Sunday, May 10, 2020

More Trudeau

Former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau (1919 - 2000) fascinates many of us who remember when he was this great country's leader (1968 - 1979, 1980 - 1984). Whether or not Trudeau was a great Prime Minister is almost irrelevant all these years later, and one does not have to be a Liberal to find his history as a man and leader endlessly fascinating.

Canadian writer Nino Ricci wrote a book on Trudeau that warrants being read if one has any interest at all in Canadian politics, or wonders what all the fuss from the Right is about and why they cannot dig Canada's 15th Prime Minister out from under their sensitive skins.

Part reportage, part history lesson, Pierre Elliott Trudeau (2009) is to me an important work about an important Canadian figure.

Ricci starts off the book by telling the Trudeau Tale from his own perspective. One of his elementary school teachers was watching a program on the politician on the school's portable television set. He said to the future award-winning Canadian writer that Pierre Elliott Trudeau was going to be an important man in Canadian politics. End of first chapter.

I could not put this book down. At one point there were just eighty pages to read and I picked up the book intending to knock off about half. I finished it in one sitting. Nino Ricci knows how to tell a story. The read was highly instructive from a background and historical perspective: This reader had not realized that Trudeau could be a physical bully (in a back coffee room he all but pushed René Levesque around right before an important cabinet vote), and fellow Liberal party member Judy LaMarsh (1924 - 1980) absolutely hated the man.

The joke for me is that I've never read any of Nino Ricci fictional works. It's time for me to turn a page, perhaps.


The above piece first appeared as "Pierre Elliott Trudeau by Nino Ricci" on April 9, 2017.

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