10.20.2014 06:01 PM

In Tuesday’s Sun: bookish

Politicians write books for different reasons.

They write them to show that they are men and women of substance. They write them to demonstrate that they are brimming with ideas and character.

They write them because they want to go above the heads of the news media. They write them because they have experienced some trials and tribulations, and they want to put the best possible spin on them. They write books to be taken seriously.

Justin Trudeau’s book – whose title is ‘Common Ground’ – has likely been written for all of those reasons. Trudeau wants it known that he is a person of substance, a serious person of character. He wants it known that he has ideas to share, and some revelations, too.

The book is only out officially today, so many of us haven’t had a chance to read it yet. But, hopefully, it contains more about the highly revealing exchange Trudeau recently had with sports writer Bruce Arthur. That encounter resulted in a fascinating, wonderfully-written story, and one hopes it – or something like it – makes its way into Common Ground.

In the story, Trudeau talks about his March 2012 charity boxing match against Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau, in which Trudeau wiped the floor with the disgraced Tory. It is highly revealing.

“My dad taught me how to box as just a little kid, among other things,” Trudeau told Arthur, getting off some well-deserved jabs at Sun New Network along the way. “He was a black belt in judo and he wanted us to be adept in a wide variety of athletic pursuits.”

Trudeau recalled the insults being hurled at him ringside by the Sun people, and others. “Obviously you learn to ignore nasty negative attacks, but you also learn not to give credence to the people who think you’re wonderful because they loved your father,” says Trudeau. “People who say [I’m a silver-spoon kid] forget what kind of a man my father was, and what kind of father my father was…He was a tough man, and he was disciplined, and so filled with love for us; he knew we would have extra baggage to deal with and to carry, because of the name he was giving us, and he wanted us to have to tools to deal with it.

“So he never would have wanted us to take the easy way, or to take things lightly.”

As such, Trudeau told Arthur about the moment when he knew he was going to take Brazeau down. “I suddenly had permission. One of the things I had to learn as a kid, the eldest of three brothers, is to control yourself. To not lose your temper, to not get carried away, because I was bigger than my brothers. We were three boys close in age, and I had to learn to restrain myself a little bit.

“And in politics, as a teacher, my personality is to be nice, and it works in politics. But suddenly this was a moment where I was allowed, and fully expected, to give rein to a side of myself that I don’t normally allow out there, which was a ruthless and forceful side. It’s that moment that where push comes to shove, do you have it? And I always knew I did; I just knew I could never show that in life, and suddenly here was a moment where I could.”

And he did. And everything changed for him, after that.

Many of us don’t know if there’s more of that sort of passion in Trudeau’s new book. But one thing we do know: that passion, that ruthlessness, is already in him.

As they ready themselves to climb into the ring with Justin Trudeau, perhaps Stephen Harper and Tom Mulcair should reflect on that.


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    davie says:

    That’s a lot of thinking to do before finishing off a guy.

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    Ron says:

    “One of these days Alice, one of these days.”

    ~ Ralph Kramden

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    graham watt says:

    Trudeau’s strength is in being underestimated, always an advantage in any confrontation.
    As well, I’ve always liked people who wren’t afraid to make mistakes.
    And in a world where almost every politician is terrified of making mistakes, someone who
    doesn’t give a damn definitely stands out. In the tough old days, without the policitians
    surrounded by fartcatchers, we used to call them leaders.

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      Marc-André Chiasson says:

      Well said Graham. As a former government comms guy who was often cast in the role of “fartcatcher” for some prima donna politicians, I couldn’t agree more. Not all politicians were like that…but many were. Often, it was simply a case of their not having two original ideas to rub together and being completely dysfunctional without the almighty briefing book and the ever present ear whisperers. That’s what I like about Justin. He’s not afraid to say what he thinks, and he is intelligent and gutsy. Obviously, members of the Harperight Troll Patrol disagree, and they are entitled to do so.

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    Pat O. says:

    Political Boxing

    In an interview with Peter Gzowski (CBC), Hunter S. Thompson said of Jimmy Carter: “I think he’s one of the three meanest men I’ve ever met. The other two were Muhammad Ali and Sonny Barger, the president of the Hell’s Angels. Those three men are a whole cut above everybody else I’ve ever run into in terms of sheer functional meanness.”

