Poor Mr. Trudeau

October 8th, 2012
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Back in the Paleolithic, when I was first interviewing for jobs in Calgary, a crusty old geologist from Shell asked me whether I had any relatives working for Shell. “No, I don’t think so” he was told. “Good” he said, “if you did, you’d never work for Shell”.

By contrast, other companies promoted sons of executives to executive positions. Of two sons of an ESSO exec, promoted to senior management there, one was respected and competent, the other regularly ridiculed around the water cooler.

It’s hard to imagine politics would ever have employment restrictions like Shell. On the contrary, the phenomenon of Justin Trudeau suggests the hereditary model is alive and well.

Interestingly, John Moore seems miffed about people apparently resenting Trudeau’s hereditary short cut into the limelight. This he terms “reflex loathing” and “anti-Justin double-think”.

Moore’s tongue-in-cheek comparison of Trudeau with the inexperienced Stephen Harper of 2002 also misses the mark. I believe it’s not Trudeau’s inexperience that drives some resentment, but rather that combined with the hereditary fast-track. This is I think the same sentiment that greeted someone like Belinda Stronach. People will look askance at someone who gets a “by” into public life due to daddy’s name and their aesthetic superficialities. They just will.

As a recovering Anglo-Montrealer myself, it’s not surprising that Moore suffers from Trudeau nostalgia. His hearkening back to Canada’s love affair with Trudeau pere simply doesn’t ring true for many, or most, Canadians. I’ve written in these pages before how, after 1968, Trudeau never won a majority of seats outside Quebec, and relied increasingly on support from that province to win elections. And that was running against Stanfield and Joe Clark…

Moore is right about one thing, that time will tell the measure of the man; the proof will be in the pudding so to speak. That said, readers will probably have seen these much better analyses by Rex Murphy and especially John Ibbitson.

There is no doubt that there is some danger residing in Trudeau II. If his superficialities and other qualities are attractive enough, he may become an empty vessel carrying every pernicious policy Canada has been spared for the last seven years.

This was the fatal combination embodied by his father, who was attractive and intelligent enough to stay in power to the detriment of, particularly western Canada. Trudeau Jr. is already benefitting from, in many quarters, significantly deferential media. All the more reason to oppose him as strongly as possible.

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By John Weissenberger