So it's not just me. Apparently Robert Fulford over at the National Post (of all places) has also picked up on some of the parallels between Trudeau and Barack Obama.
The Democrats' Trudeau?
... Like Trudeau, Obama seemed almost to come from nowhere: One day he was hardly known, the next he was a tidal wave. Like Trudeau in 1968, he stands for "change," which means anything you want it to. He appeals, as Trudeau did, to citizens who have lived through a time of fractious partisanship and yearn for a new era, with fresh energy and fresh optimism.
In the context of national politics, Obama looks young, as Trudeau did. Trudeau was 48 when he became prime minister; Obama will be 47 at his inauguration next winter, if it takes place. Both of them taught in law schools, showing a particular interest in constitutional law. Both have been called thoughtful, exceptionally smart and charismatic. Neither came with experience in large-scale administration.
He doesn't really indicate whether he thinks this is a good thing or not, but I was amused that he mentions a lot of the same points I made back here. To which I would add something that Fulford touches on but doesn't really explore:
Obama had a white mother and a black father.
Trudeau had an Anglo mother and a Francophone father.
From what I understand, being half French in Canada back then was about the equivalent of being half black in America today. On top of cultural prejudice on both sides, Trudeau was distrusted by the Quebecois because he was too connected to the Anglo establishment, and dismissed by the English for being too focused on Quebec issues.
Trudeau pretty much failed to use his bi-lingual and bi-cultural background as a bridge between Canada's two solitudes. His bitterness over seeing so many of his friends getting caught up in the Separatist movement, which he considered a colossal waste of time, resources and intellect, expressed itself in an attitude of anger, stubbornness and frustration that damaged English-French relations even as he tried to reconcile them.
Obama doesn't seem to have the same bitterness, so here's hoping he has a little more success in his bridge building efforts than Trudeau.