Trudeau Was a Disaster for Canada

September 28th, 2011 at 12:08 pm David Frum | 51 Comments |

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On September 27th, I debated Lawrence Martin at the Museum of Civilization in Ottawa on the resolution that Pierre Trudeau was Canada’s most disastrous prime minister. The following is the text of my opening statement:

Under the strict rules of debate, my opponent can win if he proves that Trudeau was something less than a disaster for Canada: a misfortune or even merely a disappointment. I hope you will hold him – and Trudeau – to a higher standard. I hope you will require him to prove that Pierre Trudeau was affirmatively a good thing for Canada, actually a successful prime minister.

If so, he cannot possibly win.

My answer then, which I’ll repeat again tonight, was that on the contrary, Pierre Trudeau did more than almost anyone in Canada to strain and break national unity. Through his own tactlessness and arrogance, he consistently aggravated the problem. In order to justify his own mishandling of the national unity issue, Trudeau in his retirement concocted a ridiculous story that separatism had been defeated by him in 1980 – shrugging off the inconvenient fact that separatism raged for another two decades, that a second referendum in 1995 proved even closer than the first – and that in the end separatism was quelled not by Trudeau-style constitutional amendments but by economic and demographic change inside Quebec itself. If Pierre Trudeau had spent his entire life as an international playboy – instead of just the first half of it – the story would have ended in almost exactly the same way, except very possibly … sooner.

Debating this resolution in Toronto against Professor John English, I was very struck that my opponent readily conceded that Pierre Trudeau was a very poor manager of the Canadian economy. Professor English argued more strenuously that Trudeau’s foreign policy record was not as bad as it looks. I’ll take up that issue later.

Professor English hung everything on Pierre Trudeau’s alleged services to national unity. He described Pierre Trudeau as a very flawed man who also happened to be the savior of his country.

Canada today is a very successful country. It has suffered less from the global economic crisis than any other major economy.

So Canadians may be tempted to be philosophical about disasters in their own past. Hasn’t all come out right in the end? But I want to stress: Canada’s achievement overcoming Trudeau’s disastrous legacy should not inure Canadians to how disastrous that legacy was.

Three subsequent important prime ministers – Brian Mulroney, Jean Chretien and Stephen Harper – invested their energies cleaning up the wreckage left by Pierre Trudeau. The work has taken almost 30 years. Finally and at long last, nobody speculates any more about Canada defaulting on its debt, or splitting apart, or being isolated from all its major allies.

Yet through most of the adult lives of most people in this room, people in Canada and outside Canada did worry about those things.

And as you enjoy the peace, stability and comparative prosperity of Canada in the 2010s just consider – this is how Canadians felt in the middle 1960s. Now imagine a political leader coming along and out of ignorance and arrogance despoiling all this success. Not because the leader faced some overwhelming crisis where it was hard to see the right answer. But utterly unnecessarily. Out of a clear blue sky. Like a malicious child on the beach stomping on the sand castle somebody else had worked all morning to build.

That was the political record of Pierre Trudeau.

**

Pierre Trudeau took office at a moment when commodity prices were rising worldwide. Good policymakers recognize that commodity prices fall as well as rise. Yet between 1969 and 1979 – through two majority governments and one minority – Trudeau tripled federal spending.

In 1981-82, Canada plunged into recession, the worst since World War II. Trudeau’s already big deficits exploded to a point that Canada’s lenders worried about default.

Trudeau’s Conservative successor Brian Mulroney balanced Canada’s operating budget after 1984. But to squeeze out Trudeau-era inflation, the Bank of Canada had raised real interest rates very high. Mulroney could not keep up with the debt payments. The debt compounded, the deficits grew, the Bank hiked rates again – and Canada toppled into an even worse recession in 1992. Trudeau’s next successors, Liberals this time, squeezed even tighter, raising taxes, and leaving Canadians through the 1990s working harder and harder with no real increase in their standard of living.

Do Canadians understand how many of their difficulties of the 1990s originated in the 1970s? They should.

To repay Trudeau’s debt, federal governments reduced transfers to provinces. Provinces restrained spending. And these restraints had real consequences for real people: more months in pain for heart patients, more months of immobility for patients awaiting hip replacements.

If Canada’s health system delivers better results today than 15 years ago, it’s not because it operates more efficiently. Canada’s health system delivers better results because the reduction of Trudeau’s debt burden has freed more funds for healthcare spending.

