Thursday, June 7, 2018

Trudeau’s Marxist Romanticism

Trudeau’s Marxist Romanticism

Image result for Trudeau’s Marxist Romanticism
Image result for Trudeau’s Marxist Romanticism

Taming the separatist movement in Québec, repatriating the constitution, legalizing homosexuality and abortion  – Pierre Elliott Trudeau seems to have moved mountains during his eight year term as Canada’s 15th Prime Minister. Trudeau was always a fierce proponent of social engineering and change, once heard to remark in his early days as Minister of Justice: “The problem lies partly…with the mentality of the Canadian people. I think that people must be made to realize more that the Department is one of the main planning departments of government, it’s really planning the society in which we will be living tomorrow”.[1] Looking back, one wonders what sort of planning Trudeau had in mind.
Trudeau had quite the fetish for Marxist regimes and was a frequent apologist for the USSR. After a 1971 visit to Moscow, Trudeau declared “We have a great deal to learn from the Soviet Union . . . a country from which we have a great deal to benefit”.[2]  After Trudeau praised Soviet development of Siberia, political prisoner Vladimir Bukovsky denounced the statement as an insult and ignorant of the forced labour used in Siberia where millions of Russians perished.[3] In 1983, Mr. Trudeau also argued with some passion in Parliament that he simply “couldn’t believe” the Soviets would knowingly destroy a commercial airliner. This was after the Kremlin finally admitted knowing that Korean Air Flight 007, which they had shot down, was a passenger plane.[4]
While Canada did beat the United States to rapprochement with the People’s Republic of China, Trudeau was looking for more than just strategic trade relations with the sleeping dragon. Trudeau was known to defend Mao’s policies in the Canadian Parliament in 1973, oblivious to Mao’s Cultural Revolution.
Sinologist Bruce Gilley writes: “Trudeau harboured a deeply illiberal admiration for Mao’s China… [In Two Innocents in Red China, he] described a fantasyland where prisons were lined with “fine fragrant trees” and where “the Chinese are recovering their human dignity.”[5] As he toured China amid the Great Leap Forward, Trudeau was blind to the bloodshed and state suppression occurring in the country, as the Maoists took care to keep foreigners in the dark about the darker transformations happening in the country. Trudeau continued to believe that stating that Mao had delivered a “wonderful system to his people”.[6]
Or who could forget Trudeau’s visit with Cuban leader Fidel Castro in 1973? At the end of the visit, Mr. Trudeau felt moved to shout “Viva Castro!” Returning to Canada, he defended his gesture by saying it was just a customary greeting in Cuba, a bit like “good morning” in Canada[7]. Trudeau was also “once overheard by reporters remarking to Fidel Castro how much quicker and easier it would be to run things the Cuban way”[8].  Oops!
Trudeau’s romanticism with Mao and Marx doesn’t come as a big surprise when reflecting on his own social policies. A man who tried to impose bilingualism, enacted a quasi-state of martial law in Montréal, and dreamt of a Canadian society permeated by “Labour Party socialism – or Cuban socialism or Chinese socialism – socialism from each according to his means”[9] is hardly expected to ignore lessons from his praiseworthy comrades in the East.
Historian Jack Granatstein has noted that Trudeau’s demeanor as a young man was always “typically French Canadian in his attitude to the military, to NATO, and to the Cold War” – one moment telling everyone he was a Communist and the next, getting arrested for throwing a snowball at Stalin.[10] Trudeau would have been better described as a member of the Rhinoceros Party of Canada, but the Liberal Party offered him a better seat in the House.
Trickster or Communist, Canadians want their $128 billion back. Keep the change.

[1] CBC News. (1967). The Many Lives of Pierre Trudeau. Newsmagazine hosted by Norman Depoe. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/archives/categories/politics/prime-ministers/pierre-elliott-trudeau-philosopher-and-prime-minister/the-many-lives-of-pierre-trudeau.html
[2] Gairdner, William. (2010). The Trouble With Canada…Still! Toronto: Key Porter Books, pp.39-40.
[3] The Montreal Gazette. (1977, May 7). Dissident Insulted by PM’s Comment. Retrieved from http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1946&dat=19770507&id=9p9jAAAAIBAJ&sjid=caEFAAAAIBAJ&pg=6620,1196185
[4] Jonas, George. (2000, October 16). “The evil men do lives after them”. National Post. A14.
[5] Gilley, Bruce. (2008). Reawakening Canada’s China Policy. Canadian Foreign Policy Journal, 14(2), 121-130.
[6] Granatstein, Jack. (2011). Gouzenko to Gorbachev: Canada’s Cold War. Canadian Military Journal, 12(1), 41-53.
[7] Jonas, 2000
[8] Byfield, Link. (2000, September 30). Pierre Elliott Trudeau: 1919-2000. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved from http://v1.theglobeandmail.com/series/trudeau/lbyfieldwhywest_sep30.html
[9] Gairdner, 2010, 39
[10] Kurlansky, Mark. (2003). 1968: The Year that Rocked the World. New York: Ballantine Books, p.352.