Transcript: Christina McCall and Stephen Clarkson on Trudeau | Nov 02, 1994

Allan says NOW, YOU OFFER A NUMBER
OF VIEWS IN THE BOOK
THAT RUN CONTRARY TO A LOT
OF CONVENTIONAL WISDOMS.
FOR ME, ONE OF THE MOST
INTERESTING OF THE WHOLE
BUNCH WAS THAT TRUDEAU
DIDN'T DISDAIN ECONOMICS.
THAT IN FACT, HE WAS
INTERESTED IN THE SUBJECT,
AND HAD VERY, VERY STUDIED
VIEWS ON POLITICAL ECONOMY,
AND WHERE THE COUNTRY SHOULD
BE GOING ECONOMICALLY.

A caption appears on screen. It reads “Stephen Clarkson. Trudeau and our Times, Vol. 2.”
Stephen is in his fifties and is partially bald with grey curly hair and clean-
shaven. He wears a black suit with a blue shirt and tie with blue triangles on a
black background.

Stephen says FOR A YOUNG MAN
IN HIS TWENTIES,
HE HAD AS GOOD AN EDUCATION
IN ECONOMICS AS ANYONE.
HE WENT TO GRADUATE
SCHOOL AT HARVARD.
HE WAS QUALIFIED TO
DO HIS DOCTORATE.
HE DECIDED NOT TO, AND
HE GOT A MASTERS THERE.
BUT WHEN HE TURNED
UP IN OTTAWA IN 1949,
AT THE AGE OF, WHAT, 30,
THEY OFFERED HIM A JOB
IN THE DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE,
WHICH HE TURNED DOWN.
HE DIDN'T WANT TO BE A
BORING CIVIL SERVANT.
BUT HE WAS QUALIFIED.

Allan says IT'S ONE THING TO
KNOW ABOUT A SUBJECT
IT'S ANOTHER TO BE
KIND OF INTERESTED.
AND YOU ACTUALLY
SAY HE -

The caption changes to “Christina McCall. Trudeau and Our Times, Vol. 2.”

Christina says HE DELIBERATELY WENT AFTER
THIS EDUCATION, THOUGH.
WE ALL SHOULD
REMEMBER, AT THAT TIME,
ECONOMISTS WERE NOT THE
PRIESTHOOD THEY ARE NOW.
I THINK I REMEMBER A
STATISTIC THAT THERE
WERE THREE ECONOMISTS IN
THE PROVINCE OF QUEBEC,
THAT'S ALL, IN 1944,
WHEN HE WENT DOWN THERE.

Allan says MM-HMM.
ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS
WASN'T A BIG PART
OF THE CULTURE
AT THE TIME.

Christina says NO.
THREE FRENCH SPEAKING ONES.
FOR HIM, THIS WAS A WAY
INTO THE POWER WORLD,
AS WE TALKED ABOUT LAST
TIME, HIS INTEREST IN POWER,
TO LEARN ECONOMICS,
TO FIND OUT WHAT GAVE
THE ENGLISH THEIR EDGE.
AND HE WENT AFTER THAT.
AND HE STUDIED WITH A
WHOLE RANGE OF ECONOMISTS,
AND WAS REALLY ABLE TO
EXAMINE THE IDEAS THAT BECAME
SO IMPORTANT IN THE
'70s, THE OPPOSING IDEAS.
BUT THE DOMINANT IDEAS
WERE THE KEYNESIAN IDEAS
OF THE POST-WAR PERIOD.

Allan says IF YOU TALK TO
A LOT OF LEADERS,
BUSINESS AND POLITICAL
LEADERS TODAY,
THEY WILL SAY THAT THE
TRUDEAU LEGACY CLEARLY
WAS LAYING THE SEEDS FOR THE
DEFICIT AND THE DEBT THAT
HAS GROWN TO THE PROPORTION
AND SIZE THAT IT IS TODAY.
BUT THIS ISN'T YOUR READ.
THIS WASN'T A PROBLEM THAT
WAS A LACK OF MINDFULNESS
ON THE PART OF TRUDEAU, IN TERMS
OF FOCUSSING ON THE DEFICIT.

