Pierre Trudeau, an Anti-Semite and Admirer of Fascism


Time Out
Jul 30, 2006
Ottawa ,Canada

"A new biography of the former prime minister, whom Canadians have long been taught to regard as a great liberal politician, reveals that as a youth and young man, Mr. Trudeau was an anti-Semite, admired fascist dictators such as Hitler and Mussolini, promoted revolution and longed for an independent and Catholic Quebec that would be home only to francophones.

""We discovered a Trudeau who was remarkably different from what we and everyone else had assumed," authors Max and Monique Nemni write in their book, Young Trudeau: Son of Quebec, Father of Canada, 1919-1944.

(Excerpted from Robert Sibley, The Ottawa Citizen, May 31, 2006)
The Mythos of Pierre Trudeau

Pierre Trudeau has inspired a devoted following amongst Canadians. This began with "Trudeaumania," which describes the excitement generated in his initial election campaign. The excitement apparently was the result of Trudeau's charisma and the perception that he was good looking. And from those superficial beginnings, Trudeau's vast failings were largely ignored because of this initial love affair, much like an abusive husband's actions are ignored by his wife. Trudeau's imposition of martial has been excused. His cozying up to dictators has been rationalized. Trudeau's treatment of Alberta as a colony brought him praise throughout most of Canada, simply because they were the recipients of Alberta's wealth and the end in their eyes justified the means. Apologists for Trudeau's economic policy abound. Trudeau's repatriation of the Consitution and the addition of a Charter of Rights is usually lauded, despite the fact that this was yet another "achievement" of Trudeau's that will lead to the destruction of Canada. His classlessness is redefined as playfulness; his elitism somehow regarded as egalitarian. Trudeau the man is much different than Trudeau the myth.
Pierre Trudeau as Dictator

Pierre Trudeau imposed military rule on Canada during 1970 to deal with the so-called October Crisis. This was done in response to two kidnappings.

Two kidnappings? Two kidnappings? Between April 1, 2003 and March 31, 2004, there were 141 kidnapping cases prosecuted by the Nova Scotia Public Prosecutor. Does this mean that martial law was warranted across Canada in 2003-4? After all, there were 141 kidnapping cases as opposed to two kidnappings. If two kidnappings justified martial law, certainly 141 kidnappings would justify it, would they not?

Laporte was a Quebec minister and Cross was a British diplomat. Contrary to Trudeau's assertions, there was no parallel government or attempt at federal insurrection. Neither of those government officials were federal government officials. Isn't the hallmark of Western society supposed to be equality before the law? And doesn't equality before the law necessitate that one man's kidnapping is treated the same as another's?

Martial law was simply a tyrant's response to certain events. The Patriot Act was in response to a much more terrible event and an event of much greater significance. It infringes upon individual rights and is dangerous legislation, yet it pales in comparison to the War Measures Act in the effect on individual rights. During the War Measures Act, freedom of speech against University of Lethbridge students was infringed; martial law was simply not a Quebec situation.

There will undoubtedly be some Albertans who respected Trudeau's "tough" approach towards FLQ terrorists. Being tough on terrorists means you do not recognize them as legitimate and you do not negotiate with them. Trudeau had no problem negotiating with these terrorists and gave in to some of their demands. Negotiations with terrorists led to escape of terrorists to Cuba. Tough? Hardly.

Paul Rose was sentenced to life, paroled in 1982 and is now a political leader in Quebec. Tough? Hardly.

Jacques Rose was acquitted and then charged after the fact and paroled in 1978. Tough? Hardly.

Bernard Lortie was sentenced to 20 years for his part in murder and kidnapping, and paroled in 7 years. Tough? Hardly?

Francis Simard was sentenced for murder, paroled in 1982, and has made a living off writing about his terrorist acts. Tough? Hardly.

Jacques Cossette Trudel was exiled to Cuba, and then he traveled to France. He returned to Canada and was sentenced to two years and released after 8 months. Tough? Hardly.

Louise Lanctot was given a vacation to Cuba by Trudeau. She then went to France, and returned to Canada. She was sentenced to two years and was paroled after 8 months. Tough? Hardly.

Jacques Lanctot was exiled to Cuba. He then went to France and returned to Canada. He served one year. Tough? Hardly.

Yves Langlois was sentenced to two years less a day, and served 10 months. Tough? Hardly.

Marc Carbonneau was exiled to Cuba, and then traveled to France. He returned to Canada in 1981 and was sentenced to 20 months. Tough? Hardly.

