The Trudeaus, Canada's political dynasty (a pictorial)

Pierre Trudeau and his eldest son, Justin
Pierre Trudeau and his eldest son, Justin

When Canada's Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau won the October 2015 election by a landslide, a political dynasty was born.

It's no surprise that Justin was destined for politics. Politics is in his DNA. His mother's father, James Sinclair, was a Member of the Canadian Parliament from 1940 to 1949. He was first elected to the Canadian House of Commons representing the riding of Vancouver North in the 1940 federal election, and was the only MP who served in World War II. A Liberal, he was re-elected in 1945, 1949, 1953, and 1957 in the riding of Coast-Capilano. He was defeated in the 1958 federal election. From 1949 to 1952, he was the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance. From 1952 to 1957, he was the Minister of Fisheries.

This dynasty is more Kennedy than Bush: charismatic, liberal-minded, social conscious. And not without scandal. And tragedy.

As an 18-year-old vacationing in Tahiti with her family, Margaret Sinclair met Pierre Trudeau, who was then Minister of Justice. Sinclair did not recognize him, and she in fact thought little of their encounter, but Trudeau was captivated by the carefree "flower child", thirty years younger than he, and began to pursue her. Pierre Trudeau was still a bachelor when he became Prime Minister in 1968. After keeping their romance private, he astonished the country by marrying the 22-year-old Sinclair on March 4, 1971. Though the couple initially appeared to have a very close and loving relationship, the marriage soon began to fall apart. Margaret resented her husband's constant work-related absences and was forced to raise her three young sons largely by herself. Beyond the normal extensive publicity that her high-profile position brought, on a few instances she made her own headlines. Margaret smuggled drugs in the prime minister's luggage, made scantily clad appearances at Studio 54, and tore apart a quilt work made by Canadian conceptual artist Joyce Wieland that hung on the wall in the prime minister's official residence in Ottawa because it celebrated "reason over passion".

Margaret had an affair with US Senator Ted Kennedy. She was also associated with members of the Rolling Stones, including Ronnie Wood and (according to Keith Richards's autobiography, Life) Mick Jagger. Suffering from stress and bouts of bipolar depression, she separated from her husband in 1977 and became a much-talked-about jet-setter. She gave many "tell-all" interviews to Canadian and American magazines and appeared in two motion pictures.

The death of the couple's youngest son 23-year-old Michel Trudeau was a family tragedy. Michel was working at Red Mountain Resort and living in Rossland, British Columbia for a year when he took a backcountry skiing trip with some friends in Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park. He died as the result of an avalanche on November 13, 1998. He was swept into Kokanee Lake and unable to reach the shore. His companions were unable to effect a rescue, and Trudeau drowned. An extensive search was launched, but his body has never been found.The lake's high altitude and limited days of open waters each year prevented divers from completing the search. The Trudeau family called off the recovery and later created a chalet nearby as a memorial.

Needless to say, the family was devastated from this loss. Justin wrote in his memoir Common Ground, "My own opinion was that the lights began to dim in my father’s soul when Michel died. He recovered from his pneumonia within a few weeks, and even travelled a bit after that. But from the time we buried Michel until his own passing two years later, my father was never the same man. My mother endured horrific, debilitating grief at losing her son, compounded by and compounding her mental health issues. She went through an extremely difficult period that left her entire family struggling to help during the five or six years that followed his death."

Justin's parents were regarded more like rock stars than political figures in their days of reign. One journalist described Pierre as "a deceptively diminutive man who somehow always seemed taller than life." His first election in 1968 inspired a frenzied fandom among young voters that became known as "Trudeaumania". And his administration included many historic accomplishments like making both French and English the official languages of the federal government.

Though Justin's rise to the role of Prime Minister was at times a tough struggle (having Pierre Trudeau as his father is a double-edged sword) in hindsight we can see that it was natural for him to follow in his father's career footsteps.

As the firstborn of three brothers he grew up occupying a special place in the public eye. “He is our John-John or Prince William,” says the National Post’s Coyne. He lived a celebrity childhood. Justin's birth at Ottawa Civic Hospital on Christmas Day 1971 — the first infant born to a sitting prime minister in a century — was cause for national celebration. Telegrams and phone calls arrived from global dignitaries, along with thousands of letters from Canadians and more hand-knitted sweaters, bonnets and booties than his parents knew what to do with. When Pierre took them to work, Justin and his brothers played tag or hide-and-seek in the corridors of Parliament. When Pierre traveled the world, the boys took turn coming along. As a boy, Justin met Margaret Thatcher, Helmut Schmidt, Ronald Reagan and other world leaders. As shown in photos, his father was a doting mentor to him.

But while Justin was born to the crown, he was also ambivalent about it. “My whole life,” he said in an interview, “has been about figuring out the balance between knowing who I am and being who I am and accepting that people will come to me with all sorts of preconceptions.” Rather than cannonball into politics, he spent his 20s teaching French, drama, and math at a private school in Vancouver and even worked as a snowboard instructor.

