Pierre Trudeau

The 15th Prime Minister of Canada

So . . . who is he? And why is he important?

Joseph Phillipe Pierre Yves Elliott Trudeau was a Canadian politician who served as the 15th Prime Minister of Canada from April 20th, 1968 to June 4th, 1979 and then re-elected on March 3rd, 1980 to June 30th, 1984.

Among his greatest aspects, a highlighted one would be his peaceful, honourable and responsible behaviour which was very admirable in the eyes of Canadian citizens. With his determination for a better Canada coupled with confidence and effective speeches, Trudeau swayed the votes of his supporters by promising a cloudless tomorrow.

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But what was he involved in?

In 1961, he joined the staff of the University of Montreal. Four years later, Liberal Party leaders were searching for potential candidates. Trudeau and two of his colleagues were invited to run for party seats. All three men won in the election that year; Trudeau became Minister of Justice.

When Canada’s previous Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson retired in 1967, Trudeau campaigned for leadership of the Liberal Party. His ideas were popular, and on April 6, 1968, he won the post.

“Trudeaumania,” was the nickname given to the excitement brought on by teenagers who supported Trudeau. Within 20 days of winning leadership of his party, Trudeau was sworn in as Canada’s 15th prime minister.

And what kind of actions did he take?

As soon as he was elected, he began fighting for universal health care. He also worked to reform governmental meetings to make them more efficient. He made Canada's federal services officially bilingual, meaning they have to be offered in both French and English. He was successful in helping keep Canada together during the first Quebec referendum. He also dealt with the Equalization Payments for the provinces. This was affected with the Constitution Act that Trudeau introduced in 1982.

The 1970 “October Crisis” tested his stance against terrorists; he invoked the War Measures Act, giving the government overarching power to arrest without trial.

In 1981, the Canadian House of Commons approved Trudeau’s reform to officially and completely separate Canada from Queen Elizabeth II’s Britain. This monumental act brought about new and widespread civil rights for all Canadians.

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Appearances Matter--And Remember To Smile

Nelson Mandela thought that appearances matter a lot and keeping on a smile is very important. For white people the smile symbolized that he is not bitter and has sympathy for them and for black people it said that he's a happy warrior. That's how his appearances helped him with his leadership.

Pierre Trudeau's appearance helped him too. In the 1968 leadership race for the Liberal Party, a nickname of "Trudeaumania" given to describe the excitement that surrounded Pierre Trudeau's candidacy. At this time, plenty of young adults identified Trudeau as an energetic nonconformist who was relatively young. They were dazzled by his charm and good looks, and a large fan base was established throughout the country.

Courage Is Not The Absence of Fear--It's Inspiring Others To Move Beyond It

Once when Mandela was flying down to the killing fields of Natal, an engine failed. While everyone was scared he sat calm and showed no fear. Because he knew as a leader he could not show fear even if he was afraid , he had to be courageous to inspire people and keep them going.

Trudeau applies the same leadership trait. He came of as a fearless leader, one that was not afraid of anything and could do everything. He never showed his fear in front of people, he always had a masked facial expression. During his election campaign in 1968, while attending the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day parade in Montreal, Quebec separatists were rioting and throwing rocks and bottles at where Trudeau was seated. Instead of taking cover, he remained in his seat and faced the rioters, showing no feeling of fear. The image showed such courage impressed the Canadian people, and he won the election the next day.

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Quitting Is Leading Too

Mandela himself stepped down for all who followed him. He knew that leaders lead as much by what they choose not to do as to what they do. Much to the country’s surprise, Pierre Trudeau stepped down from his title as Prime Minister of Canada in 1984. After his retirement he was still involved in Canada’s politics and had a chance to express his opinions through his famous effective speeches. These chances included his opposition in The Meech Lake Accord and The Charlottetown Accord. People who lead by quitting ensure that they have done everything in their power that there is sustainability, continuity and legacy long after they are gone.


Trudeau soon passed on September 28th, 2000 due to cancer. He left behind his oldest son Justin Trudeau (current Prime Minister of Canada as of October 19th, 2015) and three other children and his wife, Margaret Trudeau. He might not have lived, but his legacy has lingered quite a bit longer as he was the greatest leader to lead this nation.