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Pompous Egghead.
December 8, 2008 7:33 PM   Subscribe

Snippets of a taped conversation between Pierre Elliott Trudeau and Richard Nixon.
posted by gman (23 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Double.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:53 PM on December 8, 2008


Canadians love their pompous egghead and cannot get enough of him (even if he did invoke the War Measures Act, order tanks into Montreal and seriously, seriously, seriously piss off the Québécois) - this is like a previously unreleased Beatles recording for canuckophiles.
posted by CynicalKnight at 7:54 PM on December 8, 2008


even if he did invoke the War Measures Act, order tanks into Montreal...

... at the request of Bourassa and Drapeau. And with pretty popular support at the time, judging by this:

"In a December 1970 Gallup Poll, it was noted that 89% of English Canadians supported the introduction of the War Measures Act, and 86% of French Canada supported its introduction. They respectively had 6% and 9% disapproving, the difference being undecided.[11]"
posted by CKmtl at 8:13 PM on December 8, 2008


PET is disliked in Western Canada because of NEP, stagflation and general inept and indifferent management of the economy, the Trudeau salute, bilingualism, PetroCan, and, of course, NEP. Did I mention NEP?
posted by KokuRyu at 8:17 PM on December 8, 2008


Canadians love their pompous egghead and cannot get enough of him

No we don't, and yes we can.
posted by orange swan at 8:28 PM on December 8, 2008


Mr. Trudeau was an outlier - an interesting colorful Canadian politician.

Interesting that Nixon talks about "two countries that are basically the same people" while to Canadians the differences between the peoples of English Canada and French Canada, where Mr. Trudeau himself was from, are always apparent.
posted by scheptech at 10:23 PM on December 8, 2008


What KokoRyu said. Trudeau's opinions and actions - or lack thereof - during the second World War don't help either.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:38 AM on December 9, 2008


Mr. Trudeau was an outlier - an interesting colorful Canadian politician

Ghah, this sort of thing, which we've been hearing a lot of lately (Along with "Hey, Canadian politics got interesting, what gives?") drives me nuts. I'm by no means a historical expert or huge political junkie, but there is and have always been interesting people and events occurring on the Canadian political scene. A lot of the times Canadians seem to need their domestic concerns validated by the interest or involvement of another nation. The fascination with Trudeau, often touted as a 'world class' leader, bears this out.

There are tons of people far more interesting and influential than Trudeau in our history. Arthur Meighen, the strike-breaking asshole mathematician nemesis of crazy-ass how close was he to his dog anyway? Mackenzie King, for example, or Lester B. Pearson, the bow-tied renaissance nerd who was discharged from the RCAF after getting hit by a bus during WWI, and who, despite never having a majority government, gave us universal health care, student loans, the CPP, kept us out of Viet Nam while improving our relations with the US, removed discriminatory policies from our immigration system, and in whose cabinet that piker Trudeau served.

Just because it isn't spoon fed to us doesn't mean it isn't there.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:09 AM on December 9, 2008 [3 favorites]


I loved PET. But then I'm french Canadian and grew up in Toronto.

For those who are unaware of the Canadian political dynamic Western Canada hates the rest of Canada. The rest of Canada couldn't care less about the West. Quebec is annoying unless you want to go to a strip bar or McGill or win an election. The Maritimes are a fun place to go to University. Northern Canada is for crazy people, Discovery Channel documentaries, reality tv.
posted by srboisvert at 2:21 AM on December 9, 2008


Spot on, save for the "The rest of Canada couldn't care less about the West" part. Here in Ontario, we get quite pissed listening to them whinge about transfer payments after we supported Canada for how many years?
posted by gman at 3:42 AM on December 9, 2008


*expletive deleted*
posted by Pollomacho at 4:56 AM on December 9, 2008


*fuddle duddle*
posted by Kabanos at 6:55 AM on December 9, 2008


PET was like Canada's father during our country's late childhood and adolescent years. At first we idolized him and thought he could do no wrong. When he was strict, we accepted that he knew best. When we hit our teenage years we started to rebel against his big government style and craved freedom. We grew to hate him and resent him for many years after.
Only when we matured into our own adulthood did we finally realize that he was just a man who always wanted what was best for us.
posted by rocket88 at 7:12 AM on December 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


There are tons of people far more interesting and influential than Trudeau in our history.