Trudeau also decided not to pursue extradition of terrorists from France in 1974, after various terrorists were known to be residing in France. Tough? Hardly. The only people Trudeau was tough on for the crimes of the terrorists were everyday citizens. If we want to consider how tough Trudeau was, perhaps we should consider how difficult it must have been for him to date Barbra Streisand.

The terrorists allowed to escape to Cuba were given a lifetime exile. While living in France, all of them chose to come back to Canada. Canada again gave in to terrorists

Was Trudeau tough on separatists? Hardly. His inspired attack on the liberties of citizens did nothing but inspired Quebeckers to elect the Parti Quebecois by 1976 - a mere 6 years after the imposition of martial law. The Czechs haven't forgotten 1968, either.

But surely, one must admit to the success of Trudeau's military rule and surrender to terrorists, mustn't one? Rheal Mathieu was convicted of the attempted firebombing of three Second Cup coffee shops in Montreal. He was sentenced to 30 days. He chose Second Cup because their name was in English. Soon thereafter, 7 McDonald's restaurants were firebombed. Second Cup soon changed their name to Les cafes Second Cup. The tradition of giving in to terrorists continues!
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Hall of Fame Member
Nov 5, 2005
Saint John, N.B.
I agree with every word in your post.

But let me add this; Trudeau was a VERY young man, still in his mid-teens, when he took up fascism. I'm not sure you can hold that against him. One learns...

When I was 18, I was a Marxist.

One learns.....

There are lots of coherent, straightforward, and reasonable reasons to despise the SOB for his actions as an adult, with a mature intellect.

Such as the FLQ Crisis.......


The Central Scrutinizer
Nov 21, 2008
Moccasin Flats
Since it wasn't brought up I will. Maggie...the coke snorting hash smoking Rolling Stone boinking little hosebag didn't do Canadian image much good either but I've gotta admit, I'd boink her too.

Why is there an Alberta provincial emblem?
I'll answer myself...bad cut and paste job.


Time Out
Jul 30, 2006
Ottawa ,Canada

Pierre Trudeau has a long history of supporting dictators. Let us consider Trudeau's actions:

Trudeau admired Mao, stating that stating that Mao had delivered a "wonderful system to his people." Mao is one of the bloodiest killers in human history, responsible for tens of millions of deaths during the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. Trudeau had no problem with this on his conscience and liberalized relations with China. According to R.J. Rummell, from 1949-1987, there were between 6.0 million to 102 million people killed by the Chinese government, with the best estimate at 35.2 million people murdered.
Trudeau proclaimed "Viva Castro" in 1973. Castro is another butcher that Trudeau idolized. According to Rummell, Castro killed between 35,000 and 141,000 Cubans, with 73,000 being the most likely estimate. Trudeau shamefully allowed Cuban military transport planes to refuel in Newfoundland before resupplying themselves in the U.S.S.R.. From there, the Cuban soldiers were killing Angolans.Senator Link Byfield, in a September 30, 2000 Globe and Mail column, stated Trudeau "was once overheard by reporters remarking to Fidel Castro how much quicker and easier it would be to run things the Cuban way".
Trudeau visited the Soviet Union several times, and each time praised it, whether it was oppressed under Stalin or Brezhnev. Trudeau infuriated many Soviet dissidents by praising the development of Siberia - which as anyone knows, was developed by the Soviets using gulag slave labor. Trudeau's intellectual inspiration while at the London School of Economics was Harold Laski, an apologist for Stalin. Trudeau is on the record in Cite Libre, praising Stalin's totalitarianism. As Rummel notes, the Soviet regime that Trudeau spoke fondly of killed between 28.326 million and 126.891 million people, with 61.911 million corpses being the most likely estimate.
Journalist Robert Fulford states "to Canada's eternal shame, Trudeau expressed sympathy with the venomous General Wojceich Jaruzelski when the general imposed martial law on Poland in 1981, banned Solidarity and arrested union leaders." Byfield states of Trudeau "He seemed to have the mind of a dictator, not a democrat."
Trudeau dressed as a German soldier and riding around Jewish suburbs of Montreal DURING WORLD WAR II (as reported by Mordecai Richler). While this does not imply that Trudeau was a Nazi - Trudeau's version of socialism differed from Hitler's - his actions were tasteless at best. Historian Esther Delisle noted that some of Quebec's elite supported Petain and the Vichy French during World War II. This adds further context to Trudeau's professed doubt that World War II was a just war.

In addition to the inhuman murderers above, he also praised and supported dictators like Mugabe, Nyerere and others.

