by Paula Johanson
December 1, 2016
To know our Prime Ministers is to take some pride in the eclectic collection of individuals and stories that make up our history. Whatever our politics, whatever one may think of individual PMs and their decisions, one recognizes that they are a mirror to their times, a reflection of who we were and where we come from. Those who do not know our history are doomed to believe it boring; those who do know, gain the bragging rights that come from having great and colourful ancestors. – Dr. Robert Runté
Before he was elected to office, he hitch-hiked across North Africa, swam the Bosporus Strait on a whim, and ran with the bulls in Pamplona – twice. Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Canada’s 15th Prime Minister, could be called the most colourful of them all.
Trudeau was confident that his informed opinions were good for all Canadians. Not everyone agreed. Suspending civil liberties with the War Measures Act wasn’t even his most controversial decision, at least, not to those who are still stuttering mad about his National Energy Program or White Paper on Indian Affairs. From his youth as a backwoods canoeist and political activist, to his retirement from politics and the law, Pierre Trudeau lived a life that was, as he put it, “one long curve, full of turning points.”
That long curve is traced in this new biography, with turning points from Pierre Trudeau’s home life, his political machinations, and the lifelong love he had for wilderness places. Details come together here in a narrative that shows how he became a citizen of the world.
Volume 15 of The Prime Ministers of Canada Series.