Stephen says OUR FEELING IS HE DIDN'T
LIKE HANDLING ECONOMIC
ISSUES BECAUSE HE
COULDN'T CONTROL THEM.
HE'S A COMPETITOR, AS
CHRISTINA WAS SAYING BEFORE.
HE'S VERY COMPETITIVE, AND
HE LIKES TO BE ABLE TO WIN.
ECONOMIC ISSUES ARE
ALWAYS WITH YOU.
THERE IS ALWAYS A PROBLEM
WITH TOO MUCH INFLATION,
TOO MUCH UNEMPLOYMENT.
SO HE REALLY DISLIKED
HAVING TO DEAL WITH THEM,
COMPARED TO THE
CONSTITUTION,
WHERE YOU COULD GET THE
CLAUSE 23 RIGHT, YOU KNOW,
CHANGE THE PUNCTUATION, YOU
KNOW, HE COULD MASTER THAT.
SO HE DIDN'T LIKE
ECONOMIC ISSUES.

Christina says NO, BUT HE ALSO CAME INTO
POWER AT THE VERY MOMENT
WHEN THE LIBERAL HOUR WAS
ENDING, AND WHEN THE KEYNESIAN
SOLUTION TO HOW TO MANAGE AN
ECONOMY NO LONGER WORKED.
HE WAS ELECTED THE SAME YEAR
THAT NIXON WAS ELECTED.
AND WE TEND TO
FORGET THAT.
WE SEE THAT AT THE HEIGHT OF
THE '60s, EUPHORIA, BOOM,
ALL OF THOSE THINGS, BUT IT
WAS THE MOMENT OF DECLINE.
SO ALL THE ECONOMICS THAT HE
HAD BOUGHT INTO, IN EFFECT,
THOUGH HE KNEW THE
OTHER THEORIES,
EXPLODED OVER THE NEXT
THREE OR FOUR YEARS.

Allan says THERE'S NO QUESTION
THROUGHOUT THE WESTERN WORLD
THERE WAS A CRISIS OF THE
DEFICIT AND TRUDEAU WASN'T
RUNNING THOSE
OTHER COUNTRIES.
BUT HAVING SAID THAT, HE
WAS THE GUY WHO, IN 1979,
IN THE ELECTION
SAID, YOU KNOW,
LET'S NOT BE HYSTERICAL AND
OBSESSED WITH THE DEFICIT,
AT THE VERY TIME THE
TORIES, FOR EXAMPLE,
WERE SAYING THIS IS A PROBLEM
WE HAVE TO GRAPPLE WITH.

Stephen says YEAH, BUT JUST TO GO
BACK A BIT BEFORE '79,
THROUGHOUT THE '70s, ONE
OF THE MAJOR PREMISES
OF LIBERALS IN POWER
GOT REALLY SHATTERED.
THE PREMISE WAS THE ECONOMY IS
GOING TO KEEP GROWING FOREVER,
AND WE WOULD BE ABLE TO MAKE
CANADA A MORE JUST SOCIETY
BY SHARING THE PIE
MORE EQUALLY.

Allan says RIGHT.

Stephen says BUT THE AMERICAN ECONOMY,
TO WHICH CANADA WAS LINKED,
LIKE A CABOOSE BEING
PULLED ALONG BY A TRAIN,
ITSELF, RAN INTO TROUBLE
WITH THE VIETNAM WAR.
SO CANADA, NECESSARILY, GOT
INTO A LOT OF ECONOMIC TROUBLE.
THEN THERE WAS
THE OPEC CRISIS.
YOU KNOW, OIL PRICES GOING
UP, AND STAGFLATION.
SO THE WHOLE LIBERAL IDEA
OF HOW TO RUN THE COUNTRY,
WHICH IS YOU HAVE THE
FINANCE DEPARTMENT LOOKING AFTER
THE ARITHMETIC WHILE
WE DO THE GLITZY THINGS -
UNEMPLOYMENT
INSURANCE, MEDICARE,
ALL THE NICE THINGS -
WAS SHATTERED.
AND THEY RAN INTO THESE
PROBLEMS NOBODY FIGURED
COULD HAPPEN SIMULTANEOUSLY,
LIKE UNEMPLOYMENT
AND INFLATION TOGETHER.
SO AT THE END OF THE '70s,
THEY WERE CERTAINLY IN TROUBLE.
ALTHOUGH THE DEFICIT
WASN'T YET A HUGE PROBLEM.
THAT WAS REALLY FOUR,
FIVE YEARS LATER AFTER
THAT TERRIBLE
RECESSION OF '81 TO '82.

