Posts Tagged ‘Robert Stanfield’

The perils of punditry.

Tuesday, March 12th, 2019

Despite putting the idea aside a number of times, I have made the effort to stay away from comparing Pierre Trudeau in 1972 to Justin Trudeau in 2019. I was sitting in the boardroom of the principal advertising agency for the liberal party that evening in 1972 when Pierre announced that the writ of election would be dropped. When he also announced his campaign slogan, “The Land is Strong” many of us threw up our hands and went home.

It was only the herculean efforts of then Senator Keith Davey that brought many of us liberals back to the campaign trenches and to rescue what we could of a bad campaign. Oddly enough, Justin Trudeau gets a credit also in that campaign. Born the Christmas before, the pictures of him with his father and mother helped soften the image of an arrogant Pierre Trudeau.

A big part of Keith Davey’s job through the 70s was to convince Pierre Trudeau that arrogance does not work. Who there is who can convince the younger Trudeau to be less arrogant is concerning?

At least we had a good laugh the other day when NDP guru Val Sears pontificated that voters respected the 1972 conservative leader Robert Stanfield who won 107 seats to the liberal’s 109. Sears suggested that David Lewis, the then leader of the NDP, was ‘yesterday’s man.’ Au contraire, it was Lewis who was highly regarded and who supported the weakened liberals.

The changes in the Prime Minister’s Office after the 1972 election were dramatic. Politically astute people could find work there. And there was a ‘Chinese Wall’ created between the Privy Council Office and the PMO that had not been observed between ’68 and ’72. (It is something Michael Wernick, current Secretary of the Privy Council, should make an effort to maintain.)

I always admired Pierre Trudeau for admitting his mistakes from 1968 to 1972. He brought about a sea change in Canadian politics and it was not just “fuddle-duddle.”

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