Pierre Trudeau was a spending fool. He believed in a state-led economy, and the longer he lasted in office, the more statist he became. The Foreign Investment Review Agency was succeeded by Petro-Canada. Petro-Canada was succeeded by wage and price controls. Wage and price controls were succeeded by the single worst economic decision of Canada’s 20th century: the National Energy Program.

The NEP tried to fix two different prices of oil, one inside Canada, one outside.  The NEP expropriated foreign oil interests without compensation. The NEP sought to shoulder aside the historic role of the provinces as the owner and manager of natural resources.

Most other Western countries redirected themselves toward more fiscal restraint after 1979. Counting on abundant revenues from oil, the Trudeau government kept spending. Other Western governments began to worry more about attracting international investment. Canada repelled investors with arbitrary confiscations. Other Western governments recovered from the stagflation of the 1970s by turning toward freer markets. Under the National Energy Policy, Canada was up-regulating as the US, Britain, and West Germany deregulated. All of these mistakes together contributed to the extreme severity of the 1982 recession. Every one of them was Pierre Trudeau’s fault.

**

Pierre Trudeau had little taste for the alliances and relationships he inherited in 1968. His spending spree did not include the military. He cut air and naval capabilities, pulled troops home from Europe, and embarked on morale-destroying reorganizations of the military services. In 1968, Canada was a serious second-tier non-nuclear military power. By 1984, Canada had lost its war-fighting capability: a loss made vivid when Canada had to opt out of ground combat operations in the first Gulf War of 1990-91.

Something more was going on here than a left-of-center preference for butter over guns. Throughout his life – now better known than ever thanks to John English – Pierre Trudeau showed remarkable indifference to the struggle against totalitarianism that defined the geopolitics of the 20th century.

Indifference may be too polite a word.

Pierre Trudeau opted not to serve in World War II, although of age and in good health. If not pro-Nazi, he was certainly anti-British. As a young student, we learn from John English’s biography, he wrote a play heavily seasoned with anti-semitic themes, and he opposed the entry of Jewish refugees into Canada.

After the war, Trudeau traveled to Josef Stalin’s Soviet Union to participate in regime-sponsored propaganda activities. He wrote in praise of Mao’s murderous regime in China. Trudeau lavishly admired Fidel Castro, Julius Nyere, and other Third World dictators. The Soviet dissident Andrei Amalrik scathingly recalled Trudeau’s 1971 prime ministerial visit: Trudeau visited the Siberian city of Norilsk and lamented that Canada had never succeeded in building so large a city so far north – unaware, or unconcerned, that Norilsk had been built by slave labor.

It’s telling I think that Trudeau came to the edge of endorsing the communist coup against Solidarity in Poland in December 1981. Hours after the coup, Pierre Trudeau said: “If martial law is a way to avoid civil war and Soviet intervention, then I cannot say it is all bad.“ He added “Hopefully the military regime will be able to keep Solidarity from excessive demands.”

Let that disgusting remark be remembered forever. The man who began his career despising Churchill ended by shrugging off Lech Walesa.

Yet it was upon the Canadian nation that Trudeau inflicted his greatest harm.

**

When Pierre Trudeau was elected prime minister in 1968, Canada faced a small but militant separatist challenge in Quebec. In 1970, that challenge erupted in terrorist violence: two kidnappings and a murder of one of the kidnapped hostages, Quebec cabinet minister Pierre Laporte.

Trudeau responded with overwhelming force, declaring martial law in Quebec, arresting dozens of people almost none of whom had any remote connection to the terrorist outrages. The arrests radicalized them, transforming many from cultural nationalists into outright independentists. As he did throughout his career, Trudeau polarized the situation – multiplying enemies for himself and unfortunately also for Canada.

At the same time, Trudeau lavished economic benefits on Quebec at the expense of English-speaking Canada. Unsurprisingly, English-speaking Canada resented this favoritism – with the result that Trudeau polarized English Canadian politics too.In 1968, Trudeau’s Liberals won 27 seats west of Ontario. In 1980, they won 2. I’m always glad to see the Liberals lose a seat. But a political system in which each of Canada’s two main parties piles up huge super-majorities in one region of the country – while being blanked out of another – is not healthy.

Trudeau’s provocative policies failed to achieve their stated goals. They failed to prevent the election of a separatist government in Quebec in 1976, eight years after Trudeau started “saving the country.” They failed to prevent a referendum in 1980, 12 years after Trudeau started “saving the country.”