Trudeau supported killers and dictators. He was not interested in freedom, justice or liberty.
Trudeau & His Economic Illiteracy

Trudeau's economic policy was a disaster. Small wonder, since he adored the Fabian socialist ideas of Harold Laski.

Let us list the economic results under Trudeau:
-The national debt rose 1,100% under Trudeau, from $18 billion when Trudeau took office in 1968, to a debt that stood at $200 billion in 1984. If comparisons to the U.S. and their deficit spending are made, the comparison should also take into the account that the U.S. wasted billions of dollars in VietNam. Canada did not. Trudeau's economic illiteracy combatted this by raising taxes and spending.
-Trudeau oversaw the worst peacetime inflation in Canadian history. $100 of goods in 1968, when Trudeau took office, would cost $324.09 in 1984, when he left office. That represents an annualized inflation rate of 7.63%. Trudeau's economic policy focused on the effect, rather than the cause, of inflation. He legislated wage and price controls. Not only is this a terrible policy from the standpoint of individual rights (since it denies the liberty of contract), but it is terrible economic policy. It destroys the signals that prices send to the economy. For example, the wage rates are high in Alberta ($25/hr to deliver pizzas in Calgary right now) because there is an excess of demand relative to the supply of labor. Then again, if Trudeau couldn't see the oceans of blood spilled by Stalin as his economic mentor Laski couldn't, why would we expect for him to see the effects of supply and demand?
-Unemployment nearly tripled under Trudeau, from just over 4% to peaking at around 12% to falling just above 11% before Trudeau exited. Trudeau's response? He raised unemployment benefits, which decreased the incentive to find work; increased taxes and regulations, which decresed the incentives to create jobs; gave greater power to the unions, which increased the stickiness of wage rate changes. The result was that Canadian unemployment rates significantly diverged from U.S. unemployment rates, based largely on Trudeauvian policies.
-Economic growth struggled in Canada under Trudeau. This is a combination of Trudeau's statist expansion of the government into the economy and his protectionist bent. His protectionist policies not only included the F.I.R.A., which killed investment into the energy industry in Alberta, but also included the adherence to the status quo favoritism given to Eastern manufacturers. A most famous example of Trudeau expanding the state into economy has to be the National Energy Program. The National Energy Program controled free market prices, which caused the energy industry to be devastated in Alberta. The economic growth in Alberta was destroyed. Albertan homeowners defaulted en masse as they became unemployed and the value of their homes decreased - all thanks to Trudeau and his N.E.P.

Trudeau was an economic illiterate. His policies saw debt and taxes rise, inflation rise, unemployment rise and economic growth falter; these results were the logical consequence of his illogical ideas.
Trudeau the Pampered Elitist

Trudeau was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and evolved from spoiled child to professional student to world traveler on his father's dime. His spoiled childhood consisted of being driven to school by a chaffeur, and starting a childhood club with the moniker "Les Snobs." Before he became involved in federal politics, his career consistented of remaining separated from reality by working as an associate professor and working for labor unions in Quebec.

As Colby Cosh succintly and poignantly states:
"[M]aybe someone can explain to me what Trudeau's "successful career" outside of politics consisted of. As I understand it, he spent a lot of time swanning about the world on his father's chequebook, then eventually started doing legal and administrative work for Quebec labour unions.... in Quebec, labour unions are political institutions."

Let's not pretend that Trudeau was a self-made man that rose from the ashes of poverty. Unlike a Bill Clinton, he was born into wealth, and was raised utilizing his family's wealth. It is unarguable that that was his family's privilege. It is arguable whether this affected Trudeau in many ways, such as being connected to any sort of economic reality, or perhaps being an elitist.

Trudeau's understanding of economics is treated above. Was he an elitist? Undoubtedly. He was part of a childhood group called "Les Snobs." His political style consisted of avoiding the distasteful task of building consensus, but rather imposing his will on the public. He had no problem acting like a modern day Marie Antoinette, giving the finger to protesting masses while sitting in his private luxury rail car. His treatment of Alberta is entirely consistent with Trudeau's elitism - in this case, central Canada being the elite master. So was his execution of the official bilingualism, with French speakers granted a heightened status by fiat in any quest to become a civil servant. Trudeau mocked Lougheed by saying he "revealed his own ignorance" by not understanding how to market energy. Fact is, the Alberta economic flourished under Lougheed (until Trudeau intervened) and the Canadian economy struggled under Trudeau. Trudeau's attitude is nothing more than elitist claptrap. Perhaps the Kool-Aid drinking zombies West of Manitoba wouldn't be so hypnotized if they were talked down to as Albertans were.
Trudeau & the Charter of Rights

Trudeau is usually regarded as a great protector of individual rights. Nothing could be further from the truth. First, consider his imposition of martial law. Military rule is not what protectors of liberty and rights impose on their citizens.

