Minister.

      • I do not need you to clarify my comment, and imagine you are part of the same group whose insidious in-fighting has taken the party to its current nadir. No doubt you had lots to say about supporting Dion and Ignatieff too. So either figure out how to select and support a new leader, or say good bye to the party. You sure don’t sound like you have any use for JT and his family — are you even actually a Liberal? Are you equally shocked that Sheila Copps might run, or people who have never run and won a seat? Sheesh, just who on earth would your bestest possible candidate for leader be? If your preferred choice for leader isn’t the successful candidate, will you shut up and support the new leader, or keep fighting in public?

        • Little Liberal doesn`t like to hear the truth.

        • I’m supporting Deborah Coyne because I think she would be a very fine Parliamentarian and she seems to have managed to keep her private life private which I see as wise.

          • I have nothing against Deborah Coyne and in fact, think she is very intelligent. But I am really tired of Liberals beating each other up, so I hope we all can restrain ourselves through the leadership campaign because our turning on each other does nothing to compel new voters to the party. Right?

    • Hi Patchouli, I’ve decided to take my criticisms of Justin Trudeau off this blog. If he runs, it will happen soon and I want to encourage fellow Liberals to engage with the leadership process and feel optimistic about the future of the party.

      • I’d say you’ve done a fine job of that on here.

      • I admire that; you show fairness. We all will have our opinions over the next few months, but I hope we can get through this and become more, not less, united. Best to you.

  2. OMG!!!! Pierre is being reincarnated in Justin… by the media mavens… hallelujah !!!!!

    How can jaded and lugubrious Liberals not recognize that Justin is their political child-messiah who will lead them to the Promised Land on Parliament Hill?!

    If Liberals again seek a leader over 50 y.o., they will most certainly fall into the political pit of oblivion.

    Young Liberals must wrench the Liberal party away from the old and failed dogs who still persist in clinging to their privileged positions.

    Out with the old… in with the young and new…!!!!

    JustinT… udaman…!!!!

    • The Parliamentarians over the age of 41 are not old and failed, they just do not happen to be members of the party that won the last election. Only one party can be in government at any given time. The caucus of a party works together as a team so it’s ideal to have a representation of Canadians from several generations.

  3. Peter this is no longer 1968 and the country has grown up. This Trudeau will bear the scars of his father whether that is fair or unfair. You say the Liberals have no constituency left. Well from what well will the younger messiah draw from. He may have a fine head of hair but beyond that he speaks in the usual platitudes of someone who has no idea what he is talking about. He needs to live the life of an ordinary Canadian. He has no idea how the other half lives.

    • “…beyond that he speaks in the usual platitudes of someone who has no idea what he is talking about.”

      That’s richly ironic even for you hollinm.

  4. Peter C. Newman conveniently ignores or intentionally omits Justin’s denunciation of Harper and Canada, per a Licia Corbella article:

    “Here is the English translation of what he said in French: “I always say that if, at a given time, I believed that Canada was really the Canada of Stephen Harper, and that we were going against abortion, that we were going against gay marriage, that we were moving backwards in 10,000 different ways, maybe I would think of wanting to make Quebec a country,” said the Quebec Liberal MP.

    Quelle surprise, non? The son of a former prime minister who was such a staunch federalist he invoked the War Measures Act and called in the army against Quebec separatists, would join forces with the people who want to break up Canada?

    When the interviewer conveyed shock at his statement, Trudeau added: “Oh yes, absolutely. If I no longer recognized Canada, I know my own values very well.”

    In other words, if things don’t go my way over the next four years, or eight, I’m going to pick up my boxing gloves and try to break up the country.

    To hell with fighting for Canada — Trudeau will just switch teams and fight for an independent Quebec instead.”

    Trudeau … saying one thing in Quebec and the opposite in the RoC!!! How stupid does he think we are??!!!

    Obviously, Newman counts on that ignorance and stupidity in his article.

    • Those who “vote down” should also explain why they disagree with my valid message, because just expressing your feeelings so superficially is a cop out.

      • You are right about one thing, the fact that Trudeau will succeed at whatever he puts his mind to. Quite frankly, and unlike yourself, apparently, I would much rather having a ‘winner’ like him in charge of Canada, rather than a Province seeking the self-determination of it’s people.

