One need not search far in the global media for commentary on the remarkable success Canada is enjoying amid a world of economic turmoil, political crisis, and cultural confrontation.
The Washington Post, seeking to understand “What Canada is About,” sees our welcome of 25,000 Syrian refugees (30,000 by the end of 2016) as evidence of a country pulling together to meet a new challenge:
“Businesses, the Canadian Labor Congress, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, small towns and large cities are all contributing clothing, furniture and financial support to help settle Canada’s most recent influx of refugees.”
The London Telegraph, commenting on the unprecedented openness and people mingling ability of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, offered an answer to those who criticize his penchant for selfies in this quote from political observer Amanda Alvaro:
“I think the team that surrounds the Trudeau government has really understood strategically that if you have a willing leader who is prepared to walk in Pride and take photos with people and be accessible, then you would use that to your advantage to get people to participate in the political process.”
While the United Kingdom totters toward separation (losing Scotland) and isolation (abandoning the EU) and the United States faces a presidential choice between an artful manipulator and an unadulterated ignoramus, Canada rejoices that it is led by a young, vigorous, progressive Prime Minister.
Nor are Canadian journalists shy about recognizing the euphoria that seems to have settled on the “peaceable kingdom.”
Margaret Wente of the Globe and Mail, generally no friend to liberals and progressives, wrote last week that “Canada is that increasingly rare exception — a country in which public support for immigration is strong.”
She quoted Prime Minister Trudeau at his meeting with the “Three Amigos,” (he, Barack Obama and the president of Mexico):
“No matter where you are from, nor the faith you possess, nor the colour of your skin, nor whom you love, you belong here. This is your home.”
Not that all is perfect in Canadaland. Not all immigrants are succeeding, and the country is about evenly split on whether Canada’s current policies are taking it in the “right” direction.
So bring on the books. There’s been a half dozen published on Justin Trudeau, not counting his campaign autobiography, Common Ground.
The newest, Justin Trudeau: Natural Heir, will be out in English from Dundurn on July 23. Huguette Young, the well-known Quebecoise journalist, wrote this in French and it’s been translated by George Tombs.
Huguette’s book is good workmanlike reportage that takes one through the well-known early life of the son of Pierre Elliot Trudeau, and comes to a sudden stop on election day, October 15, 2015.
Like most books written on the run, The Natural Heir does not contain a lot of analysis. We learn that when he gave his noted eulogy at his father’s funeral in 2000, “He seemed younger than his 28 years.”
We get a recounting of his educational progress through Collège Brébeuf, McGill University, and the University of B.C. When he decided to enter politics, he chose the tough east end Montreal riding of Papineau, then held by a Bloc MP, because if he could understand Papineau “it would be like understanding Canada as a whole.”
From there, the outcome seems inevitable. First came attempts by the Conservatives to denigrate him as a lightweight. They failed. In the debates, Young writes, “Justin Trudeau comes across as the embodiment of change. With the good looks, optimistic tone, dynamism and passion he seemed quite the reverse of Stephen Harper, who appeared wooden, serious, and controlling.”
“You can’t buy charisma,” Young tells us. “Justin Trudeau remained a blank slate.” “Trudeau played his cards well.”
For the general reader who doesn’t follow politics closely, this is an excellent primer on Canada’s new Prime Minister. Readers seeking a more analytical appraisal of Justin Trudeau’s attempt at feminist, progressive, and generally leftist policies will have to await another day.