Allan says BUT I CAN REMEMBER DOING
POLLING MYSELF IN 1982,
AND THE OVERWHELMING SENSE
YOU GOT FROM THE PUBLIC -
AND IT WAS AT THE ABSOLUTE
NADIR OF THE RECESSION OF
THAT PERIOD OF TIME WAS THAT
THE POPULATION SAID WE'VE
LEARNED A WHOLE BUNCH
OF LESSONS FOR HAVING
GONE THROUGH THESE
ECONOMIC PROBLEMS,
AND OUR POLITICAL
LEADERS HAVEN'T.
THEY HAVEN'T LEARNED THE
SAME KIND OF FRUGALITY;
THEY HAVEN'T LEARNED
THE SAME KIND OF SENSE.
I HAD ALWAYS BELIEVED TRUDEAU
WAS OUT OF TOUCH WITH THAT
COMMON SENSE, AND IT HAD
ITS MANIFESTATION DIRECTLY
IN HIS ECONOMIC
MANAGEMENT.
THAT ISN'T COMPLETELY YOUR
TAKEAWAY, THOUGH, IS IT?

Christina says WELL, WHAT HAPPENED IN THE
'70s IS A WHOLE LOT OF PEOPLE
CAME FORWARD WITH SOLUTIONS.
AND THIS WEIRD
BEHAVIOUR IN OTTAWA,
WHICH WAS OPPOSING VIEWS, TOOK
HOLD OF OPPOSING INSTITUTIONS.
SO INSTEAD OF THE WHOLE
GOVERNMENT REACTING
TO THE DECLINE OF KEYNESIANISM,
THE BANK OF CANADA
TOOK ONE POINT OF VIEW, THE
DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE, UNDER
JOHN TURNER AND SIMON
REISMAN, TOOK QUITE ANOTHER,
AND THEN THE P.M.O. RAN
TO CATCH UP BEHIND.

Allan says AND THEY ADOPTED
GALBRAITH.

Christina says AND THE THING
ABOUT GALBRAITH,
GALBRAITH REALLY
APPEALED TO TRUDEAU.
HE'S INTELLECTUAL, HE'S
ELEGANT, HE MOVES AMONG -

Stephen says HARVARD.

Christina says YEAH, HIGH SOCIETY OF THE
LIBERAL WORLD THAT PREVAILED
FROM ROOSEVELT'S
TIME UNTIL THE '70s,
UNTIL NIXON TOOK OVER THE
AMERICAN LIBERAL STATE.
SO THOSE WERE THE IDEAS THAT
WERE MOST APPEALING TO HIM.
BUT HE WENT OUT FRONTING
IDEAS WHILE HIS GOVERNMENT
WAS OPPOSING HIM,
IN EFFECT.
WITH THE FINANCE
DEPARTMENT TURNING RIGHT,
AND HIM BEING ADVISED BY HIS
OWN PEOPLE TO TURN LEFT,
AND I THINK WHAT THE PUBLIC
SENSED WAS NOBODY KNOWS
WHAT THEY ARE DOING.
AND I REMEMBER YOU
TELLING ME, AT THAT TIME,
THAT YOU BEGAN TO FIND
MORE PEOPLE SAYING THAT THEY
IDENTIFIED THEMSELVES AS
CONSERVATIVES THAN AS LIBERALS.
YOU SAW THE CHANGE AS AN
ABSOLUTE, LIKE A WAVE IT CAME.
AND THAT WAS AT THE
MOMENT, I THINK,
WHEN PEOPLE LOST FAITH THAT
HE KNEW WHAT HE WAS DOING.
I THINK THEY BELIEVED HE
KNEW WHAT HE WAS DOING
ON THE CONSTITUTION.
THEY BELIEVED HE UNDERSTOOD
HOW TO HOLD CANADA TOGETHER.
AND FOR QUITE A LONG
TIME THEY THOUGHT,
THIS IS JUST SUCH A SMART
MAN THAT WE'RE OKAY WITH HIM.
THEY GOT HIM BACK IN 1980
BECAUSE OF CLARK SEEMED NOT.

