October 5, 2012

The rise of Trudeau II in Quebec politics

There have been several notable father-son acts in Canadian politics. Indeed, the only son of Canada’s first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, was Sir Hugh Macdonald, who served briefly with papa in Parliament before becoming premier of Manitoba.

The provinces have provided several prominent examples of family dynasties — although none continuous. British Columbia’s W.A.C. (Wacky) Bennett was premier for 20 years, ending in 1972. Three years later, son Bill became premier, serving for 11 years.

On the east coast, Joe Ghiz ruled Prince Edward Island for seven years until 1993. His son Robert became premier in 2007, a year after his father died of cancer at 51.

Quebec, though, has the most unusual, if not enduring family legacy. Daniel Johnson led a Union Nationale government for a little more than two years before he died in office in 1968. His son Pierre-Marc Johnson was premier for three months in 1985, as leader of the secessionist Parti Quebecois.

Daniel Sr.’s other son Daniel Jr. was a Liberal premier of Quebec for nine months in 1994. Three Johnsons, three different parties: total time in office, less than three years.

More recently on the federal front, a son did achieve what was denied the father. Sounds like a Romney scenario, but in this Canadian case, Paul Martin Jr. did become prime minister (2003-06), fulfilling the dream of dad, Paul Martin Sr., a senior Liberal minister who ran thrice for the party leadership.

In the aging patriarch’s last kick at the Liberal can, Martin lost, badly, to a dashing Montreal intellectual with the intriguing bilingual name of Pierre Elliott Trudeau. He would lead Canada through two tumultuous terms (1968-1979, 1980-84) that changed the country forever.

The latest father-son political combo to emerge sees Pierre’s eldest son Justin Pierre James Trudeau, 40, seeking the Liberal brass ring. Reaction to this move by Trudeau fils ranges from rapture to ridicule.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg The friendly Commonwealth Games

    The 20th Commonwealth Games are now underway in Glasgow, Scotland, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Quebec's proliferation of festivals

    Woodstock en Beauce celebrated its 20th anniversary this year, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Quebec City's English paper a survivor

    In a city stocked with beautiful, interesting and historic buildings, the five-story gem located at perhaps the busiest corner in Old Quebec doesn't attract much attention, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    June 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadian hockey Kings

    As of this writing, the Los Angeles Kings have either already quaffed from their second Stanley Cup or are on the verge of closing out the New York Rangers, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    June 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Remembering the forgotten Empress

    The Titanic gets the most attention, what with the epic drama of the 1912 sinking of an incomparable luxury liner, stocked with celebrities, on its maiden voyage.

    May 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadians among TV conspirators

    Call me weird, paranoid, a child of Watergate and Contragate or just a connoisseur of tense political drama, but my current three favorite TV programs are about conspiracies in America, each in a different era of U.S. history, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    May 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Hurons gamble on Quebec

    When we were kids, our parents took us to visit Sainte Marie among the Hurons, the restoration of the settlement French missionaries built in 1639 in what is now central Ontario, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    May 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadiens are Canada's team

    The National Hockey League playoffs are underway, and for Canadiens fans, many of whom likely reside in the Montreal "suburb" of Plattsburgh, it is a time of hope and joy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Big shift in Quebec vote

    Being a man of science, Philippe Couillard, premier-designate of Quebec, chose to use a geological term (though his field is actually medicine) to describe what happened in Monday's election, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Trench warfare in Quebec elections

    I've seen many a Quebec election in my day (I'll skip the "by cracky"), writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo