It could be that history is repeating itself -- or at least rhyming. Susan Delacourt writes:
Forty years before Justin Trudeau has been forced to contend with Trump and Johnson, there was Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher — also transformative conservative politicians — and another Trudeau serving as Canadian prime minister.
Pierre Trudeau, like his son today, didn’t have much in common with the leaders chosen to head Britain and the United States, or with the brand of conservative politics that swept Reagan and Thatcher to office at the dawn of the 1980s.
There are differences, as Tom Axworthy -- who was a key advisor to Trudeau the Elder -- points out:
Axworthy is cautious about seeing today’s U.S. and U.K. leaders as direct descendants of their 1980s counterparts. “Thatcher was extremely intelligent and articulate and Reagan was the greatest communicator I ever met in politics.”
But the parallels are unmistakable:
Pierre Trudeau clashed often with Reagan and Thatcher at international meetings — perhaps not as explosively as the Trump-Trudeau spat that burst into the open last year, but it was a constant tension in the early 1980s. Then, as now, when it came to global summitry, Canada found more congenial, progressive alliances with the leaders of Germany and France.
And with the U.S. and Britain acting as international conservative hawks in the 1980s, Pierre Trudeau spent some of his final term in office on an international peace crusade, after he’d finished patriating the Constitution and bringing a Charter of Rights to Canada.
By 1984, though, Trudeau, his peace crusade and much of his liberal resistance were swept aside. Canadians had gone from scoffing at Reagan and Thatcher to electing a prime minister who would be cosy with them — Brian Mulroney.
Who can say how it will all work out? But there's almost something Shakespearean about the irony.
Image: The Toronto Star