Friday, September 18, 2015

When is a Dynasty Not a Dynasty?

There has been much talk during this election campaign, about Justin Trudeau's famous father, and a notion that he believes that becoming prime minister is his birthright.  There were similar attacks on Michael Ignatieff, because he descended from Russian royalty on his father's side and the famous Grant family of Canada on his mother's.

Apparently being born into prominent families means that you cannot possibly lead this country.  You're an "elite" and "out of touch".

However, has anyone addressed the political dynasty of Thomas Mulcair?  He likes to portray himself as just a regular guy, one of ten children, in a family struggling to get by.    However, the reality is much different.  
Before pretending to be "middle class", he loved reminding people that he was a descendant of Honore Mercier, a former premier of Quebec. (1)

He was right.  He is a descendant of the ninth premier, but the lineage goes much further and family connections, run much deeper.  

His mother was the daughter of Pierre Hurtubise and Jeanne Mercier.  Jeanne Mercier was the daughter of Paul-Emile Mercier and Marie-Louise Tache.  Paul-Emile Mercier was the son of Premier Honore Mercier and his second wife, Virginie St. Denis.

These are the things named after Honore Mercier:
-The Mercier Bridge that links the western part of the Island of Montreal with the South Shore;
- The town of Mercier, Quebec;
- Avenue Mercier, located in downtown Shawinigan, Quebec, Canada;
- The provincial electoral district of Mercier.
- The Mercier neighbourhood in Montreal.
- An elementary school named Honoré-Mercier in Montreal
- A high school named Honoré-Mercier in Montreal
- A hospital in Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec is named Hôpital Honoré-Mercier.
- Honoré Mercier Boulevard, located in the Quebec city center.
He also had a son Honore, who was the godfather of Tom Mulcair's mother; a cabinet minister and multi-term MNA in the Quebec Assembly.  His son followed suit.
A daughter of Honore's, Eliza Mercier, married Sir Jean Lomer Gouin, who became the 13th premier of Quebec and 15th Lietenant Governor. He also served as Justice Minister under William Lyon MacKenzie King.

He had these things named after him:
- Gouin Boulevard, the longest street on the Island of Montreal;
- Gouin Reservoir (In French: Réservoir Gouin), a man made collection of lakes in the center of the province of Quebec;
- Rue Gouin (Gouin Street) and Place Gouin, located in Shawinigan, Quebec, Canada;
- Rue Gouin (Gouin Street), located in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada;- The provincial district of Gouin;
- Lomer-Gouin, intra-provincial ferry services between Levis to Quebec City operate by Société des traversiers du Québec.
Sir Jean and Eliza had a son Paul who would also join the Quebec Liberal Party before leaving and forming his own.  Mulcair also belongs to the Chaveau line, making him a great-great-great-grandson of Pierre-Joseph-Olivier Chauveau, the 1st Premier of Quebec.

The list goes on.  He was a member of the Quebec elite and as such had many doors opened for him, and he expected them to be.  One of his mentors, and a person who had a great deal to do with advancing Mulcair's career, was Claude Ryan, former director of Le Devoir newspaper, and head of the Quebec Liberals.  He also knew how to use the press to his advantage.  Apparently, it was Ryan who got Thomas Mulcair his position with the Quebec Justice Department.

Thomas Mulcair did not come from humble beginnings.  Politics were in his DNA, along with a sense of privilege  Below is a screen shot of a story that appeared in The Daily in 2005, describing the experience of a stakeholder who had requested a meeting with Mulcair, when he was Minister of Environment.  He speaks of Mulcair's arrogance, demanding a clean limo and his continued sense of superiority.

When you watch those videos of Mulcair promoting private healthcare or espousing the virtues of Margaret Thatcher, he does not come off the smiling grandfather, but as someone  who clearly feels above his listeners.  Reading transcripts of debates in the NA, you also get that sense.  He was the closest thing to noble birth that you can get in this country, and he wanted to make sure that you never forgot that.