Second, consider the company he kept: dictators. Trudeau cozied up to killers like Mao and Castro. Friendship with totalitarian dictators like Mao, Castro, Mugabe or Brezhnev is not consistent with defending the rights of citizens. Someone dedicated to preserving the rights of citizens would likely not ride around on his motorcycle dressed as a German soldier during World War II. Trudeau did, according to Mordecai Richler, and did so in Jewish areas.

Trudeau's "achievements" also included policies noted above such as the National Energy Program and Wage & Price Controls. At the nature of those programs is that the individual's freedom to trade voluntarily is denied. That is the exact opposite of protecting rights. In fact, several countries' constitutions protect voluntary trade between their citizens. Trudeau had no problems consistently abridging these rights.

Trudeau is given credit for liberalizing divorce laws and legalizing homosexuality. Note that this was done with Pearson as Prime Minister, so it was not Trudeau who was ultimately responsible for this policy. I have no problems with either action. Liberalizing divorce laws may or may not protect rights, depending on how it deals with contracts and the mutual consent of both parties. Legalizing a consensual act between two adults is a good thing, and is consistent with protecting rights. However, why wasn't Trudeau consistent with his rationale? "The state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation” is an absolutely accurate quote. But what if I wish to watch American television in my bedroom before retiring to bed? Trudeau limited our rights to do that. What if I wish to read non-Canadian magazines in my bedroom before reitring? Trudeau limited our rights to do that. What if I operate my home business from a desk in my bedroom? Trudeau limited our rights to do that. Trudeau simply favored a few rights, and ignored countless others.

What about the Charter of Rights? Again, it protects some rights, and does so inconsistently. But what it clearly does is expand the power of the judiciary, and give privileges to some groups at the expense of individual rights. The Charter of Rights does not protect the rights of Canadians. For example:
1. There are no property rights enshrined in the Constitution. This obvious omission made it possible to deprive citizens of their property without due process of law. This is a right that Americans have enshrined in their Consitution. Canadians have to rely on the common law to protect this right, and it can be negated by statute. Albertans, however, have legislation that protects property rights, but those rights are still subject to being dominated by the federal government.
2. The entire Constitution does not recognize rights of citizens and thusly lists limits on the government's power to infringe upon those rights. Rather, it grants permissions - "rights" that only exist because the government allows them. This is not a document that protects rights.
3. The preamble to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms infringes upon religious freedoms, namely by basing the Charter on the principle of the supremacy of God. Quite frankly, that is offensive as hell to 1/4 of Albertans who aren't religious. It is not consistent with the freedom to worship, which includes the liberty to not believe, as well as the right to believe in many gods.
4. The Charter of Rights limits rights subject to "limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society." The raison d'etre for a Constitution or bill of rights is to limit the power of legislation. Legislation does not limit the rights in a Constitution. This clause simply opens up holes by which rights and liberties can be limited.
5. Mobility rights are limited by various laws that justify the transfer wealth to one group. Without this clause, the transfer payments that keep Alberta's labor force without adequate supplies of labor, while keeping other locales with much higher unemployment rates, might not be sustained. In any event, the rights of individuals are suborndinated to the interests of the collective.
6. Equality rights defend the concept except....when laws, programs or activities decide that people should not be treated as equal, and they can be treated unequally before the law based on race, national or ethnic origin, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability. Welcome to Canada, where you're equal, unless you aren't. This is a racist, sexist clause that simply favors some groups at the expense of individuals.

The Notwithstanding Clause is usually interpreted as something that gives the government the power to avoid certain legislation that expands rights. Given the nature of this document that does not protect rights, the Notwithstanding Clause can actually serve to protect rights. It simply depends on how it is enforced. Ideally, the Notwithstanding Clause could be used to renew federalism by limiting the power of the central government in favor of the regional governments. Unfortunately, that wasn't how it was written.

