Our namesake

The Right Honourable Pierre Elliott Trudeau

The Right Honourable Pierre Elliott Trudeau, born Joseph Philippe Pierre Yves Elliott Trudeau (Montreal, October 18, 1919 – Montreal, September 28, 2000), was Prime Minister of Canada from April 20, 1968, to June 3, 1979, and from March 3, 1980, to June 30, 1984.

A flamboyant and charismatic leader, his impact on Canadian society and politics was profound. Although he often elicited a certain fervour both at home and abroad, he defined himself as a rigorous intellectual who always strived to put reason before passion.

He believed that the life of the mind was best fed by strong engagement with life in the community. To this end, he made himself a student of the world, as an academic in Montreal, Boston, Paris, and London, as an outdoorsman and "child of nature," and as a public commentator, journalist, and activist.

He always questioned his learning and reason, whether through the exhaustion of the all-day paddle or the fire of partisan battle. At the same time, there was a true spirit of independence at work in his analysis, and he displayed fearlessness in publishing and broadcasting the results of his inquiry.

His deepest commitment was to freedom — of the mind and of the individual — and he set himself in opposition to the political and economic forces of his day that kept men and women in bondage.

His goal was the cultivation of the engaged, inquiring and informed citizen. He sought to further the Canadian identity through education, reasoned debate and self-awareness. He also believed that a mature and confident Canada could make outstanding contributions to the wider world.

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