To win his referendum, Trudeau promised Quebec constitutional changes to satisfy Quebec nationalism. Instead, he delivered a package of constitutional changes that tilted in exactly the opposite direction. The government of Quebec refused to ratify the new constitutional arrangement, opening a renewed opportunity to separatists and bequeathing a nightmare political problem to Trudeau’s successors.

For the next 15 years, Trudeau’s successors had to grapple with the consequences of Trudeau’s constitutional bad faith.

Aggravating their difficulties was Trudeau’s other legacy: his disastrous debt. In the early 1990s, Canada looked like an over-mortgaged property. Many Quebeckers – who might have wished to remain inside an economically successful Canada – saw in separatism an inviting opportunity to escape a burden and start fresh.

It’s not a coincidence that separatism truly ebbed only as the debt burden was overcome – and as quitting Canada, not staying, began to look like the losing economic proposition.

Defenders of Trudeau’s disastrous governance habitually rally around one great accomplishment: the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Well, Herbert Hoover had some excellent wilderness conservation policies, but we don’t excuse the Great Depression on that account. Would it really have been so impossible to achieve a Charter of Rights without plunging Canada into two recessions, without wrecking the national finances, without triggering two referendums, without nationalizing the oil industry, without driving not only Quebec but also Alberta to the verge of separation.

To me, one story will always sum up Pierre Trudeau.

1979. Trudeau had lost that year’s election. His career seemed finished. Reporters awaited in the driveway of 24 Sussex Drive as he stepped into his gull-winged vintage Mercedes to speed away into history.

One shouted: “Mr. Prime Minister – any regrets?”

Pierre Trudeau pondered. He remembered something that Richard Nixon had said after losing the California governor’s race in 1962 and revised Nixon’s words to his own very different purpose. “Yes,” he said. “I regret I won’t have you to kick around any more.”

It’s long past time that Canadians in turn resolved: no longer to be posthumously kicked by this bad man and disastrous prime minister.

I ask you to vote yes to the resolution.

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51 Comments so far ↓

  • forgetn

    Aside from his political bluntness that did more harm than good, he didn’t care one iota for economics. Which eventually led Canada to face the Martin budget, that forced Canada on a massive diet, when the world was growing at full speed.

  • Carney

    Great stuff.

    But déjà vu. Didn’t this debate, and this exact opening statement from Frum, already happen?

    Updated. Oh, I see that this is indeed a later debate, and the statement acknowledges the previous debate.

  • Watusie

    Solve for X:

    If

    Trudeau + Canada = Disaster

    then

    GW Bush + USA = X

  • windsorboy

    I quite liked Trudeau as our Prime Minister, but my favourite is Jean Chrétien.

  • CKW

    For my money, it’s Diefenbaker or Mulroney. Can’t remember those earlier than JGD.

  • Graychin

    Since I don’t know anything about Canadian politics, I’ll just make one superficial observation:

    I doubt that Trudeau spent very much time during his political career in the presence of Fidel Castro. Five minutes once? I don’t know. What I DO know is that whenever I see an article critical of a politician, and its feature illustration is a picture of said politician in the company of Fidel Castro, my B.S detector starts screaming like a banshee.

    Mr. Frum even informs us that Trudeau traveled to “Josef Stalin’s Soviet Union,” although I believe Stalin had been dead for twenty years or so before Trudeau’s time. There goes my pesky BS detector again!

    To whose Soviet Union did Ronald Reagan travel? :D

    • Lonewolf

      To whose China did Nixon travel?

    • paul_gs

      Point is, Trudeau and the Liberal Party were sympathetic to Castro’s politics, reflexively anti-American and neutral on the Cold War.

      In this instance, the photo of Castro and Trudeau accurately reflects Trudeau’s worldview.

      • ottovbvs

        “reflexively anti-American”

        Actually quite a lot of people were reflexively anti American at the time of the Vietnam war, including a lot of Americans. The underlying reason for the Trudeau hate froth by conservatives is that he completely dominated Canadian politics in the period of his ascendency. In the 16 years from 1968 to 1984 he was Prime Minister for 15 of them. Longer than FDR was president and it’s the same underlying motivation at work as those by conservatives trying to destroy FDR. He’s a liberal icon, therefore he must be destroyed. Churchill was a great war leader, therefore he must be destroyed. Lincoln was the great emancipator, therefore he must be destroyed. It’s not objective (all these people had flaws) but just rather sick historical revisionism in pursuit of a particular ideological goal.

        • paul_gs

          Trudeau’s anti-Americanism existed decades before American involvement in Vietnam.

