Trudeau: The Politics of My Way


Unlike the United States, with its generalissimo politics-Washington,
Jackson, Grant, Eisehower- the martial arts have been conspicuously absent from
Canadian politics. But there in one exception: in 1968 Pierre Elliot Trudeau
became the first Canadian leader to bring the gunslinger-Lone Ranger ethos to
Canadian politics.
Trudeau introduced to Canada the refined art of single combat; it was the
politics of "Doing It My Way"-the politics of going my way or being left behind.
Single-combat confrontation implied much mor than the loner or renegade in power,
and far far less than the shaman black tricks of Mackenzie King. Trudeau was
always far more the solo Philosopher King engaged in intellectual trial by
combat than the Magus Merlin conjuring up solutions by puffs of smoke, sleight
of hand or divine intervention. Ouijaboard politics was the occult domain of
Mackenzie King, a man virtually devoid of policy, a political palm reader
forever checking the whims and moods of his powerful baronial-Ralston Howe, St.
Laurent-and sometimes Byronian colleagues to see how best he could placate them,
or calm them, or Heap his beatitudes upon them.
Trudeau, from day one , was always more samurai than shaman. Even in his
pre-leadership days, Trudeau\'s love of trial by combat was predominant.
Mackenzie King would have never touched the unholy trinity of divorce, abortion
and homosexuality: each one of these issues is a sleeping dog best left to lie;
each could only infuriate conservative Canada from coast to coast. Since King
dared not touch them seriatim he certainly would not have touched them together-
in an omnibus bill.
This, Trudeau did joyously. The myths-makers have it at this was
Trudeau\'s first deliberated joust, the kingship being the final prize. But
Trudeau had no leadership aspirations at the time; all that he had, still has,
was the love of combat for the sake of combat and religious scruples be damned.
Trudeau the Catholic zealot tackle divorce, abortion and homosexuality active
Prime Minister in this country\'s history, liberated the homosexual practitioners
of black acts totally abhorrent to him; ironically, in the process, Trudeau gave
irrational Canada a pretext for branding him a homosexual too.
P.E.T. has always hated the consensus building of Mackenzie King; even the
populist following of a Diefenbaker was an anathema to Trudeau. The single-
combat warrior "doing it my way" is always alone; he leads the people but is not
of them; like the prophet he wanders either in dessert or lush green pastures
and often, like the prophet, he watches his people march into the Promised Land
without him. For Trudeau, being alone is to be free; victory is a consequence
of solitude; companionship an act of weakness, cronyism even wise.
It is ironic that Trudeau, a devout Jansenist Roman Catholic, emotionally
and philosophically opposed to both divorce and abortion, should grant Canadians
greatly expanded divorce rights and their first right to legale abortion.
Trudeau took the unholy trinity then disturbing the bedrooms of the nation
because all three were trial combat, all three required one strong man to push
them through. In this minefield Canada\'s political loner had walked alone and
apparently loved it.
Canada\'s other solo flyer, John Diefenbaker, may or may not have been a
renegade in power, but the input his holitics received from Senate cronies and
Kitchen cabinets was enormous. The letters and advice that daily poured in to
the chief were a populist input that Diefenbaker slavishly adhered to. Trudeau
was no Diefenbaker; he was neither a populist nor a renegade. Trudeau was
simply a man who brilliantly massaged and manipulated others so that his single
will appeared to be the will of many, so that his will be always done.
The theme of my-way politics sheds much light on the vrai Trudeau, the
Trudeau that is, rather than the Trudeau people think there is. Trudeau has
never been the privacy-demanding recluse, the reluctant leader that herdsmen of
Canadian journalism insist he is.
In secular life Trudeau is no trinitarian; he has chosen his oneness
because, from the earliest politics, oneness worked for him so spectacular.
Trudeau\'s personal handling of the constriction crisis was a "my way" all the
way. Trudeau, the self-proclaimed socialist prophet of his people, waxed ever
so eloquently against the sins of conscription, and yet Trudeau seemingly could
not see in War measures that potential greater evil of a Canadian fascism that
surly meant permanent conscription and enslavement of all. Equally puzzling is
the referral of Trudeau\'s nationalist compatriots and colleagues in the years
since to give him any credit for fighting in 1942 a good