The past is to be respected and acknowledged, but not to be worshipped. It is our future in which we will find our greatness
For 15 years Pierre Trudeau was the prime minister of this country. Some loved him and some hated him but the impact he left on Canada and the world is undisputedly good.
I chose Pierre Trudeau as my eminent person this year largely because of his son, Justin Trudeau who is our current prime minister. For the first time in Canadian history a father and son have both become our leader. What about the Trudeaus made them such good politicians? This is one question I hope to answer while researching my person.
|West Coast Canadian
|Career in Science
||Career in Law
||Upper Middle Class
Pierre Trudeau likely passed on some of his remarkable skills that helped him achieve eminence as Canada’s 3rd longest serving prime minister. A politician’s job is to deal with people and this is exactly what Pierre excelled at. From all his years of travel and exploration worldwide, Pierre developed extraordinary social skills that were beneficial for a career as a public leader. The Globe and Mail put it better than I ever could in a memorial after his death.
“Mr. Trudeau was different. He hated to compromise. He refused to be mealy-mouthed. He loved to swim against the tide. He had a vision of Canada and he stuck to it. In his dreams, he saw a Canada where everyone is equal under the law, where no one need suffer hatred or discrimination, where no group is above another. It was a wonderful dream and he fought for it to his last breath. Canadians for generations will honour him for it.”
-The Globe and Mail, Sept 29, 2000
This quote summarizes quite well what I aspire to learn from Trudeau. His pure determination, bravery and selflessness are all things that I admire and one day hope to have in common with him.
Many of Pierre’s talents also relate to my own goals in TALONS. I admire his supreme social and leadership skills. Pierre Trudeau had an uncanny ability to inspire hope inside people and I desire to develop some of these leadership skills that made him such an excellent politician through my years in TALONS.
The largest barrier that does stand between Pierre and me is the different parts of Canada we were raised in. Pierre was raised in Quebec at a time of separatism and held the beliefs that Quebec should leave Canada. It was only in the midpoint of his career when he changed his mind and began to push for a “single” Canada. Being a British Columbian, I will definitely struggle with seeing from the separatist point of view as I have never been to Quebec and have almost no understanding of the Quebecois culture. Throughout this project I hope to overcome this by making an effort to read Quebec separatist forums to understand another way of thinking.
Pierre Trudeau was a Canadian politician, and an excellent one at that. Without his contributions, Canada would be missing many of the aspects that are such a key part of our international reputation. As the Minister of Justice, Pierre decriminalized homosexuality, legalized contraception and abortion, and introduced new gun safety laws. These things were unseen in the world and Canada acted as a flagship for many of these revolutionary ideas.
Once he became Prime Minister, the changes he made became much more drastic. As Prime Minister, he dealt with international politics, developed Canada as a bilingual nation and made Canada a friend to as many countries as possible. Trudeau even managed to become friends with Fidel Castro, the Cuban communist dictator. Pierre Trudeau made Canada a role model for other nations across the world for human rights, LGTBQ+ acceptance, immigration and unity as a country.
In accomplishing these feats, Pierre ran into many quandaries as the result of politics. One of the most notable of these was the October Crisis where he put an end to a terrorist group in Quebec by enacting the War Measures act, which gave police far more power than usual. Many Canadians disliked having rights temporally stripped from them and this further fueled the love-hate view of Trudeau.
The love-hate view Canada had of Trudeau is partly what made him so special compared to other politicians of his time. No prime minister in Canadian history has been so loved yet so hated at the same time. Trudeau is special simply because he did what he believed was right. Politicians are generally known for trying to appeal to their voters desires but Pierre did little of this. In my opinion, actually caring about our country over voting approval ratings, is something that desperately needs to be brought back into Canadian politics.
The largest piece of wisdom that can be taken away for Pierre Trudeau is a quote of his which should be used by all politicians going into the future.
A man who tries to please all men by weakening his position or compromising his beliefs, in the end has neither position nor beliefs.
My next goal for this project is to hopefully interview my grandparents. My grandparents have a unique view on Pierre that captures the public’s opinion of him very well. My grandma loved Trudeau and heavily supported him while my grandpa was the opposite and despised him. Understanding why people has such differing opinions of him would be very useful in further understanding the legacy of Pierre Trudeau.
Citations in MLA
“Biography – TRUDEAU, PIERRE ELLIOTT – Volume XXII (1991-2000) – Dictionary of Canadian Biography.” Home – Dictionary of Canadian Biography, University of Toronto, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/trudeau_pierre_elliott_22E.html.
Milke, Mark. “The Trudeau Family’s Love of Tyrants.” Macleans.ca, 4 Oct. 2018, http://www.macleans.ca/opinion/the-trudeau-familys-love-of-tyrants/.
“Pierre Trudeau.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 2 Apr. 2014, http://www.biography.com/people/pierre-trudeau-9510956.
“Pierre Trudeau.” Pierre Trudeau – Wikiquote, en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Pierre_Trudeau.
“The Elements That Made Pierre Trudeau Great.” The Globe and Mail, 4 Apr. 2018, http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/the-elements-that-made-pierre-trudeau-great/article770090/.
Trudeau, Pierre Elliot. Memoirs. Mccelland and Steward, 1995.