Pierre Elliott Trudeau,
Canada’s Prime Minister finds himself a focus of those who seem impressed with what they see in shirtless photo ops and on the cover of the Rolling Stone. He was dismissed by his opponents as the privileged son riding on the coattails of his famous father Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau. It was said that he lacked his father’s lofty intellect and was not up to the challenge.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. Not only is he up to the task, but he has advantages and talents beyond those of his father.
Pierre Trudeau came to power in the late 1960s. Canada was facing deep division over the cultural and political differences in Québec. Trudeau was the right man for the time. He handled political unrest avoiding civil war. He strengthend the bonds between Québec and English Canada and brought Canada into the modern age by repatriating its constitution.
I had the interesting experience of becoming acquainted with Pierre Trudeau when I was a law student in Ottawa in my early 20s. We were introduced through a close family friend Barney Danson, then Minister of Defence. Bearing the name of one of his favourite professors, Harold Laski, was the basis of striking up a friendship.
Pierre Elliott Trudeau was a highly intelligent, sophisticated, aloof and elegant man. He burst onto the Canadian scene with the charisma that spawned Trudeau mania where he was treated as a rock star. There was an alluring mystery to the man with whom Canada had a love-hate relationship.
Justin Trudeau comes by his political chops naturally. Yet he is a very different man from his father. He is strongly influenced by his mother Margaret. As a result he is not as aloof as his father. He may come from privilege, but he connects to and truly empathizes with and understands Canadians and their aspirations in a way few other politicians in Canada have been able to do. He understands the inequalities in society and is truly committed to speaking for all Canadians in making life better.
The issues that face society today are very different than the ones his father faced over four decades ago. The greatest issue facing the world today is the inequality in the distribution of wealth and resources.
He will guide Canada through further liberalization building on social and political values that Canadians consider to be at the core of being a Canadian.
I believe the future of this relatively young leader will find its true purpose on the international stage. His father’s name was floated as a possible Secretary-General of the United Nations after retiring from active Canadian politics. He shared the view that some form of world government to more fairly deal with disputes and a fair distribution of the world’s resources. The United Nations is the only entity that has the organization and infrastructure to provide that kind of leadership.
Justin Trudeau’s empathy, understanding, and feeling for the issues of greater equality of quality-of-life and share of resources would make him an excellent choice to take on the challenge. He is widely recognized and respected throughout the world. He is a young man with many missions ahead.
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