Pierre Trudeau

“Canada will be a strong country when Canadians of all provinces feel at home in all parts of the country, and when they feel that all Canada belongs to them.”

My family and I are currently in Montreal on vacation (I’ll have more pictures and posts to share soon). This is actually the first time any of us has visited la belle province, though Susanne and I have been to France. The culture is different here, of course, and I thought it would be apt to celebrate our time here by highlighting one of Montreal’s favorite and most beloved sons: Pierre Trudeau.

The 15th prime minister of Canada, Pierre Elliot Trudeau held the post from 1968 to 1984 (save a one-year stint in the middle where Joe Clark held the position). The “Trudeaumania” that swept the the nation can be likened to the same kind of youthful energy as the original campaign by Barack Obama. And then, of course, there is his equally political son who is currently serving as Canada’s 23rd prime minister.

Like father, like son, as they say.

Pierre Trudeau was an advocate for a unified Canada, fighting against the Quebec separatist movement. His goal, as he states in the quote above, is such that all Canadians can feel “at home” regardless of where they are in the country. Our experience in Montreal reflects that. The French influence is immediately clear, but most folks are perfectly fluent in English too. I’m not so sure it’d be the same in other parts of Quebec.

“The Past is to be respected and acknowledged, but not to be worshiped. It is our future in which we will find our greatness.”

My father, who passed away last year, was equally swept up in “Trudeaumania” during those years and he had always held Pierre Trudeau in high regard. Trudeau worked toward a Canadian identity that could unite the nation, which including the adoption of official biligualism.

Of course, the Trudeau family isn’t Quebec’s only primary export. It’s also the source of Chez Cora and Cirque du Soleil. Politicians, cracked eggs and circus clowns. Makes sense.

Image credit: Wikiquote user Chiloa (CC BY-SA 3.0)