The end of the se­xual re­vo­lu­tion, the start of a new awa­ke­ning?

La Jornada (Canada) - - PORTADA -

IMe­re weeks ago, Pri­me Mi­nis­ter Jus­tin Tru­deau spo­ke emp­ha­ti­cally about his in­sis­ten­ce on pro­per con­duct bet­ween the se­xes on Par­lia­ment Hill and, by ex­ten­sion, among Ca­na­dians ge­ne­rally.

Whi­le North Ame­ri­ca grap­ples with the ne­west va­ria­tion on age-old ten­sions bet­ween men and wo­men, Tru­deau was clear his ca­li­bra­tion point for se­xually-re­la­ted im­pro­priety is ze­ro to­le­ran­ce.

“We ha­ve no to­le­ran­ce for this ... we will not brush things un­der the rug ... we will ta­ke ac­tion im­me­dia­tely (by) mo­de­lling (what) we ho­pe to see across the Hill (and) th­roug­hout work­for­ces and work­pla­ces in Ca­na­da,” he told The Ca­na­dian Press.

Yet when the pri­me mi­nis­ter fa­ced me­dia ques­tions about a ca­bi­net mi­nis­ter who’d step­ped down over alle­ga­tions of se­xual ha­rass­ment, he com­plai­ned of being in un­char­ted te­rri­tory.

“I don’t ha­ve a ru­le­book that’s been han­ded down to me from Wil­frid Lau­rier as lea­der of the Li­be­ral Party on how to hand­le the­se si­tua­tions,” he said.

The ca­se of the ex-mins­ter (and the ca­se of a mem­ber of the pri­me mi­nis­ter’s of­fi­ce fa­cing si­mi­lar ac­cu­sa­tions) are in due pro­cess and need no furt­her com­ment he­re. Yet their very exis­ten­ce un­ders­co­res the dif­fi­culty Jus­tin Tru­deau fa­ces, in lar­ge mea­su­re be­cau­se of what for­mer pri­me mi­nis­ter Pie­rre Elliott Tru­deau brought about. The son must now man up to over­co­me his fat­her.

Pie­rre Tru­deau cer­tainly didn’t crea­te the se­xual re­vo­lu­tion in Ca­na­da. He was, though, its pu­blic, le­gal and po­li­ti­cal ca­talyst. The sta­te has no bu­si­ness in the be­drooms of the na­tion, he fa­mously de­cla­red. As fe­de­ral jus­ti­ce mi­nis­ter, then as pri­me mi­nis­ter, his bu­si­ness was dis­mantling exis­ting mo­dels of se­xual pro­priety.

For many at the ti­me, Pie­rre Tru­deau’s un­der­mi­ning and de­mo­li­tion of se­xual mo­res cons­ti­tu­ted the des­truc­tion of mi­llen­nia of Ju­deo-Christian de­fen­ces against li­ber­ti­nism. Ot­hers wel­co­med it as li­be­ra­ting eli­mi­na­tion of im­pe­di­ments to hu­man se­xual flou­ris­hing. Tem­po­ra­rily, Tru­deau the li­be­ra­tor won. History ap­pea­red to be on his si­de, not on the si­de of the tra­di­tio­nal va­lues.

Alt­hough Pie­rre Tru­deau died in Sep­tem­ber 2000, the cour­se he map­ped for Ca­na­da long ago has de­fi­ned what’s po­li­ti­cally, so­cially and cul­tu­rally pos­si­ble to co­llec­ti­vely think about se­xual con­duct. We fo­llo­wed his path from 1967 un­til Sept. 27, 2017.

That day the mu­sic died for the se­xual re­vo­lu­tion. Hugh Hef­ner ex­pi­red. His death at 91 con­fir­med how old, how en­fee­bled, how irra­tio­nal, how, frankly, creepy the em­bed­ded re­vo­lu­tion really was.

Whet­her by the ac­ti­ve hand of God or not, the Har­vey Weins­tein scan­dal erup­ted on the front pa­ge of the New York Ti­mes 11 days la­ter. En­suing images crea­ted a ta­bleau vi­vant of how re­vo­lu­tions die: cor­pu­lent, co­rrupt, ri­pe with so­lip­sis­tic cruelty, qua­si-bar­ba­ric.

Now we meet the maels­trom of con­fu­sion and op­por­tu­nity that em­bo­dies the de­li­very of one his­to­ri­cal era in­to anot­her. We saw it re­la­ti­vely re­cently when the 1917 Rus­sian Re­vo­lu­tion ca­me to its irre­vo­ca­ble end in 1989.

A key dif­fe­ren­ce is that its sig­na­tu­re event was brea­king down the Ber­lin Wall as a har­bin­ger of free­doms long de­nied. We, by con­trast, fa­ce re­lear­ning how to re­build so­lid boun­da­ries be­cau­se t feels like good for­tu­ne to watch this full cir­cle mo­ment when the son must grap­ple with what the fat­her wrought.

what be­gan as an exer­ci­se in li­berty foun­de­red in li­ber­ti­nism for far too long.

As so­meo­ne old enough to see the cir­cle co­me fully around, I’m just ba­rely wi­se enough to re­frain from gi­ving ad­vi­ce on re­cons­truc­tion. But the­rein lies the cha­llen­ge for Jus­tin Tru­deau. In­deed, for all of us. Whe­re do Ca­na­dians learn what they no lon­ger know? Whe­re do they go to re-know what they no lon­ger know they do not know?

Tru­deau deser­ves our res­pect for being wi­lling to lead the quest. But the­re are so­me fair ques­tions to ask him:

Whe­re will he find the ru­le­book he cra­ves? What li­mi­ta­tions does he fa­ce as the son of the fat­her who ca­taly­zed the abo­li­tion of age-old un­ders­tan­dings? And what are we to do with the le­gacy of the el­der Tru­deau, who left us ha­ving to stand and watch this very dif­fi­cult and un­cer­tain fu­tu­re un­fold? -TROYMEDIA

Ta­nishq Sur­ya­vans­hi is a me­di­cal stu­dent at McMas­ter Uni­ver­sity and a con­tri­bu­tor to Evi- den­ceNet­work.ca. He is a co-lea­der of the Ra­pid Res­pon­se Team at the On­ta­rio Me­di­cal Stu­dents As­so­cia­tion (OMSA) and is a re­sear­cher with the Glo­bal Stra­tegy Lab at U Ot­ta­wa and York U. Mi­chael K. Par­vi­zian is a first-year me­di­cal stu­dent at McMas­ter Uni­ver­sity, with in­ter­ests in health po­licy and re­sour­ce uti­li­za­tion. He is a mem­ber of the Ra­pid Res­pon­se Team at the OMSA, and a cu­rrent Queen Eli­za­beth Scho­lar in Health Sys­tems re­search.

www.la­jor­na­da.ca

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