Friday, March 24, 2006

The Prime Ministers: Wilfrid Laurier

This is the first of a few posts on correspondence I've had re CPAC's The Prime Ministers television series:
When a Quebec supporter complained few immigrants were francophone, Laurier said, We trust in the long run they will come out right true Canadians.

I love this line. That was the highlight of the show, so I thought I'd lead with it. I'll be pullin' that one out in a future conversation with Dad, you can be sure, that, and the “tough” people that made Western Canada under him. (Canadians are English and French... Pffft!) ;-)

I was struck by how strongly people need heroes. The man described for most of the thirty minutes was well beyond his considerable 6' frame. Chretien said he was an institution in his family, and clearly he isn't alone. (I found him very convincing in that moment, by the way; very sincere. I didn't think much of his comments overall, but when he spoke about francophones talking their place after Laurier, I felt the importance of it.)

But clearly he was human. I mean, however reverently it was read, Laurier's thoughts on politics were clearly that the end - his “certain object” - justifies the means, which “could not be approved of”. I don't agree, but acknowledge that I prefer to think in the ideal, and have long since ruled out a career in politics as a result. :-)

Finally, all the comments on Laurier's appearance went over the top, eventually; somewhere around the comment that he probably spent a lot of time in front of a mirror. I certainly wouldn't want to be remembered that way.

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