Pierre Trudeau - Not A Eulogy
By Charles W. Moore
It is cliched but true to say that I respected Pierre Trudeau for his
intellect - he was almost certainly the most intelligent Prime Minister
Canada has ever produced - but I did not admire him. Trudeau was an exemplar
of the fact that intelligence and wisdom are distinct and sometimes
I detested Trudeau the politician from the time he first registered on my
consciousness in the mid-'60s, and nothing he subsequently did ever altered
my assessment. Consequently, while I join other Canadians in extending my
sympathy to the Trudeau family for their loss, I cannot join in eulogizing
his dubious accomplishments or his alleged greatness.
Pierre Trudeau's legacy as Prime Minister for all of 16 years save for Joe
Clark's brief interregnum in 1979-1980 is, in my estimation, a horror, and I
would rank him as easily the most disastrous and destructive leader Canada
has ever head.
When Trudeau finally stepped down after his 1984 "walk in the snow," he left
in his wake an alienated West, much of Quebec likewise, and Canada's economy
(which by broad consensus he never took much interest in) in a shambles,
with a national debt that had risen from 18 billion in 1968 to a crushing
206 billion in 1984, with a pattern of catastrophic deficits established
whose momentum only began to be checked 15 years after he left office.
Trudeau's watch was also signalized by chronic high inflation, and interest
rates that rose to over 20% in the early '80s.
Canada's moral fabric was left hanging in tatters as well, in no small
measure due to both the tone and substance of Trudeau leftist, secularist,
ideological agenda which attacked and eroded the country's erstwhile
perception of itself as a Christian nation.
Likewise, English-speaking Canada's real and legitimate heritage as British
North America had been essentially disowned and purged by the Trudeau
Liberals, leaving in its stead a contrived and banefully shallow nationalism
themed on the misbegotten notions of programmatic multiculturalism,
political correctness, and knee-jerk anti-Americanism.
As for Pierre Trudeau's supposed "crowning achievement" of repatriating the
Constitution and embellishing it with the Charter of Rights (still unsigned
by Quebec), that was probably his most enduring act of legislative
vandalism, tossing aside the supremacy of an elected and democratically
accountable Parliament, to be replaced by what amounts to in practical terms
governance by unelected and democratically unaccountable judges.
Trudeau was of course not entirely personally responsible for these
developments and distempers, but it is fair, I believe, to say that he
enthusiastically advocated and approved the policies that engendered them,
and aside from his government's pathetic economic record (which he would no
doubt dismiss with a patented shrug of his shoulders as an issue of little
consequence), I expect he would be happy to take his share of credit for all
Pierre Trudeau was essentially not a liberal, but a socialist. His leftist
sympathies were manifest in is penchant for chumming it get up with
communist dictators like Fidel Castro and the Red Chinese Politburo - mass
murderers all - far beyond what was required by diplomacy.
Having detested and reviled socialism for all of my politically-conscious
life, it is not surprising that I never warmed to Pierre Trudeau as a
politician, but his personal style rubbed me the wrong way as well; his
colossal ego and arrogance, his serial affairs, his 1971 marriage at age 51
to a 22 year-old trophy wife, and his fathering of a publicly unacknowledged
daughter out-of-wedlock at age 71.
Nevertheless, were I given a choice of any Canadian Prime Minister to spend
six months marooned on a desert island with, I would pick Trudeau without a
second thought, for the conversation potential if nothing else. I expect he
would be more useful when it came to getting a campfire going than most of
the others as well. But as Prime Minister he was a one-man wrecking crew.