Friday, January 10, 2014

Justin Trudeau’s Culture Code for Canadians: Keeping it, with Fun

Dr. Clotiere Rapaille
Within 18 months of so Canadians will elect a new prime minister and a new government. Of the three contenders for the top job – Stephen Harper, Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau – which one offers Canadians a leader best in tune with what Canadians really, really want in their leader, deep down in the innermost recesses of their hearts?

Because if you are a leader offering them something else, that does not fit that deepest desire, you will not be the next prime minister.

So what do Canadians want in their prime minister?

Dr Clotaire Rapaille specializes in solving just this kind of problem, though his brand of archetypal analysis (which involves delving down into the earliest imprinting events in the life of people and working from there).  This is what Rapaille says Americans want in their leader:

“The Code for the American Presidency is MOSES.”A rebellious leader of his people with a strong vision and the will to get them out of trouble.” He also made people believe they could do the impossible, eg George Washington’s ragtag army vs British military; Lincoln overcoming slavery and civil war, Roosevelt and the Depression.  American’s don’t want some perfect figure, instead they should learn from their mistakes and be better for it.

The leaders are the ‘entertainer in chief.’  Their job is to inspire.

So much for the American presidency. What does Rapaille say about the Canadian leader?

"Canadians learned from the beginning to use what they call `winter energy' to act so as to conserve as much energy as possible."

Because of this, he says, "Canadians do not seek leaders with vision, capable of making major breakthroughs."

Instead, they elect prime ministers who serve as guardians. "If the culture code for the American presidency is the biblical figure Moses, a leader who could make his people believe they could do the impossible, Canadians seek leaders who are capable of maintaining the culture. The culture code for Canada is `To Keep.'"

Quite a difference between what Americans and Canadians want in their leader, eh?
Rapaille analyzing Canada

Where does that leave the Big Three seeking to become our leader?

This is one take, by Kelly McParland, on Justin Trudeau:

Unless the Conservatives unaccountably continue to serve as their own worst enemies, Mr. Trudeau will have to step up his game.  Youth, vigor and good looks can only get you so far if not backed up by solid ideas and concrete evidence of leadership ability.  As the first anniversary of his leadership approaches in April, the newness will begin to wear off.  Is there any meat to Mr. Trudeau? It will soon be time to answer that question.

McParland has obviously missed the boat with his analysis, when we compare his finding to the finding of Rapaille, who says that “Canadians seek leaders who are capable of maintaining the culture. The culture code for Canada is `To Keep.'"

The choice for Canadians in this coming election could not be clearer: choose one of two grim men, or the third, who promises more than just grimness.

Harper is thought of by many Canadians as being somewhat lacking in humour, a bit dour, more competent in managing the country’s economy than recent past Liberal leaders (starting with the hapless Paul Martin, and moving rapidly through Dion and Ignatieff), a tight-fisted Scrooge when it comes to launching big government programs (whether designed to reduce the poverty of children or improve the guardianship of our industries or the safety of our rail systems), and, above all, as grim. A stern father-figure, intent on enforcing rules.

Not the man many Canadians would expect to be a barrel of laughs over a Tim Hortons cup of coffee, not to mention quaffing a beer or two.

And Thomas Mulcair? When did you last see him having fun? Or having a real laugh, what extended beyond his mouth to his eyes? He gives the impression of a competent technocrat, full of facts and figures, intent on doing the job before him without any diversion, and a bit stern, as well. You could say he has a grimness about him, too – of a lower level than Harper’s, true, but there.

If you read Rapaille carefully, you will understand why enough Canadians turned away from the Liberals to elect Harper, when Martin, Dion and Ignatieff were leaders of our party. Compared to the chaos that existed under Martin’s short prime ministership, and the erratic leadership of the LPC by the other two, many Canadians thought that Harper was relatively much better at maintaining Canada’s culture, and keeping the country whole.

In Canada, if Rapaille is right, if the choice is between chaos and control, many of us will opt for the leader offering us control – to Keep the country whole.

And this brings us to the nub of the choice between the Big Three this time.  Which of these three men would be best suited to maintain Canada’s culture, to Keep our country whole?

Harper’s claim to be the one to do this is fraying badly.