So when is a dynasty, a dynasty?  I guess only when it's linked to a Liberal leader. 

1. Community Besieged: The Anglophone Minority and the Politics of Quebec, By Garth Stevenson,  1999, Mcgill-Queens University Press, 0773518398


  1. Are you totally obsessed with this guy to go this deep and produce conspiracies. Will your next post link him with the illuminati and the Rothchilds?

    1. Nothing to do with obsession but fear that Canada is going to be stuck with another Harper, whether the name is actually Harper or Mulcair.. Fortunately, Canadians have woken up and even the press in Quebec is revealing what Mulcair's history really was when in the legislature. Very unflattering.

  2. I'm just having the blood of Premier Mercier was a huge asset to Mulcair when he was tarring roofs to pay for law school, maybe the ghost of Premier Mercier held the ladder for him.

    Its likely you miss the point entirely, its not that Justin Trudeau had a famous father that is the problem, so did Jack Layton, former Prime Minister Paul Martin, and Rachel Notley, everyone knew about that and nobody cared, because no one felt like they were trying to simply coast through life on they're family name, its what Justin did with his life up to the point of his becoming Liberal leader that has built his reputation as a flake. Look at Trudeau's achievements and Mulcair's and Mulcair out classes them in everyway.

    1. Justin Trudeau also worked. There is no doubt that Thomas Mulcair's family connections opened many doors for him. In fact, it was how he was chosen to run for the Quebec Liberals in 1994, in a safe "no" riding. If you follow his early career, he loved to toss his family name around, just as he liked to brag that he helped to draft NAFTA. Now eerily silent, as he paints himself as just a humble guy. What changed? The word "dynasty" is continually being used against Trudeau. But Mulcair has a much longer "dynasty". Let's bring that into the election narrative. Or I have a better idea. Let's drop it as an attack against Justin Trudeau.

  3. I'd like to float a theory if you'd be so kind as to indulge me.

    "Royals believe they are *destined* to rule, politicians believe they *deserve* to rule." ~Mark Steyn

    I think the above quote provides some insight not only into why politicians get so full of themselves but also why the Royal Family does not.

    A belief that you are destined to rule comes with it no compulsion to act. Whether you do something or not has little bearing on the fact you are destined for a specific role. Instead it comes with the feeling that you should do your duty. This, I believe, is a factor both in the grace with which the Royals keep themselves but also the extensive charitable activities they undertake.

    A belief that you deserve to rule, however, implies desire. If you deserve something the expectation is for you to prove it. And so a person with this belief is compelled to act often to maintain the fiction they have created. Strictly speaking this isn't a negative quality. A person who was elected and then felt they were undeserving of the position wouldn't do anybody any good since the only ethical thing to do would be to resign. We need our politicians to have a moderate belief in their deserving to rule.

    The trouble comes when a person believes they are both destined to rule and deserving of rulership. The Royal Family is somewhat isolated from having both traits by the hereditary nature of their office. In fact republicans often point out that the Royals don't deserve to rule. Good. The system's working. Think about it. If Royals really thought hereditary right was deserving of rulership then in the Middle Ages the idea of divine right would never have been proposed (as it would not have been needed to rule).

    Political dynasties are a completely different creature. Coming from an elite family they feel they are destined to rule. And once they attain political office the democratic legitimacy conferred convinces them that they deserve to rule. This destiny/deserving complex makes for a person that has little time for opposing views, or other people for that matter.

    1. That's interesting. We used to hear about "old money" and "new money" all the time, though it was really just about the true value given to that money. "New" liked to flaunt it, but "old" while living well, had learned to respect its potential. Many social democrats were wealthy people, like Roosevelt. The Kennedy's were wealthy but always felt that they had a responsibility to society. The royal family, you're right, do as well. Sometimes never having to worry about money, made you more appreciative and better able to look at those who didn't, not as competition, but as human beings. The Trudeau family was very generous, as no doubt the Merciers were. I guess they were also wise enough to know that if you didn't help society, that society would turn on you, as they are the majority..