Justin Trudeau was only four months already, an American president predicted – a little joke, anyway – he would one day become Prime Minister of Canada.
“Tonight, let’s drop the formalities: I would like to toast the future Prime Minister of Canada: Justin Trudeau” Richard Nixon launched in April 1972, after a gala buffet during his official visit to Ottawa. According to the then newswire, Pierre Elliott Trudeau diplomatically replied that if one day the son became prime minister, “I hope he will have the grace and skill of the president.”
The anecdote little information about the actual capacity of the current Liberal leader, but he recalls the type of unusual childhood has had Justin Trudeau. And it is ironic that young Trudeau grown up wanting to replace the country’s leader Stephen Harper, his former chief of staff Tom Flanagan once called precisely “almost Nixonien”.
With his jovial character, sometimes a little quick to quip “peel-de-banana” Trudeau is presented as the antidote to 10 years in Harper regime, opaque and rigid. But this “child of the ball”, which has been under the spotlight for about 43 years, must also fight against the perverse effects of this fame due to his parentage.
In his autobiography Common Ground (2014), he wrote that his childhood would have rather pushed not to enter active politics, but that events have suddenly rushed. The tragic death of his brother Michel in an avalanche in British Columbia in 1998 made him an all designated spokesperson for mountain safety. And his eulogy at the state funeral of his father in 2000, has moved much of Canadians watching television.
Since Justin Trudeau realized – and his entourage, too – he had some talent to shake ‘ordinary’ hands and lifting baby photo, unlike his father, an intellectual who did not like the insurance salesman side of the political field. In his autobiography, Justin claims to also further the legacy of that Grandpa Jimmy’s dad Peter.
James Sinclair, Margaret’s father, Pierre Trudeau’s wife and mother of his three children, was federal minister in the 1950s in the Liberal governments of Louis Saint-Laurent.
Since his coronation in the first round of voting in the race for the Liberal Party of Canada in April 2013 – he then became the sixth chief in seven years – Justin Trudeau saw ups and downs with Canadians: mocked by Conservative taken high by the NDP, despised by Quebecers who have not forgotten the work of his father, he is also the subject of skepticism of analysts in content.
Too young. Not enough experience. Too casual. Too rich. Too careless. Pejorative epithets falling like cleavers. For example, when accepting to receive a stamp to make a speech – even for a charity – he is a backbencher. Or when he admits to having smoked pot when he was already elected to the Commons. Or when making a joke of questionable taste, Tout le monde en parle, the Russians might have decided to wage war in Ukraine because they had lost the Olympic hockey. And effectiveness of the Chinese regime. And the phallic nature of CF-18s … His conservative opponents in the Liberal race did more than could whisper, “I told you so you!”.
But Justin Trudeau has also taken difficult decisions, his former adversaries are careful not to boast. He said at the leadership campaign PLC that it does not bring the long-gun registry eliminated by the Conservatives. Raised in the breast of individual rights, he denounced vigorously and expeditiously the draft charter of the values of the Parti Québécois – albeit awkwardly, speaking of the civil rights of African Americans – while others took the temperature of the water before ruling.
He also ordered Liberal MPs to publish online their parliamentary expenses, drove caucus Liberal senators, expelled two deputies suspected of sexual misconduct and dismissed the old road of liberal candidacy. By cons, it has attracted prestigious candidates – Aboriginal chief military officer, journalist and business people.
Remains to be seen if the “prophecy” Nixon come true October 19 …