Monday, July 19, 2010

Mr. Bernier, you are no Pierre Trudeau

"There's no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation." 43 years ago, Trudeau made that courageous statement about decriminalizing homosexual acts in Canada. That was a genuine leadership moment in Canadian political history, a line remembered even today which captures succinctly the spirit of what progressive Canada is all about. Not intruding on people's personal relationships behind closed doors, supporting equality for all.

To poach that statement, as backbencher Maxime Bernier did yesterday, in support of the government's almost universally condemned axing of the mandatory long census, just says so much.

Shameless unoriginality, of course, which allows for the most unfortunate of comparisons to be made between Trudeau and Bernier. To demonstrate so clearly how small some of our politicians are these days, how they just don't measure up to such raw charisma and intellect. Trudeau dared to say - and do - something hard, to fight for a minority's equality rights as he did, 43 years ago. Bernier is hardly doing anything hard or heroic. He's fighting for the right not to say how many bedrooms you have in your house. That's just boring and is not worth the damage this census move will cause.

What Bernier really meant is not what Trudeau said, that "there is no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation." No, what Bernier really should have said is this: "there is no place for the state in the nation." Be original Conservatives, have the courage of your convictions.