Pierre Elliott Trudeau, 15th Prime Minister of Canada

Montreal, Montreal, Québec, Canada

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Right Honourable Pierre Joseph Philippe Yves Elliot Trudeau

Birthplace: Outremont, Montréal, Communauté-Urbaine-de-Montréal, QC, Canada
Death: September 28, 2000 (80)
Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada (Parkinson's Disease and Prostate Cancer)
Place of Burial: Saint-Rémi, Les Jardins-de-Napierville Regional County Municipality, Quebec, Canada
Immediate Family:

Son of Joseph Charles-Émile Trudeau and Grace Trudeau (Elliott)
Ex-husband of Margaret Trudeau Kemper (Sinclair)
Ex-partner of Louise Marleau and Deborah Margaret Ryland Coyne
Father of Justin Trudeau, 23rd Prime Minister of Canada; Alexandre Trudeau; Michel Trudeau and Private
Brother of Private; Suzette Rouleau and Charles Elliot Trudeau

Occupation: Lawyer, Writer, Law Professor, Justice Minister, Member of Parliament, Canadian Prime Minister (1968-1984), Prime Minister
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Pierre Elliott Trudeau, 15th Prime Minister of Canada



Joseph Philippe Pierre Yves Elliott Trudeau, PC CH CC QC FSRC (/truːˈdoʊ/; French pronunciation: ​[t%CA%81ydo]; October 18, 1919 – September 28, 2000), usually known as Pierre Trudeau or Pierre Elliott Trudeau, was the 15th Prime Minister of Canada from April 20, 1968 to June 4, 1979, and again from March 3, 1980 to June 30, 1984.

Trudeau began his political career as a lawyer, intellectual, and activist in Quebec politics. In the 1960s, he entered federal politics by joining the Liberal Party of Canada. He was appointed as Lester Pearson's Parliamentary Secretary, and later became his Minister of Justice. From his base in Montreal, Trudeau took control of the Liberal Party and became a charismatic leader, inspiring "Trudeaumania". From the late 1960s until the mid-1980s, he dominated the Canadian political scene and aroused passionate reactions. "Reason before passion" was his personal motto. He retired from politics in 1984, and John Turner succeeded him as Prime Minister.

Admirers praise the force of Trudeau's intellect and salute his political acumen in preserving national unity against the Quebec sovereignty movement, suppressing a violent revolt, and establishing the Charter of Rights and Freedoms within Canada's constitution. Critics accuse him of arrogance, economic mismanagement, and unduly favouring the federal government relative to the provinces, especially in trying to distribute the oil wealth of the Prairies.

Early life

The Trudeau family originate from Ste-Marguerite-de-Cogne, La Rochelle, France, and trace back to a Robert Trudeau. The first Trudeau to arrive in Canada was Etienne Trudeau (1641-1712), a carpenter and home builder in 1659.

Pierre Trudeau was born in Montreal to Charles-Émile Trudeau, a French Canadian businessman and lawyer, and Grace Elliott, who was of French and Scottish descent. He had an older sister named Suzette and a younger brother named Charles Jr.; he remained close to both siblings for his entire life. The family had become quite wealthy by the time Trudeau was in his teens, as his father sold his prosperous gas station business to Imperial Oil. Trudeau attended the prestigious Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf (a private French Jesuit school), where he supported Quebec nationalism. Trudeau's father died when Pierre was in his mid-teens. This death hit him and the family very hard emotionally. Pierre remained very close to his mother for the rest of her life.

According to long-time friend and colleague Marc Lalonde, the clerically influenced dictatorships of António de Oliveira Salazar in Portugal (the Estado Novo), Francisco Franco in Spain (the Spanish State), and Marshal Philippe Pétain in Vichy France were seen as political role models by many youngsters educated at elite Jesuit schools in Quebec. Lalonde asserts that Trudeau's later intellectual development as an "intellectual rebel, anti-establishment fighter on behalf of unions and promoter of religious freedom" came from his experiences after leaving Quebec to study in the United States, France and England, and to travel to dozens of countries. His international experiences allowed him to break from Jesuit influence and study French philosophers such as Jacques Maritain and Emmanuel Mounier as well as John Locke and David Hume.

From Biographi.ca:

TRUDEAU, PIERRE ELLIOTT (baptized Joseph-Philippe-Pierre-Yves-Elliott), lawyer, author, university professor, and politician; b. 18 Oct. 1919 in Outremont (Montreal), son of Joseph-Charles-Émile Trudeau* and Grace Elliott; m. 4 March 1971 Margaret Sinclair in Vancouver, and they had three sons; they divorced in 1984; he also had a daughter with Deborah Coyne; d. 28 Sept. 2000 in Montreal and was buried in Saint-Rémi, near Napierville, Que.

On his father’s side, Pierre Trudeau (he would add Elliott in the 1930s and sometimes used a hyphen) was a descendant of Étienne Truteau (Trudeau), a carpenter from La Rochelle, France, who had arrived in New France in 1659. Pierre’s father, known to his friends as Charlie or Charley, was born on a farm in Saint-Michel, south of Montreal. Although Charlie’s father, Joseph, was semi-literate, his mother, Malvina Cardinal, was a mayor’s daughter who insisted that their sons be given a good education. Charlie became a lawyer and practised in the heart of Montreal’s business district.

Grace Elliott, Trudeau’s mother, came from a prosperous Montreal family. Her father, Phillip Armstrong Elliott, an Anglican of loyalist stock, had married Sarah-Rebecca Sauvé, a French Canadian Roman Catholic, and, as was required by the Catholic church for children of interfaith marriages, Grace was raised as a Catholic. Phillip Elliott’s wealth came from real estate investments in Montreal. In 1903 he removed Grace from her convent school there and placed her in the Dunham Ladies’ College, an Anglican women’s finishing school in the Eastern Townships. Although she spoke and wrote French, she preferred English, which would be the language of the Trudeau home.

Charlie and Grace married in 1915 and they soon had children, first Suzette in 1918 and then Pierre in 1919. Another child, Charles, whom the family would call Tip, followed in 1922. By this time, Charlie had largely abandoned his commercial law practice in favour of a business career. Success had come with his creation in 1921 of the Automobile Owners’ Association, which comprised two Montreal gas and service stations and offered a program whereby car owners paid a yearly fee for guaranteed service. It was a brilliant device. The number of automobiles in Quebec swelled from 41,562 in 1920 to 97,418 in 1925 and would almost double again by 1930, when it reached 178,548. At the end of the 1920s the family moved from a modest row house in Outremont to a much larger but unpretentious dwelling there that could accommodate not only the Trudeaus but also a maid and a chauffeur. Although he would have apartments elsewhere, Pierre would consider it his home until he moved into the prime minister’s residence at 24 Sussex Drive in 1968.

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Pierre Elliott Trudeau, 15th Prime Minister of Canada's Timeline

October 18, 1919
Outremont, Montréal, Communauté-Urbaine-de-Montréal, QC, Canada
October 20, 1919
Saint-Viateur d'Outremont Church, Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
December 25, 1971
Ottawa Civic Hospital, Ottawa, Ottawa Division, Ontario, Canada
December 25, 1973
October 2, 1975
Ottawa, Ottawa Division, Ontario, Canada
September 28, 2000
Age 80
Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
October 3, 2000
Age 80
St-Remi-de-Napierville Cemetery, Saint-Rémi, Les Jardins-de-Napierville Regional County Municipality, Quebec, Canada