I had to wait a few days before writing on the election of Justin Trudeau as our new Prime-Minister-in-waiting, not least for the emotion of disappointment to dissipate somewhat, and a sense of objectivity to set in. To be honest, I expected the result. Harper’s heart (which sounds like a Harlequin romance) was not in the election. I can only imagine that ten years as the leader of Canada is enough for anyone, and the loss allowed him to bow out gracefully.
Now we have elected a man-boy, the scion of one of the great dismantlers of what was once Canada, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, whom Canadians elected as a bachelor socialist and free-wheeling socialite in the heady days of 1968. Pierre married the young beautiful Margaret Sinclair, thirty years his junior, in 1971, the daughter of one of his MP’s. She bore three sons to him, before they divorced in 1977 (he had a daughter in an extra (post?) marital affair with Deborah Coyne in 1994). Margaret Trudeau went on to her own rather bizarre journey through the disco scene of the 70’s. Custody of the three boys went to Pierre, for better or worse.
It was these fractious conditions that produced Justin, who embodies, for me, everything wrong with Canada: Lightly educated in an ersatz environment in the modern university, a ‘drama’ teacher, tattooed, admitted pot-smoker (while sitting as an MP), with an amoral value system, steeped in tolerance for all things except an objective moral code, fervently pro-choice and pro-homosexual, multicultural, acquiescent, a born politician with his nose to the wind of modern opinion.
Saint Augustine once quipped that Catholics get the bishops they deserve, and we can extend this to the secular realm that we get the leaders we deserve. Trudeau Jr. is indeed a reflection of Canada itself, and the people have projected their own values and hopes upon him. He presents a superficially optimistic picture, with his photogenic self, wife and children, and his own skin-deep sense of optimism, evinced in his victory speech evoking the ‘sunny days ‘, of all people , Wilfred Laurier. Like the constant revivifying of 80’s music, history has a way of revivifying itself, and it seems the heady optimism of Trudeauopia is upon us again. Canada’s first dynasty, one might almost say monarchy. The crown prince, the dauhpin, has received what he sees as his rightful due. When asked on a plane journey early in the election, someone asked him via note whether he could beat Harper. Echoing his arrogant father’s response to how far he would go with military force in response to the Quebec crisis, Justin scribbled back ‘Just watch me’. That note just sold for $12,000.
But, as others have written, reality has a way of asserting itself. His promises, economic and otherwise, will be impossible to keep, at least with any sense of fiscal sanity. His promise of billions hither and yon, on infrastructure and battling the figmented unicorn of ‘climate change’, will, sooner or later, have to be scaled back. Our country is already technically bankrupt, and to add to the debt burden will only signal imminent collapse.
Then again, perhaps Justin can ‘grow the economy’ from his heart outwards…If he had prepared for the task for which he has striven as he should, he would have read Pope Leo XIII’s landmarks social encyclical Rerum Novarum, that the wealth of nations increases ‘from the labour of working men’, from those who, through their own blood, sweat and tears, produce actual things that can be bought and sold. Countries are not built on emotive slogans, nor on borrowing billions to build ‘infrastructure’, nor on taxing the ‘wealthy’ to rebuild the ‘middle class’. His lack of education and intellectual clarity shows through in just about everything our new crown prince says.
His moral policies are more dark: His limited and secular education have led Trudeau to consider human life negotiable. In his liberal-esque dogmatism, he has already declared that anyone with any pro-life sympathies is not welcome in ‘his’ party. We will soon have euthanasia on demand, and, of course, the free-for-all abortion status quo will continue, but perhaps now physicians who try to maintain a clear conscience will be forced to refer for abortions and that great euphemism of assisted-suicide, which is really murder-by-physician. So much for Catholics (and others who share their moral principles) in politics or medicine.
I wonder what our bishops will do? Is Trudeau formally complicit in the murder of the unborn, and hence due at the very least for latae sententiae excommunication? Some have argued this, but I am not sure that point has been reached yet. He has not transformed himself into Henry VIII (not least, unlike Henry and Catherine, Justin and Sophie still seem to be in some stage of marital bliss), but the day may yet come when the ‘dreamy and doe eyed’ young Prime Minister transforms himself into such a tyrant, who, in history, have often portrayed themselves as doing what is necessary for their nation. Time will tell.
In the meantime, I have some degree of hope, for both he and his wife are baptized Catholics who, on appearance and admission, practise their faith. I am not sure in what state of conscience, but God’s grace and mercy, as well as our prayers, can do wonders.
So, following the advice of the first Pope, Saint Peter, let us pray for those in office and authority, and the new leader of this nation, so that God’s kingdom, in some degree, may be manifested for the world to see.
A final note: Today as I write, October 22nd, is the feast of Pope Saint John Paul II, whose name I share. I always loved the custom of celebrating one’s name day, as the same Pontiff always did, on the feast of Saint Charles Borromeo (November 4th… JP II’s name, of course, was Karol, or Charles). May the great saintly pontiff pray for us, and for our newly elected leaders. And may his words, in some way and somehow, guide them.