Allan says RIGHT.
HE OBVIOUSLY COULDN'T
HAVE BEEN AS BAD
BECAUSE LOOK WHAT WE
GOT WAS THE RESPONSE.

Stephen says BUT THERE'S ANOTHER THING
ABOUT TRUDEAU THAT I THINK
WE'RE SAYING IS
DIFFERENT.
WE SEE HIM AS BEING
PROFOUNDLY CONSERVATIVE.

Allan says IN FACT, YOU SAY HE
HAD TO BE CONVINCED
OF THE NATIONAL
ENERGY PROGRAM.
WHICH AGAIN, HIS DETRACTORS
WOULD SAY THAT WOULD BE CLASSIC
INTERVENTIONIST, LEFT
OF CENTRE OLD TRUDEAU.

Stephen says BUT WE MUSTN'T FORGET
THERE WAS A LIBERAL PARTY,
AND THERE WERE PEOPLE
ELECTED FROM AROUND
THE COUNTRY, MAINLY
EAST OF WINNIPEG,
BUT THE LIBERAL
CAUCUS WAS LEFTISH.
THEY WERE PUSHING
THE CABINET.
CABINET MINISTERS THEMSELVES
WANTED TO BE SEEN
TO BE DOING THINGS
FOR THE PUBLIC.
SO EVERYTHING ISN'T
HIS FAULT IN THE SENSE
ONLY HE MADE DECISIONS.
HE WAS UNDER A
LOT OF PRESSURE.

Allan says WHAT ABOUT REAGAN?
WHAT IMPACT DID REAGAN'S
ELECTION HAVE ON TRUDEAU
IN THE PUBLIC POLICY OUTPUT
OF TRUDEAU FROM THERE ON IN?

Christina says HE WAS OBVIOUSLY ABSOLUTELY
FASCINATED BY REAGAN
WHEN HE SAW THAT THIS WORKED.
THEIR FIRST
ENCOUNTER, I THINK,
WAS ONE OF THE GREAT
ENTERTAINING MOMENTS
IN CANADIAN POLITICS
BECAUSE REAGAN,
IN HIS ANECDOTAGE BEGAN
TO TELL TRUDEAU STORIES.
AND THE PROBLEM WITH
TRUDEAU IS HE DOESN'T KNOW
AMERICAN REFERENCE POINTS.
SO HE DIDN'T GET
THE STORIES.
ONE OF THE FIRST
STORIES HAD TO DO
WITH A COUPLE OF
ISRAELI SOLDIERS.
AND REAGAN USED
THE WORD CHUTZPAH.
WELL, THIS MEANS
NOTHING TO SOMEBODY
WHO HAS NOT BEEN TURNED ON TO
NEW YORK FOR THEIR WHOLE LIVES.

Allan says SURE.

Christina says BUT I THINK GRADUALLY,
GRADUALLY HE BEGAN TO SEE
THIS GUY IS A VERY
SUCCESSFUL POLITICIAN.
AND THIS WAS TAUGHT TO
HIM BY ALAN GOTTLIEB,
WHO HAD BEEN SENT TO
WASHINGTON AS AMBASSADOR,
AND WHO UNDERSTOOD AMERICAN
SOCIETY A GOOD DEAL BETTER.
AND HE GOT TRUDEAU TO LOOK
AT REAGAN ON TELEVISION.
HE'D NEVER SEEN
HIM ON TELEVISION.
YOU KNOW, THIS IS
ASTONISHING TO US.
AND HE WAS VERY, VERY
IMPRESSED WITH HIS
CAPACITIES, AND BEGAN
TO THINK, I GATHER,
WHAT CAN I LEARN
ABOUT HIM?

Allan says IN TERMS OF BEING A
CONSUMMATE POLITICIAN.

Stephen says NOW, TRUDEAU MADE
REAGAN VERY MAD.

Allan says TRUDEAU MADE ALL THE
AMERICAN PRIME MINISTERS MAD.

