Justin Trudeau in Sherbrooke, Quebec
Credits: QMI AGENCY
There’s a certain feeling of deja vu when writing about Justin Trudeau, since his father was a frequent subject for comment when he ran Canada as our PM during the decade of the 1970s, and brought in fundamental changes that were controversial at the time.
It wasn’t Pierre Trudeau’s flamboyant style that was offensive to people like me, it was his policies and ideology that were alien to our traditions and potentially damaging to the country.
Trudeau didn’t like the military, ducked serving in the Second World War and instead mocked it as a youth of military age. He aligned himself with Marxists, attended a post-war, Soviet-sponsored, so-called economic conference in Moscow for fellow travellers, and then falsely claimed he’d thrown snowballs at Stalin’s statue (in April).
He revered Mao Tse-tung (now called Mao Zedong), admired Castro, felt the KGB was similar to the RCMP, and he seemed to reject the overwhelming evidence that the Soviet Union was obsessed with world domination and with subverting democracies.
Those Cold War days were potentially perilous, and Trudeau was a controversial influence that threatened the Western alliance. Thanks, in part, to U.S. president Ronald Reagan and the Soviet Union’s Mikhail Gorbachev, sanity prevailed and the Soviet imperialism imploded, and Russia emerged as a strong, but ordinary country.
Whatever Justin Trudeau is, he isn’t his father.
What is mildly upsetting about his lust to lead the Liberal party and eventually be Canada’s prime minister is that his credentials for almost anything — except possibly acting — are inconsequential to nonexistent.
It’s not that Justin is a dilettante as his father also was, but that in his life, he’s done nothing that is either noteworthy or significant. And while many think of him as a kid, or young man, he’s middle-aged — probably now entering the second half of his life expectancy.
And what he has achieved, so far, is being elected MP in Quebec.
Yes, he took on a separatist riding and won. There’s no suggestion Justin doesn’t lack courage or nerve. His dad had plenty of both. It’s just that there is no reason apart from his name why he should be the leading contender for the federal Liberal crown.
He’s in a bit of hot water at the moment for double-dipping his MP’s salary — skipping the Commons to make speeches at $20,000 a pop.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation thinks Trudeau and other MPs who moonlight (Justin calls it “freelancing”) should reimburse taxpayers from their $158,000 pay for days missed in the Commons while making money giving speeches.
No one expects MPs to agree to such ethical nonsense.
Justin takes it a step further and says he’s proud of travelling and “representing his constituents’ values.” Oh, and what values are they?
By saying he’s breaking no rules (he probably isn’t), and that the ethics commissioner sets the rules, Justin in effect is saying that anything he can get away with he will. Commissioners do no set ethical values — individual consciences do.
In a recent report he described himself as a professional public speaker, which I guess he is, but it’s a rather forlorn description of a career. It used to be that MPs made speeches for nothing, but in this new age of transparency that Justin says he is “proud of demonstrating,” some MPs now have a price tag on their presence — like movie stars.
The fact that Justin is likely to be Liberal leader come April 14 reflects poorly on the lack of potential leaders in that party. But the country already knows that!