        • ottovbvs

          So what, so did a lot of other people’s. We just fully lived down to their expectations in Vietnam rather as we more recently did in Iraq. We just proved him right. Sorry mummy’s boy everyone can’t love us all the time. It doesn’t thrill me to see negative views of us confirmed. Obviously you like it.

        • Graychin

          Thank you, Otto, for bringing up Vietnam in relation to Mr. Frum’s dislike of Trudeau.

          When I was reading the piece, I thought I detected a faint whiff of the 1960′s culture wars that “conservatives” still love to fight about, even after all these decades. In my earlier post I was going to write that Mr. Frum simply disapproved of Trudeau’s hippie leanings – but I couldn’t find a quote to back it up unambiguously.

        • nuser

          absolutely!

        • paul_gs

          And Cuba and the USSR lived up to Trudeau’s expectations otto? Be serious!

        • ottovbvs

          “And Cuba and the USSR lived up to Trudeau’s expectations otto? Be serious!”

          Non sequitur!!

        • Steve D

          Arguing for the war in Vietnam is a lost cause. But can somebody tell me what the Vietnamese got out of attacking first the French and then the regime in the South? Independence? They’d have had that by 1965 or 1970 at the latest when all the colonial empires collapsed. Unification? From the git-go. Prosperity? Vietnam has prospered more or less in direct proportion to how much it has relegated Marxism to lip service.

          I can’t see a single thing Vietnam has achieved that it couldn’t have had more of sooner by working peacefully for independence from the French, or by leaving South Vietnam in peace.

    • nuser

      Well thought out!

    • nuser

      You may want to put Fuddle Duddle in your pesky eff off detector , Trudeau was the originator.

  • ottovbvs

    To be honest I don’t know enough about Canadian politics to join in this debate but I’d hazard Trudeau is just about the only Canadian prime minister in the past 100 years whose name has registered with the American public with the possible exception of Mackenzie King. And the Castro pic (as Graychin observes) is what is known in the business as a “tell.”

  • paul_gs

    Great post David.

  • Rocketship7

    As a Canadian, I can tell you that Trudeau was the worst Prime Minister in Canadian history.
    Quebec Separatism flourished under Trudeau, as it did under fellow liberal Chretien.
    Trudeau “National Energy Program” was a disaster in Alberta. The Liberals are still paying for it, with no seats in Alberta.
    He spent money like Obama, with little to show for it.
    He was pro-Soviet, the wrong side of history, which is why Canadian Russian immigrants vote Conservative.

    • ottovbvs

      “As a Canadian, I can tell you that Trudeau was the worst Prime Minister in Canadian history.”

      So how come he was elected prime minister for no less than 15 years out of sixteen between 1968 and 1984? He’s got to have been the longest serving PM since Mackenzie King. He hypnotized the entire Canadian population? Mind control? Since you’re obviously a deeply conservative Canadian why would your opinion about Trudeau be remotely objective?

      • paul_gs

        Good question otto. Trudeau was quite charismatic and came onto the national scene just as the cultural shift to more liberal social attitudes was occurring. That was a big part of it.

    • John Frodo

      http://thinkingaboot.blogspot.com/2011/06/if-debt-is-so-bad-how-come.html
      It was Mulroney who rang up the debt, and Harper is making him look cheap.

  • bornholmboy

    I have just read FrumForum.com for the last time.

    • UncleLew

      Ah, c’mon. David was just regurgitating what his father-in-law, Peter Worthington, said. Pete is a failed Progressive Conservative millionaire candidate.

    • nuser

      Just curious . Bornholm is a small Island in the Baltic sea. Any relevance to your identify?

    • hbj

      I agree with you entirely.

      Frum is trying to make a move to get a Tea Party going in Canada with this and recent opinion pieces.

      God save Canada from Frum’s Tea Party ideology.

  • nuser

    He was indeed the worst ever! He invoked The War Measures Act(Martial Law, much like Ireland et al) pinheads could walk in and arrest you and cart you off and throw away the keys.
    No lawyer , nothing! All in the name of Separatism. which you might liken to Perry’s secession.
    “Just watch me”; Trudeau said. 500 hundred people were arrested with all their rights stripped away. Remember when the injustice of North American Japanese interment camps
    finally came to light and restitution was discussed? He was an ars@hole.

    • WestQuake

      David Frum’s war criminal masters grabbed anyone off the street who was “walking while brown” and threw them in immigration prisons, shifting them from concentration camp to concentration camp to avoid relatives looking for them. A decade later the innocent taxi drivers locked up in Guantanamo are testimony of their human rights violations. Trudeau did not know how extensive the separatist terrorist network was, consulted with the Quebec premier and the mayor of Montreal and had to make a decision. Monday morning quarterbacks might have taken a different approach with full knowledge; Cheney/Bush would have make the same blunders – with Frum’s support – even with full information.

