posted on Oct. 3: Your Remembrances of Pierre Elliott Trudeau


Editorial staff of the Daily News felt it would be fitting on this day to invite the University community to send in stories, tributes, anecdotes, and personal reflections and remembrances of the former Prime Minister. What did he mean to you? How did he touch your life?
What is his legacy for Canada?

Write to us at


While I was not and am not a supporter or admirer of Mr. Trudeau's politics or policies, he was nevertheless a compelling
personality, a great father, and an ardent Canadian. Would that today's politicians speak as openly and frankly on the issues of the day. He will be missed.
Dennis Venerus

I became involved as a volunteer for the Liberal Party during the 1979 federal election campaign. It was Pierre Trudeau who inspired
me to get involved. I believed in his vision of Canada as a just society, inspiring all Canadians to care about one another, to share what we had with others. To share with people from other countries poorer than our great Canada, people that could not always take care of themselves, like the physically and mentally challenged, the underpriviledged. I believed in his vision that all Canadians should have the opportunity for good education and good health care, whether rich or poor. I believed in his vision of a strong national government supporting the have-not provinces and accepting and participating in the cultural differences evident in other provinces. He never waivered from his vision. That year, I campaigned with him. My children were young; they campaigned, too, helping with signs, knocking on doors with me. They understood the importance at a young age of being politically aware and the importance of believing in something and working towards those beliefs and goals. Ever since, politics has played a major role in my life and the life of my family. We will never regret being involved. I thank Pierre Trudeau for that.
His vision is why Canada is now known as the best country in the world
in which to live. Let's all strive to keep his vision alive and make
sure that Canada continues to be the best country in the world in which to live. That is how we can best keep his legacy alive. I feel so honoured and privileged to have known him and met him. Pierre, we will love you forever.
Myra Leffler

I remember Trudeau as such a great man. He was larger than life with passion, class, intelligence, and no fear. But the story I love hearing most is the one my husband tells of the day he became a citizen of Canada:
My husband and his parents had excitedly made the decision to become Canadian citizens and in preparation for the event, my mother-in-law, who was unable to speak a word of English, was worried she would not be able to handle the questions asked of her. She
studied and memorized as hard as she could. Unfortunately, as the day
approached, my father-in-law was hospitalized and his wife did not want to leave his side. But he insisted. He was very determined his family would be Canadians! My mother-in-law and her two youngest sons, (my husband and his brother)hurried to their citizenship hearing. The two young men had no trouble with the questions. My mother-in-law was not so lucky; she was worried about her husband and most of what she had studied seemed to vanish! As luck would have it, the person asking the questions was very sympathetic and asked her one final question, “Who is the Prime Minister of
Canada?” My mother-in-law's eyes lit up and(as my husband remembers), withouth hesitation, she spoke loudly and clearly, “Pierre Trudeau!” With that answer, my mother-in-law became a very proud Canadian citizen!
Silvana Berlingieri

Pierre Trudeau inspired a hope that there could be something better for Canada and that there was a role for all of us to play if we wanted to. He left us with his vision of a just society, a Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and a Constitution of our own. The outpouring of respect and admiration Canada has given him shows that there is still a place in our hearts for vision and inspiration in a world even tougher than it was in 1968. On a lighter note, I had the privilege of shaking his hand twice, once at a political meeting before the 1968 election, and as a tourist on Parliament Hill the same year. He recalled that we had met before, and after a moment's thought, mentioned the political meeting in Granby. I remember being so impressed by his memory and charm. I still am. Goodbye and thank you, Mr. Trudeau.
Gwen Crossan

The Right Honorable Pierre Elliott Trudeau was truly a citizen of the world, who valued individual human rights over parochial, insular collectives. He had the remarkable capacity to talk over the heads of the elite to his people, who believed in his vision of a just society. Irrespective of culture, country of origin and language spoken, Mr. Trudeau had the courage to defend the intrinsic values that unite humanity. I came to Canada just after the first Quebec referendum in 1980, and I distinctly recall reading in international newspapers the immense impact his speech at the Paul Sauve arena in Montreal had in bringing home the message of inclusiveness to all Canadians, Quebecers and others. This is his greatest legacy, articulated for all Canadians to enjoy, in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms – for the citizens of a country which the UN calls the best place on earth to live, and to all others who aspire to become one. Merci, Mr. Trudeau.
Ibrahim Inayatali

I was eight years old when Trudeau came to power, and I recall waving to his motorcade when he eventually made his way to B.C. a short while after he became Prime Minister. I still remember vividly the excitement and optimism of that time. He was PM during my “growing-up” years. His values, passion and his hopes and dreams for Canada inspired me then, and they continue to inspire me now. He was a great Canadian who showed us what being Canadian was all about. We may yet see another Canadian politician who will re-ignite similar passions and once again awaken Canadian emotions (I certainly hope
so), but there will never be another Pierre Elliott Trudeau.
Marge Marriott

PET: Canada's most charismatic leader. A leader on the world's stage. A man of conviction and principle. Politicians before and since pale in comparison. Canada could use a leader with even a fraction of what Mr. Trudeau brought to the table.
Stuart M.Phillips

A gentleman to the end, he taught me how to respect and love others who are not like me. What a wonderful country where the world is right at our doorstep if only we will take the time to explore and enjoy it. Best of all, I always chuckle when I think of how he did not kowtow to anyone, not even the U.S.! Great man, the greatest Canadian. —Aloma Munian

When I was about six or seven, I shook hands with PET at a Toronto
mall. All that I remember is being on my father's shoulders and my father telling me to shake the man's hand. I remember thinking that I wanted to be a Liberal, even though I did not know what that meant at the time. He brought so much vigor to everything he did, even a seven year old could see it.
Olga Cenic