        I think it’s beyond naive to suggest that Trudeau is a separatist, in fact it’s an incredibly stupid and malicious statement to make.

        I voted down your comment because it is nothing more than a glorified lie.

        • How do you reconcile your beliefs about Trudeau when he categorically stated he would work for the separation of Quebec from a Stephen Harper Canada? To me it reveals a fatal flaw in his political character that will undoubtedly be exploited with attack ads should he become the next Liberal leader. Justin is just a sitting duck target for both the NDP and Conservatives, and his life experiences would just expose his failure as a student and in his working life. He has no significant HoCs parliamentary experience, nor has he any government leadership in a Liberal gov’t. Why are the Liberal media mavens keeping him alive politically when we all know he would split the Liberal party even more if he were made it’s leader?

          • Hell, I say we build Harper a new Parliament building in Alberta and cut him / them loose.

            Harper’s Canada is not mine either, and I can well understand anyone wanting to distance themselves from it.

          • With a fragile NDP-Quebec coalition and a floundering Liberal party, it must be apparent to you that Harper will be PM of Canada for the foreseeable future… and certainly after 2015 if he decides to continue in politics. Your inarticulate twitter-style blurts reveals your juvenile wishful thinking. Perhaps you should consider emigrating… maybe to Cuba or Venzuela … ya think??!!!

          • Nah; I’ll just go back to NL and join the separatists there.

            My point is that Trudeau is saying what a significant portion of non-CPC supporters feel: that Canada under Harper’s “democratic” dictatorship [we really need to change this FPTP system; it only really works in a two-party democracy whereas with our multi-party system we have had dictatorships by minorities for decades] will not be recognizable to us by the time he is done. If I wanted to live in the US, I’d move there.
            As for your Cuba/Venezuela crack: Once again, a CPC supporter claiming anyone to the right of his position is a “commie”. That would be like me calling Harper supporters Nazis. And you call ME juvenile?

            Subject: [macleansca] Re: Justin Trudeau’s big leap

          • That is funny Keith. Given that alot of your Newfoundland brethern work in Alberta, I am not sure that they want this province “cut loose”. Having visited there, many voiced not so friendly sentiments about central Canada however.

          • Fire wall Steve redux. It’s simply snap. I don’t like your Canada, you don’t like mine.

        • Mike sez:- “Trudeau will succeed at whatever he puts his mind to”!!! Well, according to his wikipedia page he abandoned his two useless BA degrees and teaching drama… and enrolled in the Uof Montreal Engineering School and flunked out, so he started a soft Masters program in ‘Environmental Geography’, which he terminated to run as the Liberal in the Papineau riding where he won based on his name only. Justin is an academic flop and a political opportunist…. soooo obvious.

          • And just what have you done for your country lately?

            Are you as great a man as your father?

          • I am not the issue… JustinT is the issue and he falls short of his father’s legacy. Justin was a professional student graduating with a useless BA degree and then added a 2 year BA teaching certificate degree. After he couldn’t earn a living as a teacher, he went back to school for a career change. He enrolled in the Uof Montreal Engineering School but flunked out so he pursued a soft Masters program in “Environmental Geography” which he abandoned to contest the Papineau riding and won based on his name. The man has not achieved anything of consequence and doesn’t match his father’s or even my father’s accomplishments in life and for Canada.

          • And what about your accomplishments? Eh??!!

          • Pray tell, what were harper’s accomplishments prior to becoming leader of his party? Did you know he shakes hands with his children instead of hugging them? And his wife is a lipstick lesbian in an affair with her RCMP guard. And he eats kittens for breakfast — it’s all true, I read it on the internet!

          • Stephen Harper is very intelligent. I felt that he won each of the debates prior to the last election. I will never vote for a neo-conservative government but I recognized Harper’s passionate dedication to what he believes in during his rise to the top in the Alliance Party and through the period when the new Conservative Party of Canada was created, I think Stephen Harper won his majority government because he talked about the economy during the last campaign. He did not dumb down his message or ‘wing it’ and millions of Canadians who may have previously supported the Liberal Party, switched their allegiance to the Harper Conservatives. I think our next leader needs to be able to talk economics in active discussions with Canadians from all walks of life. She or he must be so widely knowledgeable that they will be able to have meaningful discussions on global economic issues with other world leaders. I believe that the Chretien-Martin slightly-right-of-centre approach was the correct one for Canada. If an all-over-the-political-spectrum warm-and-fuzzy do-gooder takes over the leadership, more Liberal voters could support Harper or choose our decidely right-of centre and fascinatingly progressive alternative, the Green Party of Canada.