And Kate Beaton will draw them all!

Super duper derail: I always liked how in 19th century political cartoons from Canada, England was a frumpy mother, Canada a young maiden, and the U.S was a flashy rouge.
posted by The Whelk at 7:20 AM on December 9, 2008


PET is disliked in Western Canada Alberta because of NEP, stagflation and general inept and indifferent management of the economy, the Trudeau salute, bilingualism, PetroCan, and, of course, NEP. Did I mention NEP?

FTFY. He may not have been as wildly popular in BC as in Ontario, but only Alberta hates him to the extreme.

The weird thing is, the NEP apparently didn't do much harm to Alberta, given how much money they've banked over the years. They might not have as much as they would have, but they still have a shitton of cash. Greedheads.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:43 AM on December 9, 2008


They might not have as much as they would have, but they still have a shitton of cash.

Yeah, but in Western Canada it meant a lot - and it had pretty grave effects on the lives of regular people. I don't care about Huskey, Encana etc but growing up in the 80's and 90's there were not many jobs. That kind of alienation was the stuff that gave you the Reform Party - keep in mind that most Western hell-raisers used to be New Democrats - look how SK,MB, and BC vote provincially and look at the federal results (Westerners aren't ultra right-wingers - its a protest vote). I grew up in Regina, and can go to Calgary having never lived there and know a lot of the people when I do business because so many of them were childhood friends and acquaintances forced by economic circumstance to migrate. It is also worth noting that things like the NEP were implemented when the agricultural economy and wheat prices were crashing through the floor. When you take millions of dollars out of the economy its not just big companies who suffer, some of it goes to the salaries and taxes which keep communities alive.

People in other parts of the thread talk about two Canadas and Trudeau. Today there are really there are like ten Canada's, and right now a big constitutional crisis doesn't seem far fetched - Trudeau will own that one.

Bilingualism, doesn't really affect us much day-to-day but every once in a while the government will encounter a million dollar lawsuit because some Mountie in rural Saskatchewan couldn't serve some asshat a speeding ticket in French (the native language of 2% of Saskatchewan people - trailing German, Ukrainian, Cree, et. al). Regina's local bureau of Radio Canada estimates that at some points of the day it has no listeners. French is an important language, but as Canadian law is written its local usage in Western Canada is quite absurd.

Trudeau had some admirable traits, he was a better intellectual and more a man-of-his-times than most other leaders of his generation but I believe his policies fed poison pills to the Canadian federation - he fed the most mean-spirited form of Western alienation (the "let the eastern bastards freeze in the dark" faction is stronger than ever - the coalition talks made rabid a bunch of people I have never heard talk about politics) and the most credible form of Quebec nationalism; I suspect both of those babies are grown up and we are now seeing the results.
posted by Deep Dish at 8:59 AM on December 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


For those who are unaware of the Canadian political dynamic Western Canada hates the rest of Canada.

Oh please.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:06 PM on December 9, 2008


There are tons of people far more interesting and influential than Trudeau in our history.

Your list is good. I'd like to add to it.

Let's take Richard Bedford Bennett - the bachelor Prime Minister and millionaire who guided Canada through the early part of the depression... Bennett was always deathly afraid of communists, and always surrounded himself with bodyguards and had the RCMP attack a group trekking from BC to Ottawa in Regina who was protest conditions in labour camps (in fear they would reach the most radical city in Canada... Winnipeg). Want to talk of a Constitutional Crisis? Jimmy Gardner (Premier of Saskatchewan) felt that Bennett ordering the RCMP to attack the strikers was illegal and almost sent the Saskatchewan Provincial Police to arrest the Mounties. Then a bit later on, "Iron Heel" Bennett hears FDR speak... and latches on to the New Deal... and suddenly Bennett is on national radio talking about implementing old age pensions, unemployment insurance and host of other good social programs. It was one of the best 'death bed conversions" in history and the first mention of a social safety net in Canada.

