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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 5, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta Thimdoy, 5, 1972 THE UTIIMIDGI HERALD _ Peter Desbarnts New images of Nixon and Trudeau OTTAWA Why lias Pierre Trudeau turned into liiclinnl Nixon? Why has Nixon appar- ently succeeded in turning Mm-, self Into Trudeau? The coincidence in time o! the election campaign on belli sides of Uie border encourages a comparison of the two na- tional leaders. It was a favorite Canadian pastime in 1908 when Trudcu and Nixon were elected within five months of each other. Most Canadians felt at that time that the comparison worked in Canada's favor. They saw their wealthy, intelligent and youthful-looking prime minister as the heir to the Ken- nedy tradition and North Amer- ica. Nixon, on the other hand, ap- peared to many Canadians to be something of an opportun- istic political hack. Influenced strongly by Ameri- can media and without exten- sive first-hand knowledge of tho American temperament or po- litical system, a majority of Canadians in 19C8 were sympa- thetic to Democrat Hubert H. Humphrey. The national mood was one of smug superiority In November, 1968, as Canadians watched Americans elect Nixon in one of the closest presiden- tial elections in history. Many Canadians probably thought of it as a "typically American" decision. As Nixon fought for his nar- row margin of victory, Tnideau was settling into office on a continuing trend of popularity. In the election month of June, 1968, the Gallup Poll had in- dicated that almost half the Ca- n a d i a n per that Trudeau would make a better prime minister than Conservative Ixiadcr Koberl Stanlichl. Only 21 per cent of the Gallup sample preferred StanficM. Bui last >Jay, when the Gal- lup Poll put Ihe same question lo Canadians, Trudcau's rating had slipped to 39 per cent while Stanlicld's had climbed to 23 per cent. When the Oct. 30 Canadian election date was announced Sept. 1 the Gallup rating for Trudeau's Liberals was 42, ex- actly 10 poinls ahead of the Conservatives but not enough to guarantee the re-election of a majority Liberal government. Ttiis situation now contrasts sharply with tlw one in the United Slates where various public opinion polls have in- dicated overwhelming support for Nixon. While interest in the Cana- dian eleclion focuses on Ihe un- certainty of a majority decision for Ihc Liberals, American commentators already have started to lay out the Demo- cratic party for post-election autopsies. One of the most striking as- pects of the comparison of the two campaigns, at this stage, is that Nixon apparently has suc- ceeded in crcaling the kind of campaign that Trudeau con- sciously set out to creale but lhal he has failed to achieve. The prime minister made it clear at the oulsel that he in- tended to treat his campaign as z dialogue with Canadians about the linguistic, economic and regional aspects of "na- tional integrity." The conversa- tion hopefully would be con- ducted quietly, removed from noisy partisan politics. So far, Trudeau has been unable to accomplish this. His recent shouting match with a heckler in tho streets of Van- couver now symbolizes the ex- tent of his failure. At the same time, Canadians are learning, to the aston- ishment of many, that the U.S. president Ls "doing a with great success. Nixon is ignoring the opposi- tion and campaigning as the embodiment of all the positive aspects of America's vision of itself, and he is doing it heau- llfully. More than one com- mentator already has described Nixon, in his current role, as the an ap- pellation that Trudeau had ap- propriated for his exclusive use in 1968. Why have the two national leaders, in the eyes of many Canadians, snitched roles sines their previous campaign? Part of the answer lies hi the different political structures of the two countries. In the United States, the Democrats appear to be suffer- ing from their selection of a candidate who is too left-of- centre for the taste of many Americans, and this has helped Nixon. In Canada, both Liber- als and Conservatives are battl- ing it out in the centre while the socialist New Democratic Party has occupied what many Canadians would describe as a "McGovern" position. The exis- tence of a viable third party in Canada at this point in history contributes to a more equal contest between the two larger parties at the centre. Another, obvious explanation relates to Trudeau's immense popularity in 1908. Since then, he has had no place to go but down. Starting from a less fa- vorable position in 1908, Nixon has had room to grow in public esteem and, more important, to appear to be gaining accept- ance by a growing number of Americans. These trends have developed to the point where, according to the polls, even such negative is- sues as the Vietnam war are helping Nixon because he ap- pears to be the most capable leader, while the principal negative issues of the Canadian election campaign, unemploy- ment and welfare, seem to be working against Trudeau. Looked at another way, the contrasts between Trudeau and Nixon in these "twin" cam- paigns illustrates (he dis- linctiveness of the political sys- tems that have developed in these two nations sharing a common frontier and many of the same objectives for their peoples. (Toronto Star Syndicate) Wheat price versions differ The Star-Phoenix U.S.-Common Market farm trade By David Haworth, The London Observer lie. "WOUI.D YOU IT? A kid with bracts on his teeth iuit told me HIS VOTE if joing