Pierre Elliott Trudeau:
Friday, October 6, 2000
Jean Chrétien is proposing to, pardon the pun, remount Canadian geography.
We speak of the renaming of Canada's highest peak, Mount Logan, as Mount Pierre Elliott Trudeau. Now there have been complaints about the proposal from historical-geographical conservatives. What of poor Sir William Edmond Logan, 19th-century geologist extraordinaire and the first native-born Canadian scientist to be inducted into Britain's Royal Society? Couldn't Mr. Trudeau be given some unnamed geographical thing -- a national park or a coast-to-coast trail?
While we have a certain sympathy with keeping faith with place-name history, it is overwhelmed by our delight at being able to measure Canadian prime ministers' place in history geographically.
For example, Mount Logan is not just high but, like Mr. Trudeau, often ineffable. First thought to be 6,050 metres high, then 5,950, Logan was finally recalibrated in 1992 at 5,959. This is still not a fixed measure, since the continental plate on which the peak sits is still rising.
Assuming a Mount Trudeau is near the top of the scale, Brian Mulroney deserves one of the bunny ski hills at Mont Tremblant, Jean Chrétien should be given whatever is the highest sand dune on Sable Island that day and Kim Campbell, Joe Clark and John Turner each get a dry gully in the Alberta badlands.
As to the rest, we leave that to your imaginations.