27 Dec How does PM reconcile his peace claims?
OTTAWA — If Prime Minister Trudeau were consistent, which he certainly is not, he would have been camping o<ut in front of the Parliament Buildings with the anti-war protesters, instead of permitting his police to herd the demonstrators oft the front lawn of all the people.
Mr. Trudeau boasts of being a pragmatist, which means he takes them as they come, and plays them as he sees them.
When John Lennon and Yoko Ono came to cal! on Tuesday, the PM gave them the green light and 50 minutes of his time, which is more than he has given to most visiting heads of state or ministers of foreign cabinets.
The message brought bv John and_Xfik£Uwas peace, and since that happens to be Mr. Trudeau’s bag too, they made sweet music together and the tidings and photographs of this encounter flowed across the land and around the world, doing Mr. rudeau’s peace image no end of good in certain circles. It didn’t hurt his youth image anv. either.
So. okay. But how do you reconcile the Lennon caper with heaving the peace marchers off the hill on Christmas Eve?
Their mission was (he same as Lennon’s, except that they didn’t demand any of Mr. Trudeau’s time. He was off to Mexico to go skin diving, and all the marchers wanted was a bit of tent space in the snow, a prospect that might have fanwheven such determined demonstrators as John and Yoko. In his earlier days, Mr. Trudeau was a determined tenter, but he has little time for such things now that he’s a full-fledged member of the jet set, flying the people’s jet.
, Consistency, as we noted at the outset, has not been a mark of the Trudeau administration.
Just when the young people had him figured for a radical he would do something conservative — so much so that the John-Yoko caper was obviously designed to recover lost ground among the luz/y-faces.
And just when it appeared that he would emphasize the imaginative side of government, he would cut back on projects involving the urban action centres, or the more exciting aspects of education or research. Who ever would have figured him as a leader who would usher us into the ’70s with a message of austerity and playing it safe?
Doesn’t give a damn about anybody
The trouble with Trudeau is not so much that he seeks to please everybody, as that he doesn’t seem to give a damn for anybody.
He has firm ideas about what is right and what is wrong, but he seems not to care about attuning these ideas to the feelings of large segments of the Canadian people. He has abundant courage, based not upon emotion so much as a kind of cold logic that he applies to emolionai problems.
His attitude on the monarchy is as much a case in point as his involvement with John and Yoko.
The monarchy is not a subject that stands up to the kind of chilly scrutiny that Mr. Trudeau brings to it. The great religions of the worid w’ould not stand up to that kind of scrutiny, either, demanding as they do a measure of belief from their adherents, be they Roman Catholics. Jews. Hindus, Mohammedans, or Mao-style Communists.
in his press conierence this week, Mr. Trudeau said it isn’t the time just now to abolish the monarchy in Canada, hut added he didn’t know whether the time would come later- in the ’70s.
Coming from the man who is the Queen’s practical Canadian adviser, that isn’t much of a statement, especially since he went on to weigh the relative merits of the monarchy and a presidential system, and said there would be a great deal of change coming because of the new values of the younger generation.
There arc some, and I am among them, who would argue that it is paif of Mr. Trudeau’s job to tell the younger generation about the values of the monarchial system, especially ~ since nobody else in authority seems willing to put that case forward.
After allv it he was willing to put his seal of approval on John and Yoko Lennon, would it be so wrong for him to do tl)e >amc for the institution he is sworn to serve?
But instead, he comes out with mealy mouthed statements implying that while he isn’t prepared to do away with the Crown just yet, the time is not far distant when it should go. Though he doubts that he will be prime minister when the boom is lowered.
What ail this indicates, I suppose, is that we do not know this complex man any better today than we did when he became prime minister. Nobody knew him very well then, and nobody knows him very well now.