Let's not pretend that Trudeau was the great defender of rights because of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. He repatriated the Constitution in order to get a legacy. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not protect rights and liberties.
Trudeau's Effect on Unity

Trudeau is usually regarded as being a great Canadian patriot who kept Canada together. Let's examine the actual facts:
-The War Measures Act, while initially reducing membership in the Parti Quebecois, contributed to the Parti Quebecois rising from 7 seats prior to martial law to becoming the Official Opposition in 1973 to becoming the governing party in Quebec in 1976.
-Not getting Quebec's signature on the repatriation of the Constitution gives Quebec sovereigntists a pretext for claiming to be not part of Canada
-Increased centralization and abusive policies have isolated Alberta, Quebec, and to a lesser extent, the West.
-The costly imposition of Official Bilingualism has served to divide English and French Canada.
-The National Energy Program inspired the first secessionist MLA to be elected in Alberta, Gordon Kesler. It also caused the W.C.C. to gain over 11% of the popular vote

I fail to see how Trudeau benefitted unity. However, from my secessionist perspective, this is a good thing.
Trudeaumania: Superficial or Cult of Personality?


Trudeau's initial popularity was based upon many superficial traits. Though some claim their excitement was based upon Trudeau's liberalizing divorce laws or legalizing homosexuality, these are not issues that generate fervor that Trudeaumania generated. I don't see women throwing their panties at Simon Wiesenthal.

Trudeau's lemming-like following was based on the superficialties of fashion, physical attraction and Trudeau's attitude. Trudeau had an appeal because he wore a rose on his lapel and would wear sandals in the House of Commons. What is more superficial than that? Perhaps that the balding, middle-aged, wiry Trudeau was somehow considered attractive? That's certainly superficial. But let us consider the facts: he was balding and middle-aged. I don't believe that is the usual standard of attractiveness for men. That's why the inclination has to be that Trudeaumania wasn't based on anything more than a cult of personality.

Trudeau's personality was a combination of arrogance, a conformist's faux rebellions and simple immaturity. I have no respect for the monarchy, but pirouhetting behind the Queen was simply childish. It was not playful, it was immature. Yet for all the glitz, Trudeau followed all dictums and traditions in order to repatriate the Constitution and took few concrete steps to eliminate the monarcy. Rebellion? Hardly. Wearing sandals in the House of Commons? Rebellious? It's simply a piece of clothing - Trudeau's action is no different than teenaged followers whose conformity is revealed by wearing loose jeans around their ass.

Unfortunately for Canadians, and especially Albertans, a pop culture phenomenon that should have lasted 15 minutes lingered for 15 years.
Trudeau: Ripping Albertans Off After Death

The Trudeau Foundation quietly received $125 million from the Canadian government to fund itself. Appropriately, the Trudeau Foundation could not rely on private donations, but needed to rely on taxation. In death, Trudeau's ideas need to be forced on Canada's citizens, just as was the case during his life.

Here is the announcement by the Canadian government. Note that $125,000,000 is designed to fund up to 100 doctoral and post-doctoral students. Once again, the lack of even the most rudimentary economic knowledge is the characteristic of a Trudeauvian institution. Financial overcapitalization will not make up for the intellectual undercapitalization of this institution nor its namesake.
Trudeau: Post Mortem

Trudeau was simply a terrible leader. He had no respect for individual rights and freedoms. This is evident in his lifelong admiration of dictators, his imposition of military rule in Canada, his political philosophy and his repatriation of the Constitution. His arrogance and immaturity served as the basis for his popularity, rather than any meritous achievements. His actions and policies were deleterious, harming not only Albertans but also Canadians. His actions will eventually lead to the breakup of Canada. Ironically, Trudeau gets credit for holding Canada together, but he should get credit for helping to break it apart.

As Senator Link Byfield states:
"As far as I have ever been able to tell, Pierre Trudeau had three assets: cleverness, style and nerve. In short, he was an actor. He could act like an intellectual, or a lover, or a statesman, or a brawler, and a huge audience followed along, relishing his every word, gesture and hat. In this sense, he was "great." It was this quality that captivated such widespread attention."

"Behind that mask, however, he was moody, inconsistent, glib, arrogant and shallow."

Good riddance.

The above was written by an Albertan for the Albertans .
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Hall of Fame Member
Oct 19, 2004
Ottawa, ON
Trudeau was the greatest prime minister Canada has ever had

I don't know about that. As for his economic policies, they were atrocious, but I'll give him praise where it's due. He did contribute to the establishment of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. As flawed a document as it is, it's still superior to the previous Canadian Bill of Rights in some ways. Though I do agree that even it needs revamping. However, looking at it from an evolutionary standpoint, it's still better than what preceded it.