Here are a select few of the many, many photos of this beloved and charismatic family.

Pierre Trudeau does a dance after his campaign bus broke down in Montreal (June 6, 1968)
Pierre Trudeau does a dance after his campaign bus broke down in Montreal (June 6, 1968)
Pierre Trudeau and Margaret Sinclair are married March 5, 1971 at St. Stephen's Church in North Vancouver
Pierre Trudeau and Margaret Sinclair are married March 5, 1971 at St. Stephen's Church in North Vancouver
Pierre Trudeau, with a garland around his neck and a Hindu greeting symbol in paste on his forhead, rides a camel  in the village of Benares, India, where he dedicated a water well (Jan 12, 1971)
Pierre Trudeau, with a garland around his neck and a Hindu greeting symbol in paste on his forhead, rides a camel in the village of Benares, India, where he dedicated a water well (Jan 12, 1971)
Prime Minister Trudeau and Margaret leave the city's Notre Dame Basilica Sunday afternoon after the christening of their 22-day old infant Justin Pierre James (Jan 16, 1972)
Prime Minister Trudeau and Margaret leave the city's Notre Dame Basilica Sunday afternoon after the christening of their 22-day old infant Justin Pierre James (Jan 16, 1972)
11-month-old Justin Trudeau, urged on by his mother Margaret Trudeau, crawls up the steps of an aircraft in Ottawa to meet his father Pierre Trudeau on his return from Britain (Dec 5, 1972)
11-month-old Justin Trudeau, urged on by his mother Margaret Trudeau, crawls up the steps of an aircraft in Ottawa to meet his father Pierre Trudeau on his return from Britain (Dec 5, 1972)
Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau swings a young Justin after leaving an Ottawa polling station
Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau swings a young Justin after leaving an Ottawa polling station
PM Pierre Trudeau arrives at a Garden Party at Government House with Justin under his arm, as an RCMP salutes (Aug 1973)
PM Pierre Trudeau arrives at a Garden Party at Government House with Justin under his arm, as an RCMP salutes (Aug 1973)
Pierre Trudeau shakes hands with Mao Zedong on Oct 13, 1973
Pierre Trudeau shakes hands with Mao Zedong on Oct 13, 1973
Pierre and his friend Fidel Castro join in a singalong during a Latin American Tour (1976)
Pierre and his friend Fidel Castro join in a singalong during a Latin American Tour (1976)
Justin, Michel, and Alexandre (Sasha) Trudeau watch their father at his swearing-in ceremony as Prime Minister of Canada (Mar 2, 1980)
Justin, Michel, and Alexandre (Sasha) Trudeau watch their father at his swearing-in ceremony as Prime Minister of Canada (Mar 2, 1980)
Margaret Thatcher, Pierre Trudeau and Justin outside No. 10 Downing Street in London (1980)
Margaret Thatcher, Pierre Trudeau and Justin outside No. 10 Downing Street in London (1980)
Justin was eight years old when he met Pope John Paul II with his father during a visit to Rome in June 1980
Justin was eight years old when he met Pope John Paul II with his father during a visit to Rome in June 1980
Pierre Trudeau introduces Justin to an easy bit of white water. Justin Trudeau writes: "Dad had remained a great outdoorsman well into his mature years, able to overcome almost any obstacle he faced."
Pierre Trudeau introduces Justin to an easy bit of white water. Justin Trudeau writes: "Dad had remained a great outdoorsman well into his mature years, able to overcome almost any obstacle he faced."
Pierre Trudeau  with sons Justin,10, (upper left), Michel 7, (lower left), and Sacha 8 (1982)
Pierre Trudeau with sons Justin,10, (upper left), Michel 7, (lower left), and Sacha 8 (1982)
Pierre Trudeau and Justin in Moscow for the 1982 funeral of Soviet Union leader Leonid Brezhnev
Pierre Trudeau and Justin in Moscow for the 1982 funeral of Soviet Union leader Leonid Brezhnev
Pierre Trudeau, left, watches as his 11-year-old son Justin swings on a chain during a tour of an old fort in the Omani town of Nizwa (Dec 2, 1983)
Pierre Trudeau, left, watches as his 11-year-old son Justin swings on a chain during a tour of an old fort in the Omani town of Nizwa (Dec 2, 1983)
Pierre Trudeau shows how tall Justin has grown in relation to himself during the seventh inning stretch at the Montreal Expos game in Montreal (Apr 20, 1987)
Pierre Trudeau shows how tall Justin has grown in relation to himself during the seventh inning stretch at the Montreal Expos game in Montreal (Apr 20, 1987)
Pierre Trudeau with his ex-wife Margaret Kemper and their sons, Justin (R) and Sacha Trudeau (L) exit St. Viateur church in Montreal for a memorial service to Michel Trudeau (Nov 20, 1998)
Pierre Trudeau with his ex-wife Margaret Kemper and their sons, Justin (R) and Sacha Trudeau (L) exit St. Viateur church in Montreal for a memorial service to Michel Trudeau (Nov 20, 1998)
Justin, Margaret and Sacha at Pierre Trudeau's state funeral held at Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal (Oct 3, 2000)
Justin, Margaret and Sacha at Pierre Trudeau's state funeral held at Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal (Oct 3, 2000)
Cuban President Fidel Castro attends the funeral for Pierre Trudeau
Cuban President Fidel Castro attends the funeral for Pierre Trudeau
Justin (left) and Alexandre (Sacha) Trudeau lean out of the funeral train to show appreciation to mourners who turned out to pay their respects to former prime minister Pierre Trudeau in Dorval, Quebec (Oct  2, 2000)
Justin (left) and Alexandre (Sacha) Trudeau lean out of the funeral train to show appreciation to mourners who turned out to pay their respects to former prime minister Pierre Trudeau in Dorval, Quebec (Oct 2, 2000)
Rose vs Pot Leaf editorial cartoon by Bruce MacKinnon (Aug 2013)
Rose vs Pot Leaf editorial cartoon by Bruce MacKinnon (Aug 2013)
Liberal MP Justin Trudeau celebrates after he defeated Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau during charity boxing match for cancer research in Ottawa (Mar 31, 2012)
Liberal MP Justin Trudeau celebrates after he defeated Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau during charity boxing match for cancer research in Ottawa (Mar 31, 2012)
Justin having fun on his 2015 campaign tour (Montreal, Oct 19, 2015)
Justin having fun on his 2015 campaign tour (Montreal, Oct 19, 2015)
One of Margaret's proudest moments: she embraces Justin when he rises to give his victory speech after Canada's federal election in Montreal, Quebec
One of Margaret's proudest moments: she embraces Justin when he rises to give his victory speech after Canada's federal election in Montreal, Quebec
by Editorial Cartoonist Grooch
by Editorial Cartoonist Grooch
Justin with his family and his mother at  a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa (Nov 4, 2015)
Justin with his family and his mother at a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa (Nov 4, 2015)
the People's Prince: Justin at a subway station in Montreal a day after his victory in Canada's parliamentary elections
the People's Prince: Justin at a subway station in Montreal a day after his victory in Canada's parliamentary elections
Justin revels in the Age of Selfies
Justin revels in the Age of Selfies
a selfie moment with Syrian refugees
a selfie moment with Syrian refugees
 by Victor Juhasz for National Observer
by Victor Juhasz for National Observer
Justin and his wife Sophie in a photo from the January 2016 issue of Vogue
Justin and his wife Sophie in a photo from the January 2016 issue of Vogue
the photogenic Prime Minister in a Vogue fashion shot
the photogenic Prime Minister in a Vogue fashion shot

