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Trudeau Kicked the State Out of My Bedroom

Posted: 02/26/2013 12:00 am

This past February 18 marked a day that I always celebrate, the anniversary of the final election victory of Canada's Pierre Trudeau. The year was 1980 and I had turned 16 years old just days before. I was coming of age in politics too, for that campaign introduced me to a political party that would prove to be more of a home that I ever imagined.

Pierre Elliot Trudeau served as Canada's Prime Minister from 1968 -1979, 1980 - 1984. He won three elections before a loss that he avenged nine short months later with a thumping of the error-plagued government of Prime Minister Joe Clark.

Trudeau was a well-known intellectual from the Province of Quebec, and he had been elected to the Parliament of Canada in 1965. Trudeau was promoted to the role of Justice Minister in Canada's Centennial Year 1967, and he promptly set about amending the Criminal Code: Among other things, he decriminalized homosexuality and famously declared "there's no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation."

Trudeau's final term of office might otherwise be viewed as pretty dismal, but the repatriation of Canada's Constitution from Great Britain, before which we were the subject of a mere act of Westminster called the British North America Act, was a signature stroke. More impressive was the adoption of a Charter of Rights and Freedoms that has dramatically shaped Canada.

On the 33rd anniversary of that final election I measured his impact in a most personal way as I celebrated pure legal equality with my husband and our two adopted children.

Today in Canada, Trudeau's son Justin stands poised to take over the leadership of the same party where he will face the challenge of rebuilding fortunes in an effort to topple the current Conservative Government.

George Smitherman is a recovering politician. He served as the first openly gay Member of the Ontario Legislature from 1999 - 2010. Ontario is Canada's most populous Province.

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  • Justin Trudeau visits Loyalist College in Belleville, ON., on Feb. 14, 2013.

  • Justin Trudeau visits Loyalist College in Belleville, ON., on Feb. 14, 2013.

  • Justin Trudeau visits Loyalist College in Belleville, ON., on Feb. 14, 2013.

  • Pierre Trudeau is saluted by RCMP Officer as he carries son Justin to Rideau Hall in 1973. Justin Trudeau teared up when he was presented with a framed copy while visiting Loyalist College.

  • Justin Trudeau visits Loyalist College in Belleville, ON., on Feb. 14, 2013.

  • Justin Trudeau visits Loyalist College in Belleville, ON., on Feb. 14, 2013.

  • Justin Trudeau visits Loyalist College in Belleville, ON., on Feb. 14, 2013.

  • Justin Trudeau visits Loyalist College in Belleville, ON., on Feb. 14, 2013.

  • Justin Trudeau visits Loyalist College in Belleville, ON., on Feb. 14, 2013.

  • Justin Trudeau visits Loyalist College in Belleville, ON., on Feb. 14, 2013.

  • Justin Trudeau visits Loyalist College in Belleville, ON., on Feb. 14, 2013.


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  • Surprising Justin Trudeau Facts

    With talk of Trudeau making a bid for the Liberal leadership reaching a fever pitch (again), HuffPost takes a look at some surprising facts about Canada's perpetual PM-in-waiting. (CP)

  • 11. Politics On Mother's Side Too

    Trudeau's maternal grandfather <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Sinclair_(politician)" target="_hplink">James Sinclair</a> was a Liberal MP and cabinet minister in Louis St.-Laurent's government in the 1950s. (House of Commons) <em><strong>CORRECTION</strong>: An earlier version of this slide incorrectly said Sinclair was a Progressive Conservative MP.</em>

  • 10. Born In Office

    <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justin_Trudeau" target="_hplink">Trudeau was only the second child ever to be born while a parent was prime minister</a>. The first was John A. Macdonald's youngest daughter Margaret Mary Macdonald. Trudeau's younger brothers, Alexandre (Sacha) and Michel were the third and fourth. (CP)

  • 9. Educated Enough?

    Trudeau has a Bachelor of Arts degree from McGill and a Bachelor of Education from UBC. He also studied engineering at the Université de Montréal and environmental geography at McGill, but never finished degrees in those fields.

  • 8. Enemies To Friends

    While fathers Brian Mulroney and Pierre Trudeau were rivals, sons Justin and Ben are friends. Mulroney attended Trudeau's wedding to Sophie Grégoire. Grégoire has worked as Quebec correspondent for CTV's eTalk, which is hosted by Mulroney. (CP)

  • 7. Let Them Eat Anything But Cake

    Trudeau didn't have cake at his wedding, with <a href="http://www.macleans.ca/canada/national/article.jsp?content=20050606_106678_106678" target="_hplink">Sophie arguing that people never eat it anyway</a>. (Shutterstock)

  • 6. Born On Christmas

    <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justin_Trudeau" target="_hplink">Trudeau entered the world on December 25, 1971</a>.

  • 5. Two Tattoos In One

    Trudeau has a large tattoo on his left shoulder. <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/justinpjtrudeau/statuses/179973685136998400" target="_hplink">The planet Earth inside a Haida raven</a>. Trudeau got the globe tattoo when he was 23 and the raven when he turned 40. (Media Ball)

  • 4. Keeping It In The Family

    Trudeau and his wife Sophie have two children, Xavier James (4) and Ella-Grace Margaret (3). Both are partially named after family.<a href="http://www.chatelaine.com/en/article/4970--the-littlest-trudeau" target="_hplink"> Xavier James is named after Trudeau's maternal grandfather James Sinclair</a> (the politician) and <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophie_Gr%C3%A9goire" target="_hplink">Ella-Grace Margaret is named after Trudeau's mother Margaret and Grace Elliot, Trudeau's paternal grandmother</a>. Xavier also happens to share a birthday with Pierre Elliott Trudeau. (CP)

  • 3. Politician And Actor

    <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0846011/" target="_hplink">Trudeau played Talbot Mercer Papineau</a> in the 2007 CBC miniseries "The Great War."

  • 2. .. And Video Game Star

    <a href="http://arts.nationalpost.com/2011/09/06/in-deus-ex-justin-trudeau-is-the-pm-and-canada-has-a-problem-with-illegal-immigrants-from-the-u-s/" target="_hplink">Trudeau is prime minister in the dystopian future portrayed in the video game Deus Ex: Human Revolution</a>. (CP)

  • 1. Childhood Sweathearts

    Sophie used to visit the Trudeau family home when she was a child. She was a classmate and friend of Trudeau's youngest brother Michel, who died tragically in a B.C. avalanche in 1998. Justin and Sophie made contact again at a fundraiser in 2003 and soon after began dating. <a href="http://www.macleans.ca/canada/national/article.jsp?content=20050606_106678_106678" target="_hplink">Trudeau was so smitten</a> that he declared they would spend the rest of their lives together on the very first date. (CP)

 

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