Time Out
Jul 30, 2006
Ottawa ,Canada
Robert Fulford on the Trudeau record

(The National Post, September 29, 2000) No one ever glowed with such promise. No one ever carried such vibrant hopes into the Prime Minister's Office. And no one ever disappointed Canada on such a grand scale.
Early in 1968, as Lester B. Pearson prepared to retire and the Liberal party planned its leadership convention, the idea that Pierre Trudeau might become prime minister sent a charge of political energy flowing across Canada. But the very idea seemed impossible to many of us. "Too good to be true," said Blair Fraser of Maclean's, the shrewdest political writer in Ottawa, as well as a friend and admirer of Trudeau's. It couldn't happen.
Trudeau was intelligent, attractive, articulate and imaginative. In the 1950s he had fought the repressive political machine of Maurice Duplessis, the Quebec premier. He was a civil libertarian, and a Quebecer who believed in Canada. In 1965 he had pulled up his roots in the New Democratic Party and planted himself among the Liberals so that he could serve in Parliament and help save the country from Quebec separatism. As Pearson's justice minister in 1967, he had expunged the archaic anti-homosexual law from the Criminal Code.
It was hard to imagine the powerbrokers of the Liberal party endorsing someone so original, so bright, so aloof, and so alien to the normal style of Canadian politics. A friend phoned to ask that I sign up with my Liberal riding association and vote to send Trudeau-committed delegates to Ottawa.
So I spent one evening as a Liberal, my first and last experience of party membership. I told my friend that though I didn't expect we could win, just getting Trudeau a prominent place among the candidates would be worth the effort. My friend said no, we were going to win.
He was right. In that frantic and exciting spring, Trudeau embodied the spirit of the moment. The country was ready for new beginnings, even if we couldn't say what they should be. Canada was giddy with a fresh sense of nationhood, having just celebrated the centennial year at Expo '67, the magnificent world's fair in Trudeau's home town, Montreal. Young people were suddenly a larger force in politics and society than ever before; Trudeau, middle-aged but athletic, was (everyone agreed) young at heart. As the April leadership convention approached, the idea of a charming, totally bilingual French-Canadian federalist gathered national support, and by the time he defeated John Turner, Paul Martin Sr. and five others, his victory seemed entirely natural and almost inevitable. In the May election, the country gave him the parliamentary majority that had twice eluded the far more distinguished and experienced Pearson.
Trudeau came across as something of a movie star, the first such personality in our political history. If he was also sometimes silly, we could reassure ourselves that he was, after all, a constitutional lawyer, a former professor of law at the University of Montreal, and a friend of many of the country's leading intellectuals. It took some of us years to figure out that there was less to him than met the eye.
At the beginning, he did for Canadians what Ronald Reagan later did for Americans: He made us feel good about ourselves. Eventually he would make us feel bad -- about ourselves and about him. He was as brilliant as his earliest reviews had suggested, but the flaws in his personality swiftly became evident. For one thing, he was more obsessed with personal power than anyone expected -- much more than Pearson or Louis St. Laurent, his predecessors as Liberal leader. Having frowned in disapproval at conflicts among Pearson's ministers, he kept his own Cabinet on a short leash and made free discussion of issues a punishable offence. More important, he withdrew most of the power of the ministers and centralized all authority in his office and the Privy Council Office.
What he accomplished was a silent and entirely legal coup, and it took at least two years before many people outside Ottawa knew what he had done. By then it was 1970, and we were heading toward a new disillusionment: the discovery that our much-admired civil libertarian did not believe in civil liberties for those who radically disagreed with him. In October, FLQ separatist terrorists kidnapped a British diplomat, James Cross, and then a Quebec Cabinet minister, Pierre Laporte. It seemed to many in Quebec and Ottawa that frighteningly large numbers of citizens were sympathetic to the terrorists.
Trudeau, apparently in a panic, invoked the War Measures Act, which imposed censorship on the media and gave the police arbitrary powers of arrest. More than 450 Quebecers, most of whom had committed no crime and were never charged with one, were rounded up and hauled off briefly to jail, where they were held incommunicado. Here was an act worse than anything Duplessis ever dreamt of committing.
Not long after, the murder of Laporte seemed to give legitimacy to Trudeau's actions, at least for the moment. But those of us who had so admired him in 1968 now realized that he believed in a principle when that principle was convenient; otherwise, he believed in power.
In foreign affairs, his record was equally dubious and untrue to his own past. The man who had fought the censorship of the Duplessis government never quite understood that the many dictatorships imposed by the Soviet Union were incomparably worse. In the 1970s, Trudeau showed no sympathy for the dissidents across eastern Europe who were fighting a long and lonely (and often apparently hopeless) battle against Moscow. He saw them as irresponsible agents of disorder who might disturb the world's delicate status quo. "He considered them thugs," a senior diplomat told me, after watching Trudeau's reactions over the years. To Canada's eternal shame, Trudeau expressed sympathy with the venomous General Wojciech Jaruzelski when the general imposed martial law on Poland in 1981, banned Solidarity, and arrested union leaders. After fighting in the 1950s against uncaring elites, particularly on behalf of trade unions, Trudeau in power turned into the natural friend of despots -- even Fidel Castro.