          • Mary, harper won the election because so many Liberals stayed home and sat on their hands, or voted strategically with the NDP or Greens to attempt to defeat a conservative candidate. Harper’s campaign was lacklustre across the board, but yes, it was on message and disciplined.

          • Are you normally this completely and intentionally obtuse? Didn’t dumb down…!!! The man’s forte’ is dumbing stuff down.

          • Hahaha! I love this Mary and she is one of YOURS! She is just sooooo forthright and disarming. What a fresh new voice from the left here on Macleans.

          • Why? From a liberal perspective she’s washing party laundry on a blog full of trolls who can’t stand Trudeau. She can do whatever she wants but i consider that a pretty cheap way to sell her candidate D.Coyne.
            She’s not saying any thing that other liberals are not saying, but i don’t see Garneau partisans here extolling their candidate amongst a bunch of trolls.

          • Dear Patchouli, Try to be respectful of the other people contributing to this blog. Our common ground is much more significant than our differences. One of my friends said he hopes that Justin will postpone thoughts of running for the leadership until he’s served as an MP for 10-15 years – hopefully with the Liberals in power during some of that time. I hope you will re-consider your first ballot choice or support Deborah Coyne on a 2nd or subsequent ballots. Go to her website and watch her videos and read all the articles.

          • How long has Deborah Coyne held office as an MP?

          • She hasn’t served in Parliament yet. Crazy as it sounds, I kind of like that.

          • Mary, I was rude to you last evening, frustrated that a sister-Liberal would take potshots at a potential leader on a public forum, and I am sorry for that this morning. I will support whoever becomes leader, but at this point, I do hope it is JT because we frankly need a game-changer. I will familiarize myself with her ideas and background as I will all the leadership candidates, and you are right: at this point, JT is not one.

          • Don’t worry, Patchouli. I understand your frustration.

          • Papineau was a tough riding for any lib. He could have had a gimme, he didn’t. Give him some credit.
            Did you write that wiki entry – has your hallmark?

    • You should change your moniker: you do not live up to the current one. ‘Silly agitator’ would work better.

      • So I’m too “observant” for your taste, am I..??!!! You object because you cannot cope with Justin’s goof as reported by Licia Corbella. Reality hurts… eh??!!!

    • He acutally said:

      “IF at any given time”!
      It was clumsy and ill advised – about as ill advised as Harper’s fire wall remarks at around the same age.. Harper learned, so will JT…if he doesn’t you needn’t worry, he wont he even make to liberal leader, let alone PM. The party wont tolerate another doofus.

  5. “Unless Justin as leader applies some harsh medicine to the remnants of the Liberal party.”

    The Liberal party has been looking for ” Star leadership” through the last 3 leaders,
    and failed with each choice.

    Justin is not his father and to assume that Canadians will accept him as someone who is just will be like his father, and is a leader, will make him failed choice number four.
    Yes Justin is a “star”, and he is not a PM.
    Justin is still a “kid” who’s life’s work should be as Ben Mulroney’s,entertaining through the media.

    • Justin’s life CV seems a tad shallow on leadership and political policy…. however his drama training does come through when he utters his passionate pleas with great feeeling and great gusto. Canadian girls should be besotted with this new prince of politics. He’s “so cute”.. and wait until he pulls out his wife and children for public viewing….!!!!

      • Youmean like Harper, Obama and every other politician does? You’re pathetic.

        • Didn’t you see when Stephen Harper shook hands with his son on his first day of school? He doesn’t exactly “pull the kids out for public viewing”. He is much too awkward in his interactions with them for it to be a positive for him.

          • What tripe. He does photo ops with his kids all the time. Nothing wrong with that,everyone does it as i pointed out to the unobservant one.

    • You raise good points. But Justin claims to take after his mother.

