Pierre Trudeau died 10 years ago this week, so of course the tributes and legacy analyses have been coming thick and fast. Among my favourites was offered up by Chantel Hebert, one of the few people worth reading at the Toronto Star.
Well, I have one, too. But unlike most commentators, I come to bury Trudeau (or at least make sure he’s still buried), not to praise him.
While he certainly had a profound impact on Canada, it was mostly destructive. Even the few positive changes he made might be called inevitable; they were the type of changes that were coming to every western society by dint of cultural evolution anyway.
Trudeau was by and large a social engineer convinced of his own intellectual superiority and the cloddish unimaginativeness of nearly everyone else. Not only was he arrogant enough to believe that the natural laws of society and economics can be ignored by determined central planners without consequences, he was also arrogant enough to imagine the light had been given to him more than anyone else, so that he alone possessed the superior knowledge required to see what needed doing and everyone else should defer to him.