    The National Post Newspaper online got full points for pushing the propaganda envelope: “‘I was a full-blown cokehead’: Mike Tyson reveals he was high during fights, used fake penis to fool testers” is placed only inches away from, “‘Bring it on, buddy’: Toronto council resembles a boxing ring as Ford comes under attack over drug use.” The parallels are there. Two massive, aggressive, raging, coke-fueled men terrorizing just about everyone in their respective orbits. Tyson’s legacy will sadly be footnoted by ear biting, drunken backyard crashing of BMWs, and incarceration for rape. Ford has yet to be charged with anything. Unlike Tyson, Ford cannot point to a nightmarish ghetto childhood as the root cause. Society has coddled him into l’enfant terrible of today.

    Justin Trudeau also likes to box: “it’s the best feeling in the world to measure yourself against an opponent and test yourself because your fortune, your intelligence, your beauty, none of that fucking matters.” People tuned in to watch him beat the tar out of Aboriginal senator Patrick Brazeau – the rather dubious propaganda motif of the liberal superman triumphing over the Indian in a sort of Rocky meets Black Robe. Now that JT has admitted to smoking grass, is he too a drug-fueled pugilist? Has he been tested for drugs? Should there be some kind of procedure to check for fake genitalia? Will the “if you touch my junk” precedent be invoked? These are strange issues for strange times.

    Absurdity aside, the politics of “functional meanness” are violent. Carter, like a street smart gang leader, surrounded himself with other wolverines. During the Khmer Rouge genocide, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Carter’s National Security Advisor, acknowledged, “I encouraged the Chinese to support Pol Pot … Pol Pot was an abomination. We could never support him, but China could.” Nixon and Kissinger’s China junket was only a meet ‘n greet in comparison; the Carter regime got down to business and the Anglo-Maoist alliance began in earnest. (The rationale of Russian containment was dubious; like the multi-headed hydra, the bloody jaws of Maoism and Khmer Rougism grew from the same totalitarian monster as Bolshevism.)

    Alexander Trudeau’s documentary “The New Great Game,” “producers in association” with Iran’s state-funded propaganda arm Press-TV, trotted out the well-ripened Brzezinski to build their case their case against Israel. Mind, Brzezinski utilized militant Islam in Afghanistan as a proxy, like in Cambodia, and was the mad doctor who created the Frankenstein of Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda: “Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter. We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war…”

    The Trudeauites came under fire for opining at a Liberal lady’s night that: “There is a level of admiration I actually have for China, uhh, because their basic dictatorship…” In this lauded dictatorship China executes more people than all other nations combined. Many “confessions” are made through torture. Organs are removed from the alive and unanaesthetized. Forced relocation of workers and peasants is widespread – over a million for the Olympics alone. Millions of political dissidents are sent to work camps for “reeducation through labor.” The Chinese Communist Party has the power to arrest, detain, and incarcerate anyone without charge or trail and without legal defense. In the first three years after the revolution, Communists murdered 3 million people, mostly landlords, less poor peasants, and officials. In the cities millions died in class-based Marxist cleansing. The Great Leap Forward resulted in the death of 45 million. The Cultural Revolution claimed 2-3 million lives. As mentioned, the Chinese Communist Party supported the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia which resulted in a genocide of 3 million. Maoist insurgents have killed a minimum of 100 million people to date.

    Actually, the whole ruthless, French, intellectual lady’s night bit is old and stale. Simone de Beauvoir, French intellectual, Communist, sexual deviant, wrote in 500-page Maoist puff piece: “The waiters begin to fill our glasses with rice wine, with wild-grape wine, with lemonade, beer, sparkling wine, whichever we want, while Chou, spotlights focused on him, makes a speech thanking us for having come to China…although directed by the Communist Party, her revolution is only halfway accomplished. Capitalism, private property, profits, inheritance still remain. They are scheduled to disappear by stages, without violence.” Just a little boxing perhaps.

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      Kaspar Juul says:

      One day I fear will be reading about a news incident involving you. Hopefully you dont hurt people in your madness.

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    Ronald O'Dowd says:


    First he clobbered Brazeau. Then he took down his own Senators. Makes me wonder what special surprise he has reserved for this Prime Minister. Brian Mulroney called it correctly — just wait and see.