  6. I voted for Trudeau in 1968 for the same reason everyone else did.

    He was new and young and didn’t look or think like a fuddy-duddy old farmer….and he wanted to move the country forward. The country was ready for it.

    Justin has the same thing going for him.

    • Emily…. just admit that the young Trudeau awakens the same orgasmic political feeelings that the old Trudeau did when you were a budding flower child in the 1960s. Pierre was just a rascal who you found romantic and a breath of fresh air in Ottawa… and he was a fantasy French amour too..!!!

      • I knew the dirty old man that you have always been would show up pretty soon.

        Not interested…..go find a porn show to salivate at.

        • Dear Emily… don’t get all heated up over JustinT, because he’s not half the man his father was… intellectually, politically, and even romantically having sired a daughter who is now attending the Wharton School of Business at MIT. The girl inherited dad’s brains because her mom was smart too and is running for the Liberal leadership … go figure..!!!!

          • Maybe the daughter will actually be the one to follow in Pierre’s footsteps.

  7. The big difference is that Pierre had brains and didn’t let anyone manage him. Justin doesn’t have that.

    • Pierre Trudeau was well educated, shrewd, even machiavellian in his treatment of politics. When he was confronted by the FLQ and declared the War Measures Act at the request of Quebec Premier Bourassa, a news reported asked him “how far will you go”… and tough guy Pierre famously responded “just watch me”! Justin’s only political conflict was resolved in a boxing ring where he revealed he had an aboriginal-inspired tatoo on his left shoulder. The man is a farce, a joke, and only a Liberal emissary to energize the 18-24 y.o. laggard youth vote.

      • If you believe that he is incompetent as a leader, why are you and your Reformatories so afraid of him anyway? Is it because he’d beat the pants off your tough freaky cult leader. Just asking.

        • incompetent as a leader? Justin Trudeau is not prime minister. He is not in a leadership position. He isn’t running as a candidate for leadership. Who is this tough freaky cult leader you refer to? what do you mean by ‘your Reformatories?’ If Justin Trudeau does not become a candidate, will you be supporting someone else for the LPC leadership? I hope you will stay involved but please think through what you post online. Always respect that there are Conservative voters who might choose to support a Liberal candidate in their riding or support the Liberal Party. What we blog can influence others in a positive way. You might personally convince a person who has always voted Conservative or who genuinely admires Stephen Harper, to vote Liberal next time. Never under-estimate the power of one. ISo here’s a question for you to ponder: on the bottom line, would Justin be able to sway hundreds of thousands of Conservative voters who only want a fiscally prudent PM who risks being unpopular to do what needs to be done? Justin’s over-the-top amusing words and behaviours are ideal in a charity event host. I hope, for his sake, that he leaves politics. If you do not want Stephen Harper re-elected with an even stronger majority, please seriously consider supporting Deborah Coyne.

        • HaHaHaHahaHa

      • You really mean the War Method Act of smoke and mirrors he used on the population of English-speaking Canada, Making them think that he was going to deal with the FLQ, when he was the instigater and not in any way against the FLQ. That is why Canada is now is such trouble. Trudeau wanted to make Canada a French nation by guile and deceit. The phrase “Just watch me” was used to con English-speaking Canada. That is why he wanted a UNILINGUAL Kebec, and a BILINGUAL English-speaking CANADA,

    • Cranky conservatives are really not well positioned to make that kind of judgment call…

  8. Re.: “… ending his prayer with the heart-rending, “Je t’aime, papa.'” Heart-rending? Or just another embarrassingly gratuitous display of Justin’s over-the-top bad acting?

    • Justin didn’t even mention his half-sister who also grieved the passing of her father Pierre, in his grand eulogy. She attended Pierre’s funeral and was ignored by the other side of the Trudeau family. That says a lot about Justin and his leadership of the Trudeau Family….!

      • Little Troll, you’ve had a busy day. Time for beddy byes now.

        • The Truth about hero Justin hurts… eh..?!

          • Yes, you have wounded me deeply. NIghty night.

          • Nola doubt you are a bitter old gal, frustrated too.

          • I am neither old nor frustrated, but since you can’t keep to the topic and instead want to make personal slurs on women, you’ve lost my attention. You are dead to me from now on: no more responses ever.

