(image: Canadian Press)

I grew up learning of Pierre Elliot Trudeau off of a blackboard in history class. He was presented as the quintessential Liberal, by teachers who could remember him. But as time went by, Canada’s Liberal appetite waned, and we elected a decade of Conservatives.

In the front half of my undergrad, I was an intern at Justin’s campaign office, and prepared a few hot dog lunches for the to-be leader. Speaking to growing audiences, soon the misty-eyed Justin replaced his hard-headed father as a household name. As time went on, my politics became more hard headed.

This election has been a battle to appeal to voices calling for “anyone but Harper”. Tonight it seems the Liberals had the most convincing pitch. This is unusual for more than one reason.

Putting aside issues of the economy, much of the urgency that mobilized the “anyone but Harper” crowd came from concerns that the majority government was becoming too heavily authoritarian. In the last year alone, Harper passed Bill C-51 and C-24, and defended both as a necessary response to the growing threat of terrorism.

The bills drew outrage from both left-leaning parties. Mulcair quickly vowed to repeal the bill if in power; Justin made only vague commitments to “revise” its terms. What little upset there was over this, was somehow soon forgiven. Despite standing nearby the Conservatives on one of the most divisive campaign issues, Trudeau still miraculously struck a pose that made him look like Harper’s antithesis.

But still the most amazing revelation is the transformation of the Trudeau Dynasty. In my grade six history class, the words “War Measures” were written beside Pierre Elliott’s name. This legal provision was used by Pierre during the FLQ crisis, to flood the streets of Ottawa with Canadian soldiers. It was, according to Pierre, a necessary response to a heightened threat of terrorism in the city.

Trudeau Senior enacted one of the most authoritarian orders in Canadian history. Today, his son won the Canadian election as an opponent to this very sort of imperius overreach. Trudeau’s shakey opposition to C-51 may be cause for some concern, but his bleeding heart might just make him the alternative Canadians are looking for.

Just watch him.

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