The Trudeau Era (Aka: My Childhood)

My parents kept our TV-viewing very limited; so if the television was on and I was allowed to watch it, that’s where I’d be. It didn’t matter if the show was boring like “The Galloping Gourmet” or uninterpretable like “Monty Python”, that little black and white screen was too enticing for me to pass up.

One spring day in 1968, when I was six years old, my dad had the TV on in our small living room – but I had my back to it. I was ensconced in our large cozy orange chair where I liked to sit with my picture books and whichever of the Siamese cats cared to join me. If the TV was on and I wasn’t in front of it, it must have been a dull show indeed: it was, in fact, the Liberal Leadership Convention.

I was new at this reading thing. It took a lot of concentration to decipher word after word. Suddenly, to my annoyance, there was a noisy interruption: my dad leaping to his feet and dancing around the room. Pierre Trudeau was now Prime Minister!

Pierre Trudeau at convention
Copyright assigned to Library and Archives Canada by copyright owner Duncan Cameron; Photo Credit Duncan Cameron

Such mayhem when I just wanted to read! It’s possible that I am the very first Canadian the new Prime Minister managed to irritate.

But irritating Canadians just goes with a Prime Minister’s job, and Pierre Trudeau soon moved into the background of my awareness along with many other growing-up things, like disco. When his era was over, so was my childhood. By the time I was old enough to vote, I had known no other reality but the Trudeau reality. After I turned 18, Pierre Trudeau was present for one more election. Despite my childish difficulty with him at the beginning, I probably voted for him.

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