Pierre Elliot Trudeau - remembered
Text of the eulogy given by Justin Trudeau for his father; October 3, 2000

Here is the text of the eulogy given by  Justin Trudeau for his father:

"Friends, Romans, countrymen . . . 
I 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.
Justin Trudeau

It 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. One day, we were in Alert,
Canada's northernmost point, scientific military
installation that seemed to consist entirely of low
shed-like buildings and warehouses.

Let's 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.

I 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 base.

I was exactly right. We 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.

So I clamboured 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.

And that's when I understood just how powerful
and wonderful my father was.

Pierre Elliott Trudeau. The very words convey so
many things to so many people. Statesman,
intellectual, professor, adversary, outdoorsman,
lawyer, journalist, author, prime minister.

But more than anything, to me, he was dad.
And 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.

We 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.

He gave us a lot of tools. We were taught to take
nothing for granted. He doted on us but didn't

Many people say he didn't suffer fools gladly, but
I'll have you know he had infinite patience with us.

He encouraged us to push ourselves, to test
limits, to challenge anyone and anything.

There were certain basic principles that could
never be compromised.

As I guess it is for most kids, in Grade 3, it was
always a real treat to visit my dad at work.

As 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.

But at eight, I was becoming politically aware.
And I recognized one whom I knew to be one
of my father's chief rivals.
Thinking of pleasing my father, I told a joke about
him - a generic, silly little grade school thing.

My father looked at me sternly with that look I
would learn to know so well, and said: 'Justin,
Never attack the individual. We can be in total
disagreement with someone without denigrating
them as a consequence.'

Saying 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 there
with his daughter, a nice-looking blonde girl a
little younger than I was.

He spoke to me in a friendly manner for a bit and
it was at that point that I understood that having
opinions that are different from those of another
does not preclude one being deserving of respect
as an individual.

This simple tolerance and (recognition of) the
real and profound dimensions of each human
being, regardless of beliefs, origins, or values -
that's what he expected of his children and that's
what he expected of our country.

He demanded this with love, love of his sons,
love of his country, and it's for this that we so
love the letters, the flowers, the dignity of the
crowds, and we say to him, farewell.

All that to thank him for having loved us so much.

My 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.

It means the world to Sacha and me.

Thank you.Sacha Trudeau

We have gathered from coast to coast to coast,
from one ocean to another, united in our grief,
to say goodbye.

But 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 we're all
capable of.

But he won't be coming back anymore. It's all up
to us, all of us, now.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep. 
He has kept his promises and earned his sleep.

                         I love you, papa.Justin breaks down

The Final Procession . . .
The Final Procession

                                                      © The Canadian Press, 2000