  9. The problems of the Liberal Party can be best addressed by an intelligent, knowledgeable, leader who has outlined clear policies in all major areas. Deborah Coyne has done this. She is an ideal leadership candidate for the Liberal Party of Canada. Coyne would contribute meaningfully to a debate with May, Mulcair and Harper and could, with her excellent powers of reasoning, bring voters over to the Liberals from all 3 of the other major parties. Justin Trudeau in a leadership debate? I’m trying not to imagine him spouting off pop culture witicisms ala Bill Maher or Al Franken. If Justin Trudeau leads the Liberals into the next election, Harper will get an even stronger majority. Peter C Newman’s article makes bile rise up in my throat. God help Canada!.

    • Dude, are you drunk? It’s by Peter C. Newman, not Don Newman. And now I understand the comment you tackily tacked onto mine: you are a Coyne supporter. Fine, go for it: so if Deborah is not the successful candidate, and trust me, she will not be, are you going to continue to be a Liberal, or are you going to continue to fight in public. You do the party no favours.

      • Thanks for pointing out the error which I’ve corrected. With all due respect, Deborah Coyne is a candidate and as of yet, Justin Trudeau is not.

        • Let’s not gang up on fellow Liberals in public; it does no good for anyone and plays into conservative hands.

          • It will be an interesting race. I hope many Canadians new to the Liberal Party will get involved. If Justin steps into the ring, it will probably be very soon and from that point onward, I will be looking for the good and hoping for the best.

    • So Justy could be debating with his Stepmom. I like this.

      • She was never his step mother. She is a smart woman, no doubt about it, and I will support her should she win. But she won’t. Glad you changed your mistake, Mary.

  10. Newman seems to have changed his tune a bit since the last time he opined on JT. So maybe he has noticed something. It doesn’t matter much anyway. People grumble all the time that he isn’t his father, lacks his gravitas and intellectual gifts, not to mention academic accomplishments and experience of the world. All true, but no matter. Personally i think he’ll do just fine, he’s no dummy. He might even be quite good. But in an unserious age, who does stack up well against someone like Trudeau senior?{AB is about to bury someone who did.] Certainly not our current PM. In an unserious age where real accomplishments and character seem to be secondary to ability to smear your opponent, mime your tps or stay on message until the gods themselves weep in frustration, how can JT do any worse? Politics has changed so much and the bar is so impossibly low now anyway. Even if he turns out to be a flake or a phony how will we tell him apart from any of the others?

    • PM Harper has a deeper and more realistic grasp of the economy of the nation, having been trained as an economist at the Masters level. He at least understands the intricacies of domestic and international economics, while Justin’s only academic expertise is a general BA and a two year BA to qualify for a teaching certificate, which he abandoned when he had a career change enrolling in the Uof Montreal Engineering School, and then flunked out. (Dr. Garneau in comparison is a genius with a Doctorate of Engineering and a distinguished career). Justin is just a lightweight intellect with no great contribution to the Canadian body politic… like Harper who together with McKay, united the Conservatives and eventually led them to a majority gov’t. Justin is just an empty suit with a fine head of hair.

      • Pray tell observant. What kind of experience does Harper have in his post secondary school. a couple of years of economics which he failed and only job working in his fathers mail room. not much to brag about that took him how many years to train as an economist? My grade 4 grandchild can do better economic forecasts then your control freak has been able to do.He is very good though of controlling his paid shills and his senseless supporters. I have to give him an A for that.

      • Masters eh…he hadn’t run so much as a toffee shop before entering politcs and you know it. I have a degree in French – guess that makes me a linguist.[ tall one that]
        Perhaps JT will make Garneau his advisor, who knows? Clearly Harper has shown an empty suit with a grudge and agenda can go far in todays political environment.
        Don’t underestimate Trudeau’s grudge against Harper – he wants his Canada back and knows who he has to KO to do it.

        • Sorry, I have to say it kcm2: are you, at least, a cunning linguist?

          • Naughty naughty.

      • Harper knows nothing of economics except for 19th century ideology. When the 2008 Great Recession hit, Harper was completely oblivious to it. He planned austerity measures instead of stimulus spending which the rest of the developed world was doing.

