portrait of Pierre Elliott Trudeau

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Quotes of the Day for 30 September 2000 – Pierre Elliot Trudeau

I loved watching Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and the powerful wake he left behind. There are few politicians I admire, and it can hardly be said that I agreed with his concept of the role of government, but he had a powerful mind and he never flinched from his vision and faith in Canada. He died at his Montreal home on Thursday evening after suffering from prostate cancer and Parkinson's disease, he was 80 years old.

A Canadian subscriber provided a few additional quotes to add to my own collection, and to mark the passing of a great person I think it appropriate to extend Quotes of the Day to include more than our normal number of quotes, Trudeau left us a lot to choose from. My thanks to Edward Fenner for these parting words about this statesman:

"What John F. Kennedy was to America, so Pierre Elliot Trudeau was to Canada. Loved by many, despised by others, but respected by nearly all. Trudeau was an intellectual, an icon, a visionary, a passionate nationalist who didn't take crap from anybody. He was arrogant, but he was cool and very hip.

"In a word: Trudeaumania. He was the world's first 'Rock Star Politician' - The Elvis of politics. He was smart, sharp-tongued, and a keen wit. He drove a red convertible, clowned for the camera, and turned the country on its collective ear. Women were wild for him and every man wanted to shake his hand or punch him in the mouth. He followed his predecessor Lester Pearson's lead and put Canada solidly on the international map like never before. His influence was vast. He touched us all and helped us grow up as a nation and got us all to think for, and of, ourselves.

"He was Canada's 16th Prime Minister (1968-1984, less nine months). His most significant achievement was repatriating the Constitution from England and creating the Canadian Bill of Rights."

Van's signature

You will find an expanded profile, photo, additional biographical links, and all quotes from this author on the author's Notable Quotable page.

The quotes:

Canada will be a strong country when Canadians of all provinces feel at home in all parts of the country, and when they feel that all Canada belongs to them.

I bear solemn witness to the fact that NATO heads of state and of government meet only to go through the tedious motions of reading speeches, drafted by others, with the principal objective of not rocking the boat.

Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant: No matter how friendly and even-tempered the beast, one is affected by every twitch and grunt.
     - 25 March 1969 at the Press Club, Washington City

So long, trained seals!
     - Parting shot after a news conference

I went home, discussed it with the boys, put them to bed. I walked until midnight in the storm, then I went home and took a sauna for an hour and a half. It was all clear. I listened to my heart and saw if there were any signs of my destiny in the sky, and there were none - there were just snowflakes.
     - Announcing his decision to resign as Canada's Prime Minister

The state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation.

We peer so suspiciously at each other that we cannot see that we Canadians are standing on a mountaintop of human wealth, freedom, and privilege.
     - New Year's message, 31 December 1980

We wish nothing more, but we will accept nothing less. Masters in our own house we must be, but our house is the whole of Canada.
     All from  Pierre Elliott Trudeau, 1919 - 2000

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