Greatest Canadian: Pierre Trudeau Essay

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Pierre Trudeau is the greatest Canadian of the twentieth century due to the fact that he declared Canada’s independence from Great Britain, he abolished the death penalty, and he created the Official Languages Act, making our nation entirely bilingual. His upbringing was a quiet one, “born into a family, a home and a neighbourhood of modest means” . Joseph Charles-Émile Trudeau, the family patriarch, was not a rich man because his parents were Quebec farmers. However, his maternal grandfather was a businessman. The young Pierre was born on October 18th, 1919 as Joseph Philippe Pierre Yves Elliott Trudeau. He was enrolled in a bilingual school on the outskirts of Montreal, yet was taught only English for his first three years. Early on is…show more content…
As a teenager, Pierre Trudeau attended Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf, a French-speaking Jesuit institution. At home, the Trudeaus spoke a mixture of French and English, so Pierre found the transition from an English school to a French one quite effortless . His interest in politics has waned slightly. Instead, he wanted to become a sea captain, explorer, or an astronaut, a term not yet coined. He loved to travel, and just before he had graduated from high school, he toured the Gaspé Region on foot, rode through the three Maritime Provinces on a motorcycle, visited British Columbia, and took a train to Mexico. Tragedy struck later that year. On a cold winter`s night, Pierre and his brother Charles Jr. received word that their father had passed away in Florida. In his autobiography Memoirs, Pierre described it as if "the whole world had gone empty" . Soon after the outbreak of World War II, Trudeau began to study law at the Université de Montréal. Pierre was strongly against signing up to fight. Like most French Canadians at that time, he didn`t believe that it was just a war. Rumours about the Holocaust swirled around campus. Nothing could distract Pierre from his studies. A few months later, he heard a speech by Ernest Lapointe, who was Prime Minister Mackenzie King`s right-hand man and Quebec lieutenant. He promised the crowd that there would be no absolutely no conscription, or so Pierre thought.
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