        Canadians can thank the Liberals and NDP for forcing the issue and saving Canada from the ill effects of Harper’s flaky economic management.

        Fact is all Harper has managed to do is squander the advantages left to him from the previous Liberal government and try to take credit for their accomplishments.

        The Economist (2010): Canada’s resilient economy: The Goldilocks recovery
        “Much of the country’s resilience stems from policies—such as bank regulation and sound public finances—which predate Mr Harper.”

  11. He needs to morph from a paper airplane into an F 35. And until he demonstrates some depth re foreign policy, NATO, Iran, Canada-US relations, Quebec separatism, etc. he’ll continue to e a lightweight with a pretty face.

    • Canadians, and in particular Canadian women who are besotted with his manly pugilistic and facial appearance are just as superficial as Justin Trudeau. Oh well, you know what they say — sex sells… for the sexually frustrated, and rebellious youth.

      • Envy is a sad thing to behold…

    • Because we know that our current PM displays this depth in spades *cough*…

  12. We’ll see what becomes of young Justin. Maybe he won’t run this time, or ever. If he does run, maybe he won’t even win. And then the election in 2015.
    Lots of things will happen between now and then, most will be forgotten (especially all of the banter on this forum!), and I’ve long ago stopped trying to figure out what it is that causes people to abandon their support for one party and shift to another.
    But it will be entertaining to observe.

    • Yes… Justin’s foray into grasping for power will be entertaining if not high drama.. at which he should excel magnificantly. Then his superficial veneer will be stripped away by competition within the Liberal ranks… which may turn out to be rather bloody.

  13. Simply put…. Justin is a drama queen, while Dr. Garneau is an engineering marvel …!!!!

    The failed school teacher versus the Canadian astronaut …. no contest.

    • But sadly, shallow sizzle will be gobbled up by the raggedy assed masses.

      Garneau is dry as dust.

    • I’d like to see Trudeau in a leadership role before judging him. The conservative zealots will throw muck and filth at whoever leads the Liberal party, no matter what. Since they are getting an early start, might as well get an early start on ignoring them…

  14. I like Justin, but he is simply not ready. He should serve as a Cabinet minister like his dad before he can take on the PM job.

    • If Justin had wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps, he would have attained similar academic credentials. Here’s what Pierre did to prepare himself for public life:
      a law degree from the Université de Montréal, a master’s degree in political economy from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Public Administration, followed by studies at the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris and the London School of Economics, (see his wikipedia bio)
      With this stellar background, PET served as Minister of Justice.

      • ….and quasi-leader of the commnist party.

  15. Newman is a romantic and I love how he finishes the article about Justin with “just watch him” which parallel’s Pierre Trudeau’s famous phrase “Just watch me”). The issue Newman ignores is today’s math. A united right will win over a divided left.

    • Newman is channeling F Scott Fitzgerald. It’s lush fiction. “a small knot of media junkies quaffing sangria… Noah launched his arc… political purgatory… mountain goats locking horns… clover-laden evenings… denizens of the Rideau Club… historians smelling of water biscuits… klieg lights…”

  16. The phony Hollywood type media who fawn over celebrities will do all they can to get this twit the leadership of the Liberals. He is a total clueless publicity seeking arrogant brat. To think that this guy could end up leading one of our national political parties is beyond the pale

  17. I used to go to schol with Ben Mulroney! HE was not a very nice kid

    • School…how long were you there for? :)

  18. We know, our younger Canadians refuse to vote, they say there is no point in voting. They deplore the corruption in our Canadian government.

    The younger generation are fed up with voting for the politician, that has told the least number of lies. They say. Once the politician wins, they lie like hell. They especially despise, politicians who cheat to win. They have a web site, shitharperdid

    Justin Trudeau could have a good chance, of winning over our young voters. It is said, Justin doesn’t have enough experience. Experience for what? Lies, deceit, thefts, corruption and dirty tactics, the older politicians have? If Justin is up front and honest with the younger generation, he could win them over.

