Review — 1968

1968 is so layered in mythology it takes a surgeon’s scalpel to cut to the facts. Historian Paul Litt of Carleton University deftly slices and trims until the truth emerges in Trudeaumania. Even in death Pierre Trudeau remains a polarizing figure. Professor Litt traces the phenomenon to that long-ago campaign. Yes, Trudeaumania was invented by media, writes Litt: “Yet the media could not have made Trudeau without a complicit audience.” Most strikingly, it could never happen exactly the same way again. The ’68 phenomenon was a collision at the intersection of time and place. Many political fixers have schemed to recreate the experience, and many have failed. “For those caught up in the mania, 1968 was a historic turning point in which Canada left its dowdy colonial past behind and assumed a new autonomous identity as a model modern liberal democracy,” writes Litt. “They may have been deluding themselves, but since nations are fictions with real-world effects, Trudeaumania had lasting influence.” READ MORE

Liked To Deploy The Military

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland in a confidential videoconference with bankers said she “couldn’t agree more” with a recommendation that cabinet deploy armed soldiers against the Freedom Convoy. “It is a threat to our democracy,” said Freeland: "All options are on the table." READ MORE

Bank Freeze Hard On Bankers

Cabinet’s “central concern” in freezing Freedom Convoy accounts was that angry depositors might yell at bankers, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said yesterday. Freeland elaborated on worries she raised at a secret February 19 cabinet meeting about bank employees’ well-being: "My central concern was, you know, that some poor teller not get yelled at." READ MORE

Act’s Author Warned Cabinet

Perrin Beatty, a former Conservative minister who wrote the Emergencies Act, privately warned cabinet “lots of long term issues” would follow its use of the law against the Freedom Convoy. “I am worried,” Beatty texted the finance minister: "I am particularly concerned about the radicalization of people who would normally be law-abiding." READ MORE

Small Biz Confidence Crashes

Small business confidence is falling amid fears of a Christmas recession, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business said yesterday. A members’ questionnaire found “the 12-month index is the lowest recorded since 2009 outside of recessions.” READ MORE

Seal Exports A Pittance: Feds

Exports of seal products have fallen to a pittance amid international protests, the Department of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. The Atlantic seal industry once worth millions has seen exports of a few thousand dollars a year: "It’s not a lot." READ MORE

Mounties Censured, Again

The Commons ethics committee for the second time in seven weeks has censured the RCMP as evasive and uncooperative. The latest reprimand came over the Mounties’ undisclosed use of spyware: "The committee would like to note the lack of cooperation shown by the RCMP." READ MORE

Guest Commentary

Geoffrey Pearson, In Memoriam

The Scriptwriter

My father wasn’t any good as a politician. He was a scriptwriter; that’s the way he had been brought up, to write the script for others. A politician has to be a born actor and say all kinds of things you don’t really believe. He was very bad at it. He seemed loose if not lackadaisical, then almost unfocused. For a man who was a nation’s leader, a Nobel laureate, he appeared casual. “Gosh” was the only swear word he ever used. It’s hardly a swear word, is it? When they phoned to tell him he had won the Nobel Peace Prize, he said: “Gosh!” As foreign minister everything he did was applauded. As prime minister he had critics who said he wasn’t good at it. He couldn’t really solve that paradox.