John StallSee more blogs
The apple doesn’t fall far from the Trudeau tree
I’ve been predicting for years that Justin Trudeau will be the next Liberal Prime Minister of Canada. That is if the Liberal Party doesn’t merge with the NDP or morph into some other entity. Either way, it is going to be fascinating to watch.
I came to that conclusion while in Montreal covering his father’s funeral where he left us jaw-dropped while delivering the eulogy. It was clear to me at that moment that Justin had inherited the sense of drama from his father that can be applied to life in general and politics in particular. Some call it charisma, but on the way back to Toronto on the train I sat beside a University of Toronto Professor of Psychology whose name I can’t recall but who told me that he had attended Jesuit class with Pierre and had witnessed the way he mastered the art of social drama. It’s a concept he told me that is at the core of Jesuit training.
What I took from that insight, is that Pierre Trudeau learned and mastered the art of turning it on, turning it off, dialing it up or dialing it down to suit the occasion and objective. This was confirmed to me while I was partnered as a media trainer with Patrick Gossage between gigs at CFRB and 680News. Patrick, for the benefit of a generation who may not be aware, was Pierre’s press secretary and witnessed first hand the way his boss was able to galvanize the attention he sought by leveraging the skill; showing up in the house wearing sandals, pulling up to the HOC in a 280 SL Mercedes sports car, sliding down banisters, or pirouetting behind the Queen. It was all calculated to create or cultivate not only a persona, but the kind of attention that he would exploit to his advantage.
Justin Trudeau has learned a lot of things from his father. Like all of us who are sons, he will embrace and enhance some lessons while rejecting others. In my view, he has embraced the mastery of drama that he no doubt learned or inherited from his dad. That was evident in the the delivery of the eulogy and marinates beneath the surface as he matures. He acknowledged during his the entrance speech last night that he understood his candidacy would generate attention and fill some bleachers while pointing out “what we do with that opportunity is up to us.”
I didn’t think Justin Trudeau would be seeking the leadership for a few years yet, but as Liberal strategist Warren Kinsella told me today, political circumstances trumped the options.