Justin Trudeau: The Brian Mulroney connection
Perhaps you've seen this picture, which went a little viral, showing Justin Trudeau dancing with his wife Sophie Grégoire before his big speech on Sunday afternoon at the Liberal leadership showcase.
And on seeing the headline to this post, you may be wondering -- what does this have to do with former prime minister Brian Mulroney, avowed political enemy of Trudeau's dad?
Well, this is another father-son story. The photographer who snapped that picture is Adam Scotti, who is also following in his dad's footsteps (he goes by his mom's last name.) Adam's father is Bill McCarthy, the well-liked man who served as Brian Mulroney's official photographer during his time in office. All of us who covered Mulroney and travelled with him loved to have Bill around -- he was a perpetually sunny presence.
And now his son has taken up the camera too, to take pictures for Trudeau. You can see some of his other photographs by clicking on this link.
Small world, yes, but not the only link between Mulroney and Trudeau. Ben Mulroney and Justin Trudeau are friends (Mulroney attended the Trudeau-Grégoire wedding.) And yesterday, on CTV's Power Play, Mulroney had some kind words for Trudeau:
“I’ve known Justin since he was a child. He’s young, articulate, attractive – a flawlessly bilingual young man. What’s not to like with this picture?” Mulroney told host Don Martin.
“Anybody who … treats Justin Trudeau with scorn or derision or underestimates him, does so at his own peril,” he said. “We’ll see what happens in the future; it’s a long way from here to there. But no one should underestimate Justin. He’s a man of some consequence.”
I chatted to Mulroney yesterday too, to tap some of his memories about Margaret Thatcher. We didn't talk about Trudeau (or his former photographer) but he did send some not-too-subtle signals on how he regards Stephen Harper's brand of conservatism. It came up when we were discussing how he and Thatcher didn't see exactly eye-to-eye, ideologically:
"Margaret thought that I was too progressive and not conservative enough. And I used to say to her: 'Margaret, Canada is not the United Kingdom. We are a different country, with 125 years of different traditions and so, I'm a conservative, I will not govern at all ideologically the way Pierre Trudeau did. ... But that said, I know she thought that I should be more radical on the conservative side and less so on the progressive side. But I never followed that. I never believed in that. I was the leader of the PROGRESSIVE Conservatives and we did very well, thank you very much, two elections in a row, by being progressive conservatives. What I find interesting now, Susan, is that the so-called far right conservatives have found that there's no way they can govern or win elections without becoming progressive conservatives. So what I'm seeing now is something that ... I think I've seen this movie before."
So there you go: Brian Mulroney still stirring the pot. You might say he haunts us still, but I think another former prime minister has trademark on that phrase.