Her Majesty greeted Prime Minister Trudeau by saying it’s “nice to see you again… but under different circumstances.”

“I will say, you were much taller than me the last time we met,” Trudeau told the Queen, 40 years after being introduced by his father, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, as a 3 year-old.

“Well, this is extraordinary to think of, isn’t it,” the Queen replied with a laugh.

PM Justin Trudeau visits Queen Elizabeth II at at Buckingham Palace (Nov 25, 2015)
PM Justin Trudeau visits Queen Elizabeth II at at Buckingham Palace (Nov 25, 2015)
the hottie of APEC (Nov 2015)
the hottie of APEC (Nov 2015)
The Obamas hosted a star-studded State dinner for the Trudeaus on Mar 10, 2016
The Obamas hosted a star-studded State dinner for the Trudeaus on Mar 10, 2016

Yoga, yoga, yoga

Pierre doing the peacock yoga pose, 1970
Pierre doing the peacock yoga pose, 1970
Justin doing the same peacock pose, 2011
Justin doing the same peacock pose, 2011
yoga instructor Sophie doing the two-legged sage pose, 2016
yoga instructor Sophie doing the two-legged sage pose, 2016

Marvel heroes

cover of the comic Civil War II: Choosing Sides #5, featuring Prime Minister Justin Trudeau surrounded by the members of Alpha Flight
cover of the comic Civil War II: Choosing Sides #5, featuring Prime Minister Justin Trudeau surrounded by the members of Alpha Flight
Pierre Trudeau in 1979's Volume 120 of The Uncanny X-Men
Pierre Trudeau in 1979's Volume 120 of The Uncanny X-Men

with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Canada, Sep 2016

The Trudeau touch: 'Just watch me' note sells for $12K, chocolates go for $450

http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/the-trudeau-touch-just-watch-me-note-sells-for-12k-chocolates-go-for-450-1.2622821

Justin Trudeau, born into political spotlight, seeks to fulfil Nixon prophecy

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/justin-trudeau-born-into-political-spotlight-seeks-to-fulfil-nixon-prophecy-1.3275102

More by this Author


Comments

No comments yet.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working