Elected on a platform of promises to maintain our culture, to remove graft and corruption, to restore openness and transparency, and to govern the whole country wisely, he has plunged off those paths with a vengeance. The stench of corruption (Senate scandal, others) hangs over him and his tired government. He has chipped and chipped away at things that kept Canada whole and working well (our scientists are muzzled, funds are slashed for national projects and instead spent on trinkets – many in the ridings of Conservative cabinet ministers).

And our trust in our government is down substantially (check those polls about whether the country is on the right track...)

What about Mulcair?

He promises more transparency than Harper has delivered, true. But his party has a policy that seems aimed at changing the country rather than keeping it and preserving its existing culture. His party seems to want to shift Canada away from the wealth creation path of former Liberal governments (think Chretien etc.), and towards a redistribution, through the application of tax funds, of income amongst classes.

If there is one party that is the furtherest in Canadian’s minds from being the party to preserve our culture (economic and social) and to Keep Canada whole, that is the NDP.

The polls show around a quarter of the voters like the NDP; but that leaves ¾ not too sure about its ability to Keep our country. And that’s even without dwelling on Mulcair’s departure from our Supreme Court’s opinion on what is needed for a part of the country to break up the whole country ...

Pierre Trudeau - The Guardian
Let’s go back a bit to Pierre Elliot Trudeau (the other Trudeau). Did any Canadian doubt his determination – in the face of enormous challenges from secessionists – to Keep the country whole? Or to preserve – through the repatriation of our Constitution (making changes in it our business, not that of another country) and the inclusion of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms – our Canadian culture? Or to preserve the unique ability of Canadians to let people who came here from all other the world, to live together, in harmony, freedom and unity?

Did PET achieve these aims with a grim visage?

Or was he the man who paddled his own canoe, laughed with real enjoyment, pirouetted behind a queen, slid down a bannister, stood up to the dominant world power, and made Canadians proud of their heritage and their role in the world? Say what you want about Pierre Trudeau, there is no doubt that, in Rapaille’s words, he was capable of maintaining Canada’s culture, and Keeping it whole. He made it fun to be a Canadian, in a world that respected and admired Canada.

How does his son fit into this?

Is Justin Trudeau capable of maintaining Canada’s culture, and Keeping it whole?

His statements before and since his election as leader of the Liberal Party go in this direction.

He departs from Mulcair’s NDP, which is willing to unilaterally pare down the Supreme Court’s test for breaking apart the family. He departs from Harper’s willingness to dismantle so many programs and initiatives that have built Canada and kept it whole in the past.

And he is not grim.

Justin Trudeau promises to Canadians that as prime minister he would return to the job of preserving the country’s unique culture – of Keeping it whole – with the same flair and enjoyment that his his father brought to that task.

That is the hope he holds out to Canadians. It has little to do with a big binder of detailed policies (as McParland wants). It has little to do with thirty or forty years of service as an MP (as many of his critics seem to want from a leader of a party, even a young leader). It has little to do with the divide and conquer dicing up of the people that Harper has systematically practised as prime minister. Justin’s capability of maintaining the Canadian culture and Keeping the country whole is indepedent of his past services before and since becoming an MP. It is part of his essence, his social DNA.

Instead, he invites Canadians to join the Big Tent party, and to have Fun inside.

And more and more Canadians are understanding that these are the parts of this new leader that are so attractive to others.


  1. Succinct contribution to the discussion, Mound.

  2. Imho, it all depends on whether Trudeau's Liberals can generate enough steam to defeat the CPC on their own. If not, Trudeau, Mulcair and May will join the villains of our history if, through their partisan ambitions, they divide the opposition vote enough for the CPC to continue its ruinous rule. All three MUST decide on a coalition plan in case one is needed, thereby proving their willingness to "stand on guard" together for Canada and its people. (But I agree with you, CC: the LPC is the best single choice to lead the nation and keep it/us together.)

  3. "which one offers Canadians a leader best in tune with what Canadians really, really want in their leader, deep down in the innermost recesses of their hearts?"

    Grasping at straws a little tightly are we?

  4. One of my favourite writers, David Solway, author of The Big Lie


    has a dim view of Trudeau.


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