""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)
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 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!