His charm, so evident at the beginning, soured early. He found it hard to work with people who challenged him -- and he had no patience with those less bright than he. Condescension was the style of his conversation. He was usually the brightest person in the room, and he made sure everyone knew it. Ministers with independent reputations began drifting away. Two finance ministers left the Cabinet in quick succession, John Turner in 1975, Donald Macdonald in 1977. Eventually the Cabinet turned into a collection of mediocrities, and it became clear there was only one important Liberal in Ottawa. By comparison, Pearson's Cabinet shone with excellence.
The country had originally cast Trudeau as the mediator between Quebec and the rest, the man who would restore stability to government and let us all move on to more serious work. In this he failed miserably. He thought that making Canada nominally bilingual through the Official Languages Act would help French-Canadians to feel at home everywhere in the country, a vain hope -- at least in the short term. Instead, separatism persisted.
Respectable separatism (separatism considered as a viable "option" at every level of society and in every region) is a legacy of the Trudeau years.
In Quebec, his theories lasted only as long as his power. When he retired in 1984 he left behind no Trudeau school of thought in the universities and no Trudeau faction in politics. It seemed to outsiders that Quebec conquered Ottawa in the Trudeau years, but within Quebec this made no noticeable difference. Quebec voters supported him so long as he was there, but when he left office they appeared anxious to forget everything he stood for. Today, even federalists seldom quote him, and provincial Liberals show no sign that he ever mattered. The Quebec Liberal party remains dominated by purely provisional Canadians, prepared to remain Canadian only if Ottawa and the other provinces somehow provide an acceptable deal. It remains an astonishing fact that in his own province, Trudeau's beliefs about the meaning of Canada were like water poured in the sand (as one of his academic critics, Reg Whitaker, put it).
Would national unity have been served better by a less ferociously combative and more conciliatory prime minister? We can never know, but we know for sure that his way didn't work. Apparently, he had no interest in speculating on why this was so. When I asked him about it, his answer was grim, brief and totally incurious: his enemies were wrong, and that was the end of it. Not the reasoned response of an intellectual.
At some point a horrible thought occurred to many people who had once admired him: He wasn't nearly as serious about his job as he needed to be.
He was serious about creating a place of equality for French-Canadians, and about "patriating" the Constitution and entrenching the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In his own terms, he was a success on the constitutional issue, even if he did infuriate the Quebec government. The Charter, his chief monument, has changed Canada by greatly enhancing the power of appeal court judges and altering the way laws are made: Legislatures today operate in the knowledge that in most cases they must conform to the Charter and its judicial interpreters. Whether this has made us more free, as it was intended to do, is debatable. Those of us who dislike the Charter (mostly non-lawyers) and those who passionately love it (mostly lawyers and rights-seeking groups) have almost stopped arguing about it. We know that it will be part of Canada far into 21st century.
In the career of Trudeau, it remains a startling and incomprehensible anomaly. He was the most anti-American of all our Liberal prime ministers, but giving power over Parliament to the Supreme Court, and raising the court to the same level as the nine judges in Washington, did more to Americanize Canadian government than any other single act of the 20th century. Perhaps a Trudeau biographer will someday explain this most baffling of his many contradictions.
But even if his motives were hard to understand, he remained firm to the end on the Constitution, as he did on bilingualism. On everything else, he was capricious. He worried intensely about the Third World one year and forgot about it the next. He developed the Third Option in trade and foreign policy (meaning closer ties with Europe), talked about it a lot, then absent-mindedly dropped it. He fought passionately against wage and price controls in the 1974 election, then abruptly made them law soon after being re-elected. He seems never to have been much interested in economics, and he hardly noticed that he was presiding over the drift into crippling permanent debt. He appears to have approved the National Energy Policy without even being aware that it would make Albertans and many others curse his name.
In his early years as prime minister he devalued the External Affairs Department, belittled the legacy of Pearson, and brought Canada's greatest period of diplomacy to a melancholy end. And then, toward the end of his time in office, he became the great avatar of peace and demanded that the diplomats organize his last strut on the world stage, a global peace-seeking tour that in the end seemed more an empty gesture than a serious attempt to grapple with the issues of the Cold War.
But even those who spent much of their adult lives passionately disagreeing with him had to admit that in person he was supremely impressive. I last saw him in 1992, a few weeks before his 73rd birthday.
This was the time of the Charlottetown accord, and he was explaining to a private dinner of two dozen Torontonians why he was opposed to it. He spoke for 20 minutes, and made every second count. He used no notes, but forged ahead so confidently, and made his points so clearly, that he seemed to be reading from a teleprompter located behind his eyes. "I want to come back to that sixth point in a moment," he would say -- and by God, five minutes later he would come back, would find his place again, and would nail the point with astonishing precision. He had been thinking of these issues for four decades and had absorbed them into the core of his being. We were overhearing an internal conversation that stretched back to the middle of the 1950s.
In that room there were people who had long since grown tired of his cool rhetoric and in fact had privately decided that his smugness was insufferable. But at the end of this performance we knew we had been privileged to watch a great virtuoso of argument at the top of his artful, beguiling form.