Stephen says THERE'S A WONDERFUL
MOMENT IN A SUMMIT,
BEHIND CLOSED DOORS,
JUST THE SEVEN LEADERS,
PLUS THE COMMON MARKET MAN,
WHERE THEY WERE TALKING
ABOUT THE WAY TO DEAL
WITH THE SOVIETS.
AND TRUDEAU AND MITTERRAND
OPPOSED THATCHER AND REAGAN
ON HOW TOUGH YOU SHOULD
BE WITH THE SOVIETS.
AND TRUDEAU GET REAGAN SO
MAD THAT REAGAN ACTUALLY
TALKED FOR 20 MINUTES WITHOUT
USING ANY CUE CARDS.

Allan says WITHOUT NANCY.

Stephen says AND THE ADVISORS OF REAGAN
WERE JUST ASTONISHED
BECAUSE THEY'D PRODUCED
THESE BRIEFING BOOKS
FOR HIM THE NIGHT BEFORE,
AND HE HADN'T READ THEM.

Allan says EXTEMPORANEOUS TALK
WAS UNUSUAL, EH?

Stephen says HE HADN'T READ HIS BRIEFING
NOTES BECAUSE HE WATCHED
“THE SOUND OF MUSIC” THAT
NIGHT ON TELEVISION.
BUT NEVERTHELESS, TRUDEAU
GOT HIM GOING SO MUCH
THAT HE WAS ABLE TO DEAL WITH
AN ISSUE QUITE COHERENTLY.

Allan says NOW, IF YOU LISTEN
TO BRIAN MULRONEY,
OR A LOT OF THE QUEBEC
NATIONALISTS TODAY,
THEY WOULD SEE TRUDEAU
AS THE REAL BAD GUY
IN TERMS OF CURRENT PROBLEMS
THAT RELATE TO A LACK
OF CONSTITUTIONAL
FULFILLMENT.
YET, YOU SENSE THAT HE STILL
SEES THIS AS HIS GREATEST GLORY,
PATRIATING THE CONSTITUTION
AND BRINGING IN THE CHARTER.
CHRISTINE, DO YOU SENSE, IS
HE STILL OBSESSED WITH THAT?
IS THAT HIS LEGACY
IN HIS MIND?

Christina says I THINK IT IS HIS LEGACY,
AND THE DISTURBANCE FOR HIM
OF IT PERHAPS BEING
OVERTURNED IS VERY GREAT.
BUT I THINK WE REALLY MUST
REMEMBER THAT IN 1984,
WHEN HE RETIRED, THERE
WAS CONSTITUTIONAL PEACE.
AND THE WAR WAS
HEATED UP AGAIN -

Allan says BUT THE NATIONALISTS
WOULD SAY THAT, LOOK,
THERE WAS AN EXPLICIT - NOT
EVEN IMPLICIT - UNDERSTANDING
THAT IF WE VOTE NO IN THE
REFERENDUM, THESE GUYS,
TRUDEAU IN PARTICULAR,
PROMISED RENEWED FEDERALISM.
AND HE NEVER
DELIVERED ON THAT.

Stephen says AND TRUDEAU WOULD SAY
I DID WHAT I PROMISED.
BECAUSE I SAID I WAS GOING
TO RENEW FEDERALISM, I DID.
I'VE GOT THE PATRIATION.
I'VE GOT THE
AMENDING FORMULA.

Allan says BUT WITHOUT QUEBEC'S
INVOLVEMENT.

Stephen says AND I'VE GOT THE CHARTER.
AND HE WOULD SAY IN TERMS
OF QUEBEC'S INVOLVEMENT,
I HAD 75 MEMBERS FROM QUEBEC IN
MY CAUCUS WHO WERE PART OF IT.

Allan says VON DUES WOULD SET
THE NATIONALISTS.

Stephen says WELL, DEPENDS ON WHAT
KIND OF NATIONALISTS.
SEPARATISTS ARE NOT
GOING TO ACCEPT ANYTHING.

Christina says VON DUES IS ELECTED
BY QUEBECERS.

