Trudeau quoting Goethe

by Aaron Wherry

Pat Martin thought he heard echoes of Tommy Douglas in Justin Trudeau’s speech last night.

The first line of the speech was “Make no small dreams, they have not the power to move the soul.” (I transcribed it differently last night, but, if I recall correctly, that was based on how the CBC’s translator interpreted it.) It might be reminiscent of Mr. Douglas’ “dream no little dreams,” but it’s actually a quote from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who predates Tommy Douglas by about a century.

“Courage, friends” was the last line of the speech and was apparently ad-libbed. Like Mr. Martin, I thought of Mr. Douglas’ line, “Courage my friends, tis not too late to build a better world.” Jack Layton often cited that quote. I’m told though that the line had nothing to do with Mr. Douglas and was simply an attempt to sum up the challenge ahead.

(Although I’d like to imagine that somehow it’s a Chronicles of Narnia reference.)




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Trudeau quoting Goethe

  1. Quoted in Le Devoir “une vision de l’avenir qui n’est pas basée sur une politique qui carbure à la méfiance, mais qui prend source dans sa plus grande force : les Canadiens eux-mêmes.”

    The choices of the people of Canada being the source of policy. Canadians governing themselves. Sounds good to me.

  2. Better Goethe than all this dogwhistle biblical stuff Harper tosses about.

  3. typical for the NDP to assume ownership of all intellectual commentary

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