Romans, countrymen . . .
was about six years old when I went on my first official trip. I was going
with my father and my grandpa Sinclair up to the North Pole.
was a very glamorous destination. But the best thing about it is that I
was going to be spending lots of time with my dad because in Ottawa he
just worked so hard.
day, we were in Alert, Canada's northernmost point, a scientific military
installation that seemed to consist entirely of low shed-like buildings
be honest. I was six. There were no brothers around to play with and I was
getting a little bored because dad still somehow had a lot of work to do.
remember a frozen, windswept Arctic afternoon when I was bundled up into a
Jeep and hustled out on a special top-secret mission. I figured I was
finally going to be let in on the reason of this high-security Arctic
was exactly right.
drove slowly through and past the buildings, all of them very grey and
windy. We rounded a corner and came upon a red one. We stopped. I got out
of the Jeep and started to crunch across towards the front door. I was
told, no, to the window.
I clambered over the snowbank, was boosted up to the window, rubbed my
sleeve against the frosty glass to see inside and as my eyes adjusted to
the gloom, I saw a figure, hunched over one of many worktables that seemed
very cluttered. He was wearing a red suit with that furry white trim.
that's when I understood just how powerful and wonderful my father was.
Elliott Trudeau. The very words convey so many things to so many people.
Statesman, intellectual, professor, adversary, outdoorsman, lawyer,
journalist, author, prime minister.
more than anything, to me, he was dad.
what a dad. He loved us with the passion and the devotion that encompassed
his life. He taught us to believe in ourselves, to stand up for ourselves,
to know ourselves and to accept responsibility for ourselves.
knew we were the luckiest kids in the world. And we had done nothing to
actually deserve it.
It was instead something that we would have to spend the rest of our lives
to work very hard to live up to.
gave us a lot of tools. We were taught to take nothing for granted. He
doted on us but didn't indulge.
people say he didn't suffer fools gladly, but I'll have you know he had
infinite patience with us.
encouraged us to push ourselves, to test limits, to challenge anyone and
were certain basic principles that could never be compromised.
I guess it is for most kids, in Grade 3, it was always a real treat to
visit my dad at work.
on previous visits this particular occasion included a lunch at the
parliamentary restaurant which always seemed to be terribly important and
full of serious people that I didn't recognize.
at eight, I was becoming politically aware. And I recognized one whom I
knew to be one of my father's chief rivals.
of pleasing my father, I told a joke about him -- a generic, silly little
grade school thing.
father looked at me sternly with that look I would learn to know so well,
and said: "Justin, never attack the individual. One can be in total
disagreement with someone without denigrating him as a consequence."
that, he stood up and took me by the hand and brought me over to introduce
me to this man. He was a nice man who was eating with his daughter, a
nice-looking blond girl a little younger than I was.
father's adversary spoke to me in a friendly manner and it was then that I
understood that having different opinions from those of another person in
no way precluded holding this person in the highest respect.
mere tolerance is not enough: we must have true and deep respect for every
human being, regardless of his beliefs, his origins and his values. That
is what my father demanded of his sons and that is what he demanded of our
country. He demanded it out of love — love of his sons, love of his
country. That is why we love him so. These letters, these flowers, the
dignity of the crowds who came to say farewell — all of that is a way of
thanking him for having loved us so much."
father's fundamental belief never came from a textbook. It stemmed from
his deep love for and faith in all Canadians and over the past few days,
with every card, every rose, every tear, every wave and every pirouette,
you returned his love.
means the world to Sacha and me.
have gathered from coast to coast to coast, from one ocean to another,
united in our grief, to say goodbye.
this is not the end. He left politics in '84. But he came back for Meech.
He came back for Charlottetown. He came back to remind us of who we are
and what we're all capable of.
he won't be coming back anymore. It's all up to us, all of us, now.
woods are lovely, dark and deep. He has kept his promises and earned his