    I have now, taken a page from our young people. They are absolutely right. There is no point in voting because, politicians cheat to win. In Canada it is permissible for politicians, to lie and cheat their way into office. In England, it is not permissible for politicians to lie, deceive nor steal from their people. They are thrown in prison. Harper would have to build another prison, just for that. A good number of Canadian politicians, would most certainly be in that prison. In Canada, our votes are worth nothing. Votes never are, in a dictatorship.

    • Well put!

      • It looks like we are in for another round of Harper, the dictator’s omnibus bill.

    • Here are the points I develop below. Why Justin Trudeau should not lead the Liberal Party of Canada.
      1. extravagant lifestyle – we aren’t living in Pierre Trudeau’s era of prosperity
      2. not suitably educated to be a Parliamentarian
      3. overuses and misuses Twitter, the internet and the media in general
      4. spends too much time doing sports including dangerous ones

      Many Canadian young people think serious thoughts about Canada’s future. They will vote for a frugal and ethical government leader who would say no to having his family wrapped in fur for their Christmas card (and would know why this is a bad idea) and who would give up doing dangerous concussion-risking sports once he entered Parliament.

      Justin seems to have misunderstood his role as Critic for Sports – which does not require him to leap into iceberg-ridden Arctic waters in his skivvies. His publicized list of places he has enjoyed swimming in Canada emphasizes that he is a wealthy person who leaves a huge carbon footprint while he flies around amusing himself.

      Justin dramatical expressed on video that his staff searched long and hard before Patrick Brazeau agreed to the match. How much time does his staff, paid for by Canadians, spend on non-parliamentary activities like setting up Justin’s photo ops, researching new goatee styles for Justin, ordering new hats for Justin, searching for boxing opponents, selling charity fundraiser tickets during office hours….

      Also there’s Justin’s use of Twitter. In the hands of an immature and vaccuous person like Justin, there is a potential national security risk or a potential that he could, single-handedly wound the Liberal Party.

      After looking at all this, my impression is that Justin needs a lot of amusement to stave off boredom. He appears not to be interested in the real business of politics. He has not educated himself for a life in politics so perhaps he doesn’t know that he’s ill-equiped, His family money and connections could have gotten him into outstanding university programs in economics, public policy, international relations, law etc. Either he wasn’t interested or perhaps his marks were poor.

      And then there’s the Al Franken and Bill Maher books on his Parliament Hill office bookshelf which he chose to talk about publicly – again going over-the-top to promote what he thinks will add to his coolness factor. Al and Bill are entertainers,

      I guess who ever wins the Liberal leadership will want to quickly move Justin into the Critic for Industry position so he can wow his fans by modeling hard hats in many styles and colours. After that, Justin could be Critic for International Cooperation so he can be photographed wearing authentic costumes (and hats) from hundreds of indigenous cultures.

      • I don’t know that much about Justin. I just though the younger people, may cotton to him. I’m not for any party nor politician. There are very few politicians in Canada, that are worth the powder, to blow them to hell. I got tired of voting for the politicians, I thought told the least number of lies. However, when they get into office, they all lie like hell anyway.
        Six members in my family, served in WW11. This is not the Canada, our young Canadian boys were shot, and blown into fragments for. This country is now, a cesspool of corruption. This country is no longer a Canada, to be proud of.

  19. Is someone feeling real? This clown has absolutely no more leadership experience than a fresh university grad and you want him to lead this country. You are out of your mind ? You have lost any credibility you may have had. For starters, Overprivileged, lost, his father was a protester against the Canadian forces and literally destroyed it. He amalgamated the three services into one, he robbed their pension plan, even today members of the forces suffer pension losses. The mother went astray, what an upbringing.

  20. The only leap that Justi Trudeau can take is into the Manure Pile where he can quite easily lose himself. Don’t worrt no one will be looking for Justin after that. Trudeai is more piss than wind anyway.

  21. Memory loss is increasing in our country…….

  22. Will vote for Justin for sure.

  23. Pierre Trudeau in the passing of time will go down as possibly one of the worst PMs’ this country has ever had. Justin isn’t as good or as cleaver. Newman stop fawning!

  24. I would just as soon have Margaret running things . One Trudeau was more than enough.
    A “Justin Society”. Uggggh!

  25. He is in. Just saw this and thought-well it is time for Justin. He is the only honest politician standing and I want one of those to lead this country that I love.