‘Father’ Pierre Didn’t Always Know Best

‘Father’ Pierre didn’t always know best

We remember him now through rose-coloured glasses

Toronto Sun
October 1, 2000
So have we all forgotten how much we hated him?
Not at the beginning, when we adored him, and not at the end, when we revered him and time had mellowed us all.
I mean at the end of Pierre Trudeau’s political career, first in 1979, and then, since he always fooled us, again in 1984, by which time we reviled the man for his arrogance.
Indeed, the ongoing deification of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, now that he’s gone, is so typically, predictably, boringly, insecurely Canadian. The same sort of insecurity we saw, oddly enough, in so much of the Olympics coverage of the past two weeks.
That is, when scribes who don’t lose a moment’s sleep over a 23-1 Blue Jays’ blowout that has just finished off the playoff chances of a bunch of foreign millionaires who summer here, start babbling from Sydney how they feel personally humiliated because some Canadian athlete whose name they barely know didn’t medal in an obscure sport they only cover once every four years.
Now that’s insecurity.  The sort of insecurity that ties a person’s, and a nation’s, sense of self worth to a medal count.
Russia and China did wonderfully at these games if you go by medal haul. Perhaps our media would be proud living there.
And given that the sure way to Olympic “success” these days is to: a) rip young children pre-selected for their athletic prowess away from their families at an early age and send them off to training camps for most of their young lives; and/or b) pump them full of drugs so they can “go for the gold,” is this what we want in Canada? What’s wrong with just admiring what our athletes do, whatever they do, as long as they do it clean?
And yet every Olympics we go through the same public agony and national self-flagellation over the medal count.
That’s being insecure! And so is the national nostalgia underway in an attempt to deify Trudeau, to portray him as a national father figure who loved us all best, and whom we all loved. For pity’s sake, let’s not insult the man this way.
Let’s at least look back on him as he was. Admire him for being a good, loving father to his three fine sons, yes. But to the whole of Canada? Some dad!