Andrew Cohen reflects in the Ottawa Citizen upon the Trudeau brand, and its impact on Justin Trudeau, in a good summary of what Pierre Trudeau means to Canadians:
|Andrew Cohen on Trudeau|
His name is Trudeau. In political currency, his name is a promissory note of hope, expectation and sentimentality, much like a Gandhi in India or a Kennedy in the United States.And if that name — evoking an ideal of leadership as well as an idea of country — resounds in today’s Canada, it is because almost three decades after he led it, today’s Canada is Trudeau’s Canada. “The land is strong,” Trudeau told us in 1972, and so it remains.It is a cosmopolitan country of bilingualism, multiculturalism and open immigration. It is a progressive country which accepts divorce and abortion, rejects capital punishment and embraces homosexuality. It is a compassionate state which extends a social safety net. It is an international country, with a sense of itself in the world.Most of all, it is the Canada of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms — Trudeau’s greatest achievement — and the patriated British North America Act, which, because of his persistence, resides in Canada, not Britain. It remains a united country, despite its regional, religious and linguistic divisions, in which Quebec has a prominent place.Does today’s Canada look just like Trudeau’s Canada? Not really. Quebec has lost stature. Our politics are meaner. Government is diminished. We no longer think big. Apathy reigns.
But for all the talk of the emergence of conservative Canada, with its own social agenda, this remains fundamentally Trudeau’s Canada: moderate, tolerant and diverse.Oh, the critics will find much to attack in his record, like nattering Lilliputians. They lament his national energy policy and his swelling deficits, as if nations erect monuments to leaders that say: “He balanced the budget.”They have a point, but that doesn’t much matter to history. What does is that Trudeau entered politics to keep Canada whole. Time after time — in the October Crisis, the Quebec Referendum, the Patriation Round, the Meech Lake and Charlottetown accords — he stood for Canada and may well have saved it. That Canada survives and succeeds.As Justin Trudeau embarks on his journey to write his own story and create his own Canada, he can take pride in his family’s name and his father’s legacy. Let there be no doubt: in 2012, the brand is strong.
Many share his view that today our politics are meaner, government is diminished, and we no longer think big.
And many hope that a renewed Liberal Party of Canada, led by Justin Trudeau, will do much to change these things when a different government replaces the Harper new Tories in the next election.