Or John A MacDonald, the great visionary and broody dark alcoholic... who saw most of his family die and replaced the water glass on his desk in parliament with Gin. MaDonald would be vomiting on the floor of the house... sometimes claiming it was a reaction to his opponent's policies. MacDonald's national dream was far more radical and defiant than anyone doing funny little dances behind the queen.

Or Laura Secord... who in the 1812-1815 overheard a group of Americans talking about an attack on Upper Canada took off running through wilderness in the night to warn the Canadian/British soldiers of their plans.

Or Tecumseh. Or the Canadians who revolutionized trench warfare in World War I, or Tommy Douglas the boxer and preacher who became a socialist when he saw how his parishioners were living during the Depression.

If you like the current coalition talks, look up the names Henri Bourassa and Robert Borden and read about their "unholy alliance". I also think Louis Riel - the revolutionary and later mystic - who was elected as an MP despite being an outlaw, and once managed to sneak in and sign the register in the House of Commons to be Western Canada's first patriot... and one of the great historical figures in North America. If you have a few pints in downtown Regina be careful that his ghost does not make you crazy....

If you like your historical figures to display tolerance and goodwill, look no further than James Murray - the first Governor-General of Canada. General Wolfe dies on the battlefield, and Murray takes over the Citadel in Quebec for the Winter. Far from showing animosity towards Wolfe, the Catholic nuns knit stockings for kilted Scotsman. Want a crazy politician? Try William Aberhard and read about Social Credit Theory.

If you like military history, read about how Canadian troops revolutionized trench warfare in World War 1 (attack single file instead of waves against machine gunners to over-run a trench.) Read about the Canadians who pissed on rags and put them over their mouths when they were on the receiving end of German gas attack, and kept fighting... the urine neutralized the chemical in the gas. Some other allied troops in that battle ran away.

If you like to explore personal relationships in politics, you'll find that JFK and John Diefenbaker couldn't stand each other, and that Lyndon Johnson physically roughed up Lester B Pearson for making an antiwar speech in the USA. Pearson also delivered one of the great "oh snap" moments of all time - Charles De Gaulle told Pearson that he wanted Canadian soldiers out of France, to which Pearson retorted "What about the ones we have to dig up?"

But, yeah Trudeau hung out with Stones man.
posted by Deep Dish at 5:41 PM on December 9, 2008 [3 favorites]


Yeah, but in Western Canada it meant a lot - and it had pretty grave effects on the lives of regular people.

Of Albertans, not BCers.

It irks me to no end that people refer to "The West" as a generic when they mean Alberta in specific.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:08 PM on December 9, 2008


It irks me to no end that people refer to "The West" as a generic when they mean Alberta in specific

I have noticed "the West" is becoming some right wing code word for made-Alberta-ideals...

I don't mean it that way, but you can read the "West" as the "prairies" if you want for my comments... Trudeau's policies affected Saskatchewan pretty extensively... probably more than Alberta since Alberta was better developed. BC is less of an energy power and more urban, so I imagine it was not so important there.
posted by Deep Dish at 9:45 PM on December 9, 2008


Thanks for adding, Deep Dish, those were great!

How 'The West' is often used bugs me too; a lot of the time when people say 'The West' they actually mean 'Alberta and the Western Half of Saskatchewan, but I'm either a self-important dink from there or an Easterner who doesn't know any better.' Present company excluded, of course.

For those who are unaware of the Canadian political dynamic Western Canada hates the rest of Canada. The rest of Canada couldn't care less about the West. Quebec is annoying unless you want to go to a strip bar or McGill or win an election. The Maritimes are a fun place to go to University. Northern Canada is for crazy people, Discovery Channel documentaries, reality tv.

Ghuh?

I... grew up in Toronto.

No kidding.
Good natured nose-tweaking, no serious offense intended
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:00 PM on December 9, 2008



Mr. Trudeau was an outlier - an interesting colorful Canadian politician.

*cough*
posted by juv3nal at 11:37 PM on December 9, 2008


juv3nal - good point, the Little Guy From Shawinigan had his moments.
posted by scheptech at 7:32 AM on December 10, 2008


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