In one very important way Justin Trudeau is nothing like his father.
Whereas Pierre Trudeau confronted and decisively defeated a terrorist movement, Justin seems quite prepared to let another flourish and offer a dangerous example to a precarious world.
While the dead and wounded were still being counted in Paris, Trudeau the younger was posing for selfies at a G20 conference. Elsewhere at that same conference the British prime minister and the American president were plotting -- so it is hoped -- to finally destroy ISIS.
We have a elected a man-child to lead us. This is the consequence.
While the West is confronted by the gravest challenge it has faced since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the leader of a G7 nation engages in literal solipsism. Nero is supposed to have played the lyre as Rome burned. Perhaps Justin will be performing parlour tricks when terrorism again reaches Canadian shores.
That the leader of Canada is a not a serious man has been shown quite clearly by his record. He seems to function at the level of a moderately bright adolescent, complete with offering sophomoric explanations of the problems of the day: Blithely dismissing the Russian conquest of Crimea and making a puerile comparison of our air force to phallic symbols. This is what immature people sound like when try to be clever.
Canada is a bubble nation. We have so long been at peace, so long been rich and free, that much of the world beyond our borders is akin to another planet. The working assumption of the Canadian Left -- Justin very much included -- is that Islamist terrorism is the product of some grave misunderstanding. If only we were to constructively engage with those who oppose us peace would be at hand. All we need is a chance for dialogue and our graduate school acquired "conflict resolution skills" would restore humanity and decency.
This is among the gravest misconceptions of our age.
Trudeau the Elder considered both the FLQ and the PQ threats to Canada's survival. Yet his response to each was radically different. Terrorism was beyond the bounds of legitimate democratic discourse. Force must be met with force. He explained this with great care in his speech justifying the invocation of the War Measures Act. It shows a statesman -- however deeply flawed in other areas of public policy - fighting to sustain a democratic government against violent usurpation. The speech is also a stark and sobering contrast to his son's juvenile pronouncements.
Yet PET took a very different approach in dealing with democratic separatism.
The PQ -- however obnoxious and cynical -- was a legitimate democratic force. When the Pequistes formed their first majority government in 1976 the response from Ottawa was to argue, cajole and bribe. The usual instruments of a democratic state. It would have been thought absurd and utterly unCanadian to have dispatched federal troops to arrest Rene Levesque and his cadre of petty ethnic nationalists.
Pierre Trudeau could only occasionally distinguish between bad and outright evil. He could crush the FLQ and then saunter off to Cuba to play sing-along with a mass murdering tyrant. Though at least at that point in history Fidel Castro was hardly a threat to world peace. Trudeau's 1976 trip was a morally repugnant though not a dangerous act.
Islamist fanatics are very much a threat to the peace of France, Canada and the world. In his first test as an international leader Justin has shown a dangerous inability to differentiate between bad and evil. Since Canada is a smaller player in a big world that might not matter very much in the short-term. Yet sooner or later this evil will come to Canada and the man charged with our defence has shown himself to be pathetically inadequate to the challenge.
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