Monday, October 18, 2004

Pierre Elliott Trudeau = The Greatest Canadian?

Yesterday I was watching a program about "The Greatest Canadian". It all started in the spring, where people logged on to CBC and voted for who they thought was the greatest Canadian. Out of these votes, the top fifty were shown. They included hockey players, politicians, musicians, physicians, etc. One thing I wasn't too happy about though was that there were only six women nominated but I'll get into that later.

The top ten are the ones that are going to be debated about. Every Monday and Wednesday a well-known Canadian will make their pitch for one of the ten about why they're the greatest Canadian.

1 Frederick Banting
2 Alexander Graham Bell
3 Don Cherry
4 Tommy Douglas
5 Terry Fox
6 Wayne Gretzky
7 Sir John A. MacDonald
8 Lester B. Pearson
9 David Suzuki
10 Pierre Elliott Trudeau

I'm going to talk about all of them but I thought I'd start off with Trudeau. Why did I pick him? Well, today would have been his 85th birthday. I think was a great man and a great Prime Minister but I don't know if he's a great Canadian.

He created the Official Languages Act, dealt with the October crises (can you say War Measures Act?) and because of him, Canada now has a Charter of Rights and Freedoms in its Constitution.

And of course, I can't forget Trudeaumania and Margaret Trudeau. Whatever he had, it drove people crazy. Screaming teenage girls would run after him and he had this completely different attitude compared to the others PM's that had come before him. Personally, I think of him as being a political hippie. He was someone you either loved or hated and there was no in between because he was so extreme and intense. During his time in office he changed the divorce laws and liberalized abortion and homosexuality laws. Oh and let's not forget how many times he "flipped the bird" at people. He was controversial and outspoken and we loved him for it.

When he died on September 28, 2000 he brought the country together. Politicians from every party expressed what a great person he was and how much he had done for Canada. People all over the world from Austrailia, to the Royal Family to the United States expressed their sympathy and sorrow that we'd lost such a great leader.

Quote: (During the FLQ crises and my favourite Trudeau quote)

Trudeau: "There's a lot of bleeding hearts around that just don't like to see people with helmets and guns. All I can say is go on and bleed."

Ralfe: "At any cost? How far would you go with that? How far would you extend that?"

Trudeau: "Just watch me."

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