Monday, October 18, 2010

Pierre Elliott Trudeau: His style and his just society

Canada must be unified. Canada must be one, Canada must be progressive and Canada must be a just society.

- Pierre Elliott Trudeau
(Speech after winning the Liberal Party leadership in April of 1968.)
Pierre Elliott Trudeau was born on October 18, 1919 in Montreal.  If he were alive today, he would be celebrating his 91st birthday. There has never been a Canadian prime minister quite like him. To this day, his name evokes a variety of emotions and a strong, passionate response. During his lifetime, Canada’s 15th Prime Minister was strongly admired and intensely disliked. Many Western Canadians cannot forgive him for the National Energy Policy. He has been criticized for invoking the War Measures Act forty years ago. Others say it was his finest moment.

From the heady days of Trudeaumania to his famous 1984 walk in the snow (in which he decided to resign as prime minister), the man captivated this nation. He was our own philosopher king and had more world-wide recognition than any other Canadian prime minister. Yes, he could be infuriating and arrogant. He also had style, wit and a vision for this country.

Pierre Trudeau was also very quotable. Many of his remarks will long be remembered. How many of Stephen Harper’s or Michael Ignatieff’s words will be quoted for years to come?

To view a video of Pierre Trudeau’s “just society” speech, click on the link below.

Here’s another short video about Trudeaumania.

Although he eventually married, Pierre Trudeau was a bachelor when he became prime minister in 1968. So here’s some trivia about bachelor prime ministers and presidents. Two other Canadian prime ministers were bachelors – R.B. Bennett and William Lyon Mackenzie King never married.

James Buchanan, 15th President of the United States was a life-long bachelor and is the only American president who never wed.  His niece Harriet Lane acted as First Lady.


George Orwell was the pen name of Eric Arthur Blair. Blair was a British journalist, political author and novelist. He was the author of Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) and Animal Farm (1945),

Comedian Jack Benny was born Benjamin Kubelsky in Chicago, Illinois on February 14, 1894. When he was a young vaudeville performer, a lawyer for famous Czech violinist Jan KubelĂ­k pressured him to change his name, claiming that the similar name would damage his client’s reputation. So Benjamin Kubelsky became Ben K. Benny. When a band leader and fiddler named Ben Bernie threatened to sue him, he adopted the name “Jack,” a nickname associated with sailors. And that is how Benjamin Kubelsky became Jack Benny.

Singer Tom Jones was born Thomas John Woodward in Wales, U.K. on June 7, 1940. He is now 70 years old. Jones performed as Tommy Scott early in his career. In 1963, he became the frontman for a band called Tommy Scott and the Senators. a Welsh beat group. Tommy Scott and the Senators eventually became Tom Jones and the Squires. Remember that Tom Jones is also the name of the roguish protagonist of the classic Henry Fielding novel published in 1749. Given his stage persona, it is not surprising that the Welsh singer took the name of the amorous main character of Fielding’s novel.

Oprah Winfrey, born in Mississippi on January 29, 1954, was originally named Orpah after a biblical character in the Book of Ruth. The “r” and the “p” were reversed due to problems in spelling and pronouncing Orpah.


On October 18, 1685, Louis XIV, France’s “Sun King,” revoked the Edict of Nantes which granted rights to France’s minority Protestants (known as Huguenots). Louis renounced the Edict and declared Protestantism illegal. As a result, there was an exodus of Protestants from France. Some immigrated to Great Britain and Prussia. Others settled in the more tolerant Dutch Republic and in Switzerland. Still others found their way to the new French colonies in North America.



The Philadelphia Phillies won Game 2 of their National League Championship Series against the San Francisco Giants. Led by the superb pitching of that other Roy – Roy Oswalt – the Phillies enjoyed a 6-1 triumph over the Giants. I still think the Phillies have the best team and I think they will win the World Series.

- Joanne

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