Tuesday, January 20, 2004


In a wide ranging interview with The Hill Times (registration required) Jack Layton claims that if former prime minister Pierre Trudeau were still alive he would be running for the NDP. Now it might just be because I am a great admirer of Trudeau and the policies of his Liberal government that I take exception to this.

However, I think it also offends my sensibilities as an historian-in-training. It seems rather ridiculous and dishonest to me to make claims about what past actors would do in a contemporary situation. History has to be kept in context. Would Trudeau, were he alive, vote for Layton and the NDP? Maybe. I don't know, and neither does Jack Layton. Its a meaningless assertion. No one can know so its easy for Layton to appropriate the memory of a popular deceased prime minister. He obviously needs to do so because there are no NDP prime ministers.

Posted by Matthew @ 1:40 a.m.