  • ottovbvs

    Still no takers willing to explain how this disaster, asshole, etc etc was able to dominate Canadian politics for so long. He was with a brief intermission PM for 15 years…longer than FDR was president. So instead of entirely personalized ranting how about a bit of substance?

    • windsorboy

      FWIW, I pretty much agree with what you have said. Trudeau was one of our most charismatic and popular politicians. Much of what he said and did reflected the attitudes of the majority of the Canadian population.

      If you could travel back to those times you would find that the majority of Candadian’s did not believe in the US policies toward Cuba or the Sovient Union, and most still dont’ today. We have maintained good relationships with both for many years and many of us have vacationed in Cuba and some in the USSR. It is also why we have played hockey with them for all these many years.

    • blowtorch_bob

      I remember when PET first entered the scene in 68 (I was quite a young lad then) There was a song “Pierrie the Kissin Pm”

      BTW Trudeau has a son in federal politics Justin Trudeau who is starting to build a profile.

  • aliette

    Trudeau had an actual personality and true force of character – he did not conduct polls to find out how to act or what to say. Imprudent or downright wrong? Often. But most surveys show that most of us loved him and still do. Our current cynical and completely bland leader will never attain such historical status – and more’s the pity for us. If Pierre Trudeau was a “disaster”, does that make us a land of fools? That would include David Frum’s own mother. Here is a paragraph from a National Post article (for which Frum also writes) authored by John English, the Trudeau biographer David debates:

    ‘Very simply, Trudeau changed the character and atmosphere of Canadian politics. Journalists abandoned objectivity in embracing that change. Academics stepped down from the ivory tower and embraced Trudeau. One of them, Ramsay Cook, took it upon himself to prove to Trudeau that he must run for the Liberal leadership. He got four leading journalists — June Callwood, Trent Frayne, Peter Gzowski and Barbara Frum — to sign a scrap of paper encouraging Trudeau to become prime minister. (It said simply: “Pierre Trudeau is a good s–t. Merde.”)’ National Post, Mar 25, 2011.

    Is David Frum forever mad at Canada for inspiring his (much beloved) mum to endorse such a blatantly un-conservative man? An embarrassing blip in David’s otherwise flawlessly conservative C-V? Or is David battling the instinct for glory that made him move south?

    • paul_gs

      A small aging group of Liberals still love Trudeau and not many more.

      He was a man of his era, and as the years pass, it is apparent how little of value he actually accomplished.

      • aliette

        It’s not what he accomplished, it’s who he was. Accomplishments are a balance sheet that spools into history – the world goes on. Trudeau’s image/presence is a cultural thing, a reference point that won’t go away – like a Churchill, a Kennedy, etc. Obviously he will fade with time, especially in a post-literate time defined by sound bites. But fifty years from now, if you put a picture of Trudeau up beside a picture of Harper, I’ll bet you dollars to donuts (all those donuts Steve looks like he can’t stop eating) that any half-way normal Canadian kid won’t even notice Steve in the presence of Pierre. As for now and moving forward, big scorn – whether from bitter Separatists or small-minded Conservatives or ex-pat conservative pundits trying to revise history – only confirms his stature.

      • Velocity

        That’s odd, since an Angus Reid poll taken in August 2011 found that Canadians still consider Trudeau to be the best PM:

        http://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/canada-politics/trudeau-still-considered-best-pm-harper-making-gains-204413448.html

        It’s not even close, actually – Trudeau first at 36%, second place Harper at 19%.

        The worst PMs? Harper and Mulroney.

      • WestQuake

        Trudeau came in third – behind Tommy Douglas and Terry Fox – in a national TV program in 2004 to identify the greatest Canadian. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Greatest_Canadian
        Harper, Mulroney, Diefenbaker would all rate highly on the WORST Canadians listing – there are some pretty nasty Canadian serial murderers that would give them some competition – and certainly on the worst PM listing.

  • ottovbvs

    “Much of what he said and did reflected the attitudes of the majority of the Canadian population.”