Allan says BUT AGAIN, I'M NOT PUTTING
MY OWN VIEWS FORWARD,
HEAVEN KNOWS, I'M AN
OBJECTIVE NEWSMAN THESE DAYS.
BUT WHEN QUEBECERS TALK,
OR THE NATIONALIST WING
OF QUEBEC SOCIETY TALKS ABOUT
THE HUMILIATION THAT QUEBEC
HAS SUFFERED, IT'S
ALWAYS IN REFERENCE
TO THE TRUDEAU YEARS.

Stephen says CHRISTINA WAS
JUST SAYING THAT.
MULRONEY MANAGED TO SCRAPE
OFF THE SCABS AND ROUSE
THE SENSE OF HUMILIATION IN
1987, WHEN IN 1984, '85, '86,
I THINK YOUR
POLLS, YOU'LL REMEMBER,
SHOWED MOST QUEBECERS
APPROVED OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL
DEAL THAT TRUDEAU
HAD MADE.
SO IT WAS WELL AFTER
TRUDEAU RETIRED
THAT ALL THIS ANGER
WAS HEATED UP.
SO I'M NOT SURE IF
IT'S FAIR - I MEAN,
I KNOW YOU'RE RIGHT, THE
PEOPLE ARE MAD AT TRUDEAU
IN QUEBEC, FOR SURE.
BUT IT'S PROBABLY
A FALSE CHARGE.

Allan says ARE WE A BETTER COUNTRY
FOR PIERRE TRUDEAU?
I MEAN, WHAT'S
HIS LEGACY TODAY?

Stephen says I THINK THE CHARTER
IS A VERY MAJOR LEGACY,
ESPECIALLY FOR
ETHNIC CANADIANS,
OR MINORITY GROUP CANADIANS
WHO SEE THAT THEY HAVE
GREATER RIGHTS BECAUSE
OF THE CHARTER.
BUT I THINK WE'RE A FAR LESS
INDEPENDENT AND AUTONOMOUS
AND COHERENT COUNTRY BECAUSE
OF THE - TRUDEAU LEFT US
VULNERABLE TO THE
DAMAGE MULRONEY DID
WITH THE FREE
TRADE AGREEMENT.
CANADIANS WEREN'T
AWARE OF THE THREAT.
AND WE WENT INTO
THAT DEAL,
AND NOW WE ARE IN
FAR WORSE SHAPE.

Allan says CHRISTINA, DO YOU
LIKE HIM BETTER NOW
THAN WHEN YOU STARTED THIS
RESEARCH 15 YEARS AGO?

Christina says NO.
I'VE ALWAYS HAD MIXED
EMOTIONS ABOUT HIM.
AND THEY CONTINUE.
AND THERE ARE THINGS ABOUT
HIM THAT I ADMIRE ENORMOUSLY,
AND THERE ARE THINGS ABOUT
HIM THAT ARE SO EXASPERATING
THAT I FIGURE I NEVER WANT
TO TYPE HIS NAME AGAIN
INTO MY WORD PROCESSOR.
HE'S A COMPLEX PERSON, AND I
HAVE COMPLEX RESPONSES TO HIM.
BUT I THINK, ON A
MORE EPHEMERAL LEVEL,
I THINK HE WAS GOOD FOR
CANADIANS BOTH FRENCH
SPEAKING AND ENGLISH
SPEAKING BECAUSE
HE GAVE US A SENSE THAT
WE COULD BE GREAT.
THAT THERE WAS A
GREATNESS IN US,
AND SO THAT'S A SENSE
OF OUR OWN CHARACTER,
AND WE WERE MORE
INTERESTING THAN
WE PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT
OURSELVES TO BE.
I BELONG TO A FAMILY
THAT HAS BEEN IN CANADA
FOR A VERY LONG TIME,
AND I THINK HE ENHANCED
CANADIANS' LIVES.
SO ON THAT BASIS,
WE HAD A GREAT MAN.
HE WAS DIFFICULT.
HE'S LEFT US IN
THIS CONDITION,
BUT I THINK IT
WAS A GOOD THING.

Allan says BUT THE CHANCES ARE HE
WILL CONTINUE TO RETURN.
THANK YOU BOTH VERY
MUCH FOR JOINING ME.

Stephen says THANKS A LOT, ALLAN.

Watch: Christina McCall and Stephen Clarkson on Trudeau