If there's anything members of the Liberal party can be said to almost universally love, it's Pierre Trudeau.
One could be forgiven for being unsurprised, then, to learn that Mario Silva, the Liberal MP for Davenport, has tabled a private member's bill that would recognize every October 18th, the anniversary of Pierre Trudeau's birthday, as "Pierre Trudeau day".
"Trudeau was a symbol of Canada at its best and as Prime Minister he moved Canada forward into later part of the 20th century with vigor, innovation and daring," Silva insists.
Yet, while Silva notes that Trudeau's accomplishments include "the patriation of Canada’s Constitution, the introduction of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, enshrining both our nation's official languages in law and establishing multiculturalism as an official policy of the Government of Canada," his portrayal of Trudeau falls a little flat once one considers the broader facts of the matter.
Trudeau's Constitution, patriated without Quebec's support, has left the door open to an eventual secession of Quebec from Confederation. His Charter of Rights and Freedoms can be ignored by any provincial government by envoking a clause within the Charter itself. (Ironically, more legislation has been passed "notwithstanding the Charter of Rights and Freedoms" than was notwithstanding John Diefenbaker's Bill of Rights.) While enshrining French and English as official languages sounds good in Quebec, the enshrinement of these two languages has actually come at the expense of Canada's many other linguist groups -- the Constitution defines Canada as bilingual, when in fact Canada is multilingual. Of Trudeau's accomplishments, perhaps official multiculturalism (as contentious as it may often be) and his omnibus bill stand alone as largely unassailable.
Yet when one consider's Silva's list of Trudeau's accomplishments (Silva didn't list the state-has-no-place-in-the-bedrooms-of-the-nation omnibus bill), as flawed as they are, constitute the near entirety of Trudeau's accomplishments.
For a man who spent nearly 18 years in power, that's a very short list.
So, we may ask, what of Trudeau's other promises? What about his so-called "just society"? He merely noted that Jesus had promised it first (though, at the time of the asking, was not alive to answer for it, while Trudeau certainly was). What about his "participatory democracy"? One had better have bought a Liberal party membership if they wanted to benefit from that. What about his "war on deflation"? That was a bit of a disaster.
The Liberal party love of Pierre Trudeau aside, this really is little more than an attempt by mr Silva (at least) to further the myth of Pierre Trudeau that has reigned in Canada for decades, and especially since his passing.
It isn't as if there aren't other Canadian Prime Ministers whose accomplishments eclipse Trudeau's and deserve the recognition much more.
Trudeau's predecessor, Lester Pearson, won the Nobel Peace Prize, one of the highest honours western society at large affords to anyone.
Sir John A MacDonald served as Canada's very first Prime Minister, having founded the country. Surely he deserves a holiday more than Trudeau.
William Lyon MacKenzie King, despite all of his bizarre occult antics, led Canada through one of the darkest chapters of history, the Second World War. As for Trudeau? He oppposed that war.
Whereas Trudeau can count among his accomplishments a happy shiny vision of Canada and a law that allows Canadians to hump blissfully as they may. While these are both laudable contributiosn (although only one of them offering any practical benefit), they aren't enough to justify either the Trudeau myth, or a holiday that would entrench it.
Fortunately, the "Trudeau day" private member's bill will almost certainly suffer the same fate as the attempt to rename Logan's Peak after Trudeau.