Following a late evening visit from the ghost of his father (and former prime minister) Pierre Trudeau, current PM Justin Trudeau says his dad’s spectre was as blunt as his earthly figure – and shared a similarly obscure terminology.
“He told me I’d better not fuck this up,” the embattled leader said, relating the incident to a throng of reporters, clearly relieved to be speaking about something other than the recent departure of his closest adviser, and beset nature of his current administration.
“Then, when I told him that seemed a little harsh, he changed it to fuddle-duddle. As in, ‘For fuddle dude’s sake son, don’t fuck this up.'”
The unusual term is one Pierre Elliott Trudeau used as an example of what he might have been thinking, when he was accused of mouthing an obscenity towards opposition MPs in the House of Commons, in 1971. An allegation which would sound suspiciously likely, levelled as it was at Pierre “Watch Me” Trudeau.
The exhortatory ghost’s appearance comes as the junior Trudeau continues to suffer his way through a controversy that seems mostly of his own creation – albeit one that has also been seized on by a CPC party desperate to default their way into government on the backs of anything other than their own shaky platform, and by the NDP as an equally welcome break from their own travails. With a federal election looming in October, Pierre’s ghost appears to share the same fear as the majority of Canadians: That his son’s mistakes might allow the deeply disliked Conservative party back into power.
“He then repeated his favourite quote, about the essential ingredient of politics being timing,” Justin said, wincing as he recalled the exchange, “And made it clear that he thought my timing on the cabinet shift involving Ms. Wilson-Raybould was, well, a fuddle duddle up.”
The popular former prime minister then reportedly told his son that if the recent missteps led to Andrew Scheer becoming PM, Justin could expect nightly visits from the ghost. Unpleasant ones, whose focus would be comparing how many terms the two of them respectively served.
The prime minister confirmed that this is a threat he takes very seriously.
“And then he reminded me that people are more interested in ideas than dress, said he hoped the Expos were doing well, and was gone in a cloud of Eau Sauvage.”
Left unsaid by the PM was that his father’s laughter, presumably at the absurdity of the words “fuddle” and “duddle” being used together in a sentence, as well as the urbane nature of Canadian politics in general, echoed in the room for some time after he left.