    Canadians generally have a much more realistic view of the world than do Americans. Our Cuban policy has been a complete waste of time. Castro is still there after nearly 60 years of making ourselves look like jackasses trying to get him out. If we’d been more sensible he’d have been out years ago. Unfortunately way too much US foreign policy is dictated by domestic politics and paranoia. A classic current case being Israel and the Palestinians. In the last hundred years the two giants of Canadian politics were Mackenzie King and Trudeau. Both Liberals so obviously they get up the noses of conservatives and have to be attacked. It’s a Canadian culture war.

  • teragrammy

    I was 18 in 1972, and I voted for Pierre Trudeau for Prime Minister. It was my first time voting. I thought he was the best candidate for Prime Minister that Canada could ever have, and I still believe so today. David Frum is just conservative to the bone, and must find fault with all things Liberal. P.E.T was elected, and re-elected, and re-elected again. He was a wonderful man, full of joie-de-vivre, and a truly gifted politician. We Canadians were lucky to have him as our Prime Minister. A sincere raspberry to you, David.

  • paul_gs

    What did Trudeau accomplish? Very little.

    I’ll give him credit for repatriating the Constitution. Lefties love to hold up the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Big deal! Canada was a rights-based country well before then.

    The vote for women, First Nations people, Chinese, etc., were all accomplished without any Charter of Rights and Freedoms in sight. Even same sex marriage in Canada is not something the Charter accomplished.

    • WestQuake

      Marriage equality resulted DIRECTLY from the Charter. Wiki: “On 10 June 2003, the Court of Appeal for Ontario confirmed that current Canadian law on marriage violated the equality provisions in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in being restricted to heterosexual couples.” Martin brought in the legislation after most other provinces – the Supreme Court had not heard any cases – had found the same as Ontario. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage_in_Canada#Ontario_decision

  • David Frum: Trudeau was a disaster for Canada – JordonCooper.com

    [...] Frum: Trudeau was a disaster for Canada Sep 29th, 2011 by Jordon Cooper. TweetFrum goes to town on the legacy of Pierre Trudeau. Pierre Trudeau took office at a moment when commodity prices were rising worldwide. Good [...]

  • WestQuake

    Mr. Frum has been in the U.S. too long and learned too many deceptions sponsored by the GOP and Faux News. Distract readers from the ineptitude and corruption of the Conservative disasters – Diefenbaker, Mulroney and Harper (Turner and Campbell didn’t last long enough to qualify as disasters) – by tearing down a great Canadian who became prime minister while Frum was still in his teens. Conservatives enjoy re-fighting old battles, a fruitless exercise, while ignoring their only shameful episodes and often their own history. I would be much more interested to hear why Canadians should have to put up with a PM who is intent in destroying all national institutions (except the CON party of Canada) based on blatant ignorance and suppression of the facts.

    • ottovbvs

      “by tearing down a great Canadian who became prime minister while Frum was still in his teens.”

      Exactly. This is an exercise in revisionism pure and simple. You don’t get a virtually uninterrupted 15 years as prime minister in a democracy unless the electorate of that democracy perceive a considerable record of achievement. It doesn’t happen by accident. The revisionists (who are the conservatives Trudeau worsted in his time) can retrospectively whine, snivel, and attempt to rewrite history all they want. This argument has already been settled. By the Canadian people who made Trudeau along with Mackenzie King one of the two giants of Canadian politics of the last 100 years.

    • hbj

      Very well said, Westquake.

  • John Frodo

    Trudeau was the father of modern Canada. He modernized Quebec and prepared the battlefield to defeat separatism. He gave Canadian citzens protection from the goverment with the Charter of rights. He modernized the miltiary saving billions and creating a much more effective force. He created the multicultural society that is now by almost any measure the best country in the world. If his NEP had been implemented, Canada would be by far the richest country in the world. Instead Mulroney sold out to Exxon, and now we get less revenue from oil than we do from the lottery. Tiny producer Norway has a heritage fund of half a trillion dollars, Canada has a deficit almost the same size. And it was Mulroney that created the deficits not Trudeau.
    http://thinkingaboot.blogspot.com/2011/06/if-debt-is-so-bad-how-come.html

  • ianwtn

    Trudeau believed strongly that political allegiances, particularly nationalisms, were of the past and would lose relevance regarding the way societies and individuals identified themselves. This would happen similar to the way religious identities have waned in Canada and abroad. The Quiet Revolution in Quebec is a strong example of this.

    When we look at his policies with this in mind it makes a whole lot more sense where he was coming from. I don’t suggest it justifies them but this is interesting to note.

  • krjn

    Something I read recently described Pierre Trudeau as, “a man who so admired the Third World that he apparently aspired to have his country join it.”

    Trenchant.