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      Brine says:

      “Took down his own senators?” You mean when he unilaterally cut them loose without telling them, and then they just changed their name to Senate Liberals? Yeah, that was quite the change.

      One does wonder what surprises are in store. Let’s ask the people actually pulling his strings, like Gerald Butts, Sacha, and Omar Alghabra. They are the ones calling the shots, not JT.

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    patrick says:

    “Insults from Sun people”….none of whom would have the guts to get in the ring and suffer possible humiliation as Trudeau did. Nothing like heckling from the bravely from the sidelines.
    And we live in a sad world where decency is seen as a failing.

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    smelter rat says:

    And that’s why he is going to be the next PM. As for the naysayers and Con trolls out there, before you even start, bite me.

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      Marc-André Chiasson says:

      The Harperight Troll Patrol overreacts to everything…so that would be an “overbite”.

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    Robin says:

    I trust Trudeau. I agree with his values. He not only represents liberal values he personifies them. It is part of his DNA. I have learned two fundamental lessons in politics:

    1. An experienced leader taking the country in the wrong direction is worse than an inexperienced leader taking the country in the right direction;

    2. The propensity of a bad government to do wrong is infinite; whereas, the ability of a good government to good is limited by time and resources.

    It takes seconds to blow up a bridge and months, even years, to build one.

    The World Trade Center collapsed in 13 seconds when it took a decade from design to completion to construct. It is a metaphor for how easy it is for destructive governments to achieve their objectives and how challenging it is for progressive governments to build and maintain a civil society.

    It begins with a leader who will take the country in the right direction.

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      tf says:

      That’s a powerful metaphor – remembering what took ten years to build fell in thirteen seconds. It takes much longer to build something than to destroy it. Thanks!

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      Brine says:

      You agree with his values? Which ones, that China’s basic dictatorship is admirable? That getting stoned while an MP is cool? Calling people a POS in the House of Commons when you don’t agree with them? That we need to find the ‘root causes’ behind terrorists’ actions?

      As many have observed, JT’s lack of any disclosure of any substantive policies allows people to project anything they want onto him and believe that he shares their beliefs. One day maybe someone from the media that he is not hiding from will ask him some real questions and try to pin him down on what he (or at least his handlers) really believes.

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    debs says:

    the men that dislike trudeau are just jealous, he has it all, charisma, smarts, wit. And for the comments of how he isnt serious, and he isnt experienced enough, etc, just have no clue, hopefully his book will let that myth die.

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    the salamander says:

    .. about a month ago Trudeau got in the ring for another charity match.. I don’t know who the other boxer was.. but he was light years ahead of Trudeau… and I believe was mid forties, probably a former pro or amateur contender. He laid at least 3 to 5 serious shots on J Trudeau.. who took them gamely without showing surprise or anger.. it had to hurt. Right on the nose or mouth. I wonder how that happened.. it was a wonder his nose wasn’t bleeding or broken after the first lightning strike.

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    Joe says:

    I heard that the Guinness Book of Records has two books listed as the thinnest books in the world. One is Hutterite Heroes of World War II and the other is The Book of Justin Trudeau’s Life Ttime Accomplishments.

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      scot says:

      You are a very pathetic little Con, Joe. Rattle me off Harpers accomplishments, before or after he was elected.

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        smelter rat says:

        Well, he destroyed libraries and burned books…….oh wait…

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      davie says:

      Hutterites? Is this in the wrong decade? I thought we were currently into trashing someone else this year.

      (Actually, I was a child during World War II, and in later years I listened to rationales relatives and their cronies gave for enlisting, and rationales from people who did not enlist, and since my immediate family was overseas, I have read constantly to try to figure out what happened. As years go by, I thin less and less that what happened can in any way be called “The Good War.” Try imagining exactly why the Canadian government at that time talked up ‘conscription.’))

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      bill says:

      I thought the other one was Harper’s book of kept promises.

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        Scotian says:


        That is not a book, it is a windshield flyer and even then more space than text.

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    Ridiculosity says:

    It’s be nice if y’all read the book. Before reviewing it. Can’t we save the attack ads until the writ is dropped?

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