Executive Branch Member
Mar 16, 2005
kelowna bc
What we were when we were young is not what we are when we get older. I would say that many
who were super left, may still lean that way but by and large the person has become much more
fiscally conservative. Several people I know on the political right are still largely right of center but
they are more understanding and not nearly as conservative as the were. It is because they have
life experiences that demonstrate life is not always what it is.
As for pictures shaking hands with all kinds of leaders, that goes with the job, you meet international
leaders as our Prime Minister, you have to keep diplomacy a part of international relations. Perhaps
he did admire some of these people, but how do you know what is in another mans heart in these
instances. As for the October crisis, I agree with what he did. There are many other Canadians who
also agree. I never voted for him, and I didn't belong to that party. He did some things that really
angered me as well, but this is in my opinion a distorted view to some degree. Trudeau divided the
nation, true, he approached the energy field in the wrong way true, but some things he did were good.
When we look back on most Prime Ministers, there are pros and cons and history becomes its own
judge. The other thing about Canadians, is that we can pick on who ever we like, but let someone
else do that and we get right pissed off.


Electoral Member
May 20, 2010
Trudeau could have been a committed seperatist and was functioning as a fifth column within the liberal party. With the intent, by being a real life troll and declaring martial law and running amuck, he was probably trying to force a civil war or breakup.

Though it was more likely he was just a dumb, evil man with a smug on a face, who associated with Marxists.

Dexter Sinister

Unspecified Specialist
Oct 1, 2004
Regina, SK
Trudeau could have been a committed seperatist and was functioning as a fifth column within the liberal party. With the intent, by being a real life troll and declaring martial law and running amuck, he was probably trying to force a civil war or breakup.

Though it was more likely he was just a dumb, evil man with a smug on a face, who associated with Marxists.
No, he was pretty bright, and a committed federalist, and an idealist, and an intellectual. But he was horrible at economics and practicality, and arrogant, and never understood anything about Canada outside of the Toronto-Quebec City axis, which unfortunately is where most of the votes are. A poor combination in a PM. He associated with Marxists (well not really, the old USSR and Cuba and China aren't really Marxist) because he believed, correctly I think, that dialog is better than confrontation on that stage and it's useless to pretend such people are incomprehensible evil aliens, as the Cold War rhetoric seemed to suggest. Personally I think he befriended Castro because he believed the U.S. treatment of Cuba was unconscionable, and I think he was right about that. I also think he was right to change the laws about divorce and homosexuality, and about bringing the constitution home, and establishing a charter of rights, and the folly of Quebec separatism. But as an economist, a manager, a pragmatist, he sucked out loud.


Standing Member
Nov 19, 2008
Nakusp, BC
He certainly was not a separatist. Martial law was about scaring the separatists back into line, that he would not tolerate their nonsense anymore. It was a threat and it backfired when Rene got elected. He was a diplomat but not a politician. He was out of touch with the middle and lower classes, an idealist with a silver spoon. I liked him, none the less, especially when he gave Nixon the finger (metaphorically speaking).


Executive Branch Member
Mar 16, 2005
kelowna bc
It should also be pointed out that there has always been a special relationship between Canada and
China. Doctor Norman Bethune, was a national hero in that country and is still revered today in China.
Canada, whether Liberal or Conservative, both parties have always worked with the Chinese leadership
as trade is a powerful tool for all concerned.
Trudeau was a lot of things but he wasn't stupid and he was not a separatist.