"This is like deja vu all over again."
The dictum hit me like a shockwave: Buy into President Obama’s healthcare plan or be considered a criminal.
I had seen it before; a time when another young legal scholar became a sensation. Once he was in power a nation waited breathlessly for him to deliver a new age. He did so with guile and determination.
That man was Pierre Elliott Trudeau, and decades after he left office Canada is still reeling.
Trudeaumania hit Canada in the mid-60s. Trudeau was then a young self-admitted Marxist and Harvard grad (yes Harvard!). He was as brilliant as he was ruthless, and he used his Red Guard elitists to sweep away the Liberal establishment. His first priority: healthcare and financial reform.
It didn’t hurt Trudeau that he was French Canadian. That allowed his supporters and the mainstream media to claim that political opponents were acting out of centuries old prejudices.
Trudeau’s liberal government called themselves “libertarian socialists” and their near dictatorial rule spanned from 1968 to 1984. During that time the Prime Minister set his sights on building what he called a “Just Society.”
“It seems evident to me that the regime of free enterprise has shown itself incapable of adequately resolving problems posed in education, health, housing, full employment, etc.,” said Trudeau.
He backed up his words by implementing the Canada Health Act. It prohibited user fees and extra billing by doctors. Yes, the Prime Minister wrote into law that doctors could only make what the government decided they should be paid. Many of Canada’s best doctors immigrated to the United States.
But Trudeau had loftier goals than just healthcare. He declared that intervention needed to be administered, "at the first sign of national economic weakness: to stimulate buying by putting more money in the hands of consumers.”
To that end Trudeau dictated that, “The State should distribute, extensively and resolutely, payments of all kinds: direct aid, unemployment insurance, agricultural assistance and various grants.”
Nationalization and the Suspension of Habeas Corpus
The Trudeau government launched a wave of nationalization programs. None were larger or more devastating than the National Energy Program (NEP) enacted in 1980.
The NEP was set up to remedy spiraling oil costs for Canadians by forcing oil companies operating in Western Canada to sell their petroleum at a discount to the Eastern provinces. It was nothing short of larceny. Eastern Canada received Western oil at a vast discount. It is estimated that the NEP cost Alberta $100 billion. It was such a blatant seizure of wealth that many of us in Alberta joined a secessionist political party.
The March 11, 2008, American Thinker sums up the Trudeau years: “(He) nationalized 25 percent of the petroleum industry and ruined the nascent boom economy of conservative Alberta. He ensured minority group representation at every level of government and instituted French language requirements in remote English-speaking corners of the country. He turned away from the United States and toward a "third way", vowing to make Canada more European, including the imposition metric system.”
Trudeau did all of that and much more.
In October 1970, the terrorist group FLQ kidnapped British Trade Commissioner James Cross and Quebec’s Minister of Labour Pierre Laporte.
When CBC reporter Tim Ralfe asked him how far he was willing to go to stop the FLQ, Trudeau replied: "Just watch me."
Three days later, on Oct. 16, 1970, the Cabinet under Trudeau’s chairmanship advised the governor general to invoke the War Measures Act. The result was widespread deployment of Canadian Forces troops throughout Quebec and the suspension of habeas corpus, giving far-reaching powers of arrest to police.
The Trudeau government gave the appearance that martial law had been imposed. With far-reaching powers police arrested and detained, without bail, 497 individuals. All but 62 were later released without charges.
Four decades have passed since Trudeau imposed martial law on Canada and it has been 30 years since he nationalized Canada’s oil industry. But even south of the border the cataclysm still echoes. It gains a growing resonance as an American president unleashes his plans for a just society.
“The Obama election’s implications for us are possibly just as fundamental as was Trudeau’s for Canada,” said Michael Krauss, professor of Law at George Mason University. “What if we became Canada?”
I have bad news for Krauss; America is going down that same ruinous path with President Obama. It is hard to conclude otherwise, especially in light of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro declaring last month that the passage of American healthcare reform was "a miracle" and a major victory for Obama’s presidency.
It seems Obama is the kind of leader that Cuba can embrace. (Castro certainly had a close bond with Trudeau. Before he attended Trudeau’s state funeral in the autumn of 2000 he declared three days of mourning in Cuba.)
Just how far to the left President Obama will steer America remains to be seen, but the fact that America is seriously tilting to port is undeniable. Riding roughshod over the Constitution is just one step. Others include the president’s determination to grow government and redistribute the nation’s wealth.
Furthermore, it is naïve to think that Obama will be gone in less than three years. Many a Canadian, especially us out here in the West, believed Trudeau would be a one-term prime Minister. But Canadians got used to collecting Trudeau dollars. By the time he faced his first re-election in 1972 enough Canadians had bought into the prime Minister’s “Just Society” that he would go on to serve another 12 years.
Look for the Dollar to go Loonie
When Trudeau took office in 1968 the Canadian dollar was selling at par with its U.S. counterpart. By the time Trudeau left office in 1984 the Canadian dollar was selling for just 70 cents U.S. That was the Canadian dollar’s first significant devaluation in a century.
In fact, during the Trudeau years the Canadian dollar lost more than half of its purchasing power. Canadians got healthcare, but not one of them could say it was free.
The same scenario could unfold in the U.S., especially if the midterm elections don’t go the Republicans’ way next fall. It is amazing what the majority will sometimes accept and even encourage. I know because I have seen it happen. Not in Cuba… right here in Canada.
Action to take: Accumulate 1-ounce Canadian Gold Maple Leaf, American Gold Eagle and South African Gold Krugerrand coins.
Yours for real wealth and good health,
Myers’ Energy and Gold Report