07/05/2017 12:37 EDT | Updated 07/05/2017 13:00 EDT

Trudeau Gets Honorary Degree, Shows Off Scottish Accent


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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, is awarded an honorary degree at the University of Edinburgh on July 5, 2017 in Endinburgh, Scotland.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stirred sleepy graduates awake at the University of Edinburgh Wednesday with something unexpected: a decent Scottish accent.

The prime minister was presented with an honorary degree for his achievements "as a public servant with strong commitments to equality and diversity," according to the university.

And, in a show of gratitude, Trudeau spoke about the Scottish heritage of Canada's first prime minister, which set up a charming anecdote about "another great Scot" — his great-grandfather, James George Sinclair.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is awarded an honorary degree at the University of Edinburgh on July 5, 2017.

Sinclair is the family name of Margaret Trudeau, the prime minister's mother.

Scottish police, once upon a time, had threatened to put the elder Sinclair in jail if he violated a rule that prohibited fishing in certain rivers and streams, according to Trudeau.

"As family lore has it, my great grandfather said, 'But if I cannot fish, I cannot live.'"

Fed up, his great grandfather unrolled a schoolhouse map of Canada one day and pointed to the western region of Canada.

"'There. British Columbia: where we can be free and no man owns the fish,'" Trudeau said in a Scottish accent once more.

And B.C., specifically Vancouver, is where the Sinclairs eventually settled.

Trudeau has been unabashed about showing off his Scottish roots in the past.

In his first question period as Liberal leader, he wore the Sinclair family tartan as a nod to his mother's family.

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