Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

There's been a perception about Justin Trudeau that he's the mother's son, that much of the mettle from the father descended to the other boy, Alexandre. It's the reason, many Liberals have felt, that the party shouldn't invest future leadership hopes in Justin.

He's undisciplined, critics contend, light on policy and cavalier. Not everyone holds to the perception, but it was reinforced recently with his blatherings about Quebec's being justified in going its own way, given the Harper government's values. That brought down a hailstorm of abuse on the 40-year-old MP, for whom there's a lot of bile out there to begin with. This is Western Canada's time, the country's conservative time, and Pierre Trudeau, of course, symbolized other regions and other values. Thirty years on, Prairie people still haven't got over the national energy program. They still react with wrath to the Trudeau name.

And so when they heard that Pierre Trudeau's kid was going into the ring against tattooed, tough-guy Tory Senator Patrick Brazeau, they were licking their chops. They could picture him getting bloodied. A Trudeau on the canvas! The ultimate humiliation.

Story continues below advertisement

As we know, the opposite happened. "Trudeau celebrates Earth Hour by knocking Brazeau's lights out," said one online post.

The boxing match, while done for charity, was a fitting metaphor for our lowbrow politics. Verbal abuse verges on fisticuffs, so why not take it that extra step. The Trudeau-Brazeau fight could touch off a trend, here and abroad.

The most significant part of Saturday's bout was not that all the Trudeau haters had to eat crow. It was the image transformation of Justin from mother's boy to father's son and all that this could entail.

It was daring for Justin to put himself in the position he did. He knew, as he told me with an air of cockiness a couple of days before the match, that Mr. Brazeau wasn't as tough as people were saying. But it was still a gamble. He risked bringing humiliation not only on himself but on the family name. He risked a lasting career setback.

Entering the ring required his father's confidence, courage and penchant for risk taking. There's a steeliness to Justin I've noticed over the years, a sense of belief, of purpose, and no sense that he's one to crumble under pressure. His boxing skills came from his father, a martial arts enthusiast, as well.

Before entering the ring, he might have imagined his dad in the gunslinger pose or on the reviewing stand in Montreal on election eve 1968, standing alone and defiant as separatist demonstrators hurled projectiles at him. After the match, he was on Justin's mind. "Je t'aime, papa," he wrote.

Justin has had his growing pains, moments of naiveté, immaturity and winginess. But his potential is considerable. He's strong in the languages and he has star-power charisma and, as he showed in the fight, it's more than pretty-boy charisma.

Story continues below advertisement

The passions run deep. We saw it recently when he jumped to his feet in the House of Commons and rudely attacked the Environment Minister, using a synonym for the word excrement for the government's treatment of opposition members who wished to attend a climate-change summit.

It wasn't a staged moment. It was a reflex action. But like his ill-advised words on Quebec's leaving, it got him into trouble. Many were starting to write him off. But a boxing match with "a star is reborn" story line changes that. It may come to be seen as a defining career moment.

For the Liberal Party, Bob Rae is doing a very impressive job as pro tem pilot. But given his age, his baggage and Thomas Mulcair's ascendancy to the NDP throne, chances of rebirth under him are remote. If the party is to rise again, it may well be that it needs someone of daunting name and spirit to remind the country of its daunting days.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies