Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has attained both rock star status and, as a major scandal breaks that could threaten his premiership, notoriety. Yet despite this fame, he still pales in comparison to his father.
Pierre Trudeau is in many ways the defining figure of postwar Canada. Simultaneously a celebrity and a philosopher king, he is the architect of Canada’s modern constitutional order. His most lasting legacy remains the entrenchment of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms into the newly patriated Constitution. This charter was the cornerstone of Trudeau’s quest for a unifying basis for a country deeply divided by cultural and linguistic differences. But while Pierre is a hero to many Canadians, he also exacerbated the fissures at the heart of the Canadian confederation and nearly tore the country apart. Justin Trudeau lacks his father’s intellect and strength of will, but he is inadvertently exacerbating many of the same fissures that his father did.