Friday, October 23, 2015

Trudeau Mania

I am old enough to remember Trudeau mania part 1. I was around 8 when I first saw Pierre Elliot Trudeau at the train station while he was doing his whistle stop campaign. I was very naïve about politics as a child. I grew up in New Brunswick and the only prime minster I ever knew was Pierre Elliot Trudeau, the only premier I knew was Richard Hatfield and the mayor of my town had been in power forever as well. I can’t remember Margaret and Pierre’s wedding, but I do remember him being quite the bachelor. Other memories include Justin Trudeau’s birth on Christmas Day and his brother also being born Christmas day (what are the odds of that?). I own a copy of the record Fuddle Duddle, the parody song about what PET really said in parliament. I also remember that fateful walk in the snow when PET decided to quit politics

Pierre Elliot Trudeau was the Prime Minster of Canada from 1968 to 1979 and from 1980 to 1984. Memoirs by Pierre Eliot Trudeau is personal history and the history of Canada during interesting times, written in his own words. He starts with memories of his childhood and his parents (to whom this book is dedicated). Some memories are quite amusing; such as a visit to the principal on his second day of school to complain. Other influences on his life and philosophy are his education in Montreal, Boston, London and Paris. He backpacked around the world, including India and war-torn China. This left him with a deep rooted belief in the rights of individuals and the role of the government in providing these rights. This was famously proven with his statement that ”…the state..has no right or duty to creep into the bedrooms of the nation.” His worldliness showed in his personal rapport with other leaders such as Jimmy Carter, Fidel Castro, Chou Eniai, Helmit Schmidt and Francois Mitterand, to name a few. Politically the book shows how he was on the fast track starting as a Liberal MP in 1965. Whether you loved or hated him you knew that he loved the nation.

Changing My Mind by Margaret Sinclair Trudeau shows a more personal side to this political family. She talks candidly in this memoir of her mental health issues. Margaret was a high spirited 22 year old when she became Canada’s youngest first lady. The country seemed to love her and her charismatic husband. When she gave birth to Justin on Christmas day and Sasha on the same day 2 years later – well that just sealed the deal. But public life can wear you down and her bi-polar disorder got worse. Margaret speaks frankly on this. She has survived remarkable highs and devastating lows in her life. Honored with the Society of Biological Psychiatry Humanitarian Award, she helps bring awareness to mental health issue.

They say that children are a product of their environment and upbringing. Common Ground by Justin Trudeau reveals the experiences that have shaped our new prime minister. As a result of this influence all proceeds from this book are donated to the domestic program of the Canadian Red Cross. What a childhood Justin must have had, as not many people have grown up in 24 Sussex Drive. The book also covers his days at McGill University through to his first campaigns in Papineau. Filled with personal reflections, anecdotes and photos from his personal collection, this memoir will show how the events his life has brought him once again to 24 Sussex Drive, but this time as leader!

So love them or loathe them the Trudeaus are part of Canada’s past and future!

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