A Trip Down Trudeau Lane


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Like many of the desiccated old corpses who were here in Ottawa during the Pierre Trudeau days, I’ve been combing through my old files reminiscing about all the fun we used to have. Justin has brought this out in many of us who worked on the Hill in the 60s, 70s and 80s. We just can’t help ourselves.

Ah, it takes me back. Like the time, as a young reporter, Pierre chased me off his property when I was sent to interview him as he was moving boxes out of 24 Sussex the first time. Or the time, after the Press Gallery dinner show, when he came back stage and told me I had real talent.

I might have been wearing this.

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Then there was the time I had dinner with him and a bunch of politicos at Dubruvik’s in Winnipeg. I got stuck right beside him.

“So Prime Minister, I understand the Liberal caucus bought you a VCR for Christmas. What are you watching?”

He shrugged.

“Whatever tapes Tom (Axworthy) sends over for me to watch.”

“Have you seen Superman?”

“Are you asking me how I got my date with Margot Kidder?”

“What do you think of Joe Clark?”

“He’s a small mean man.”

That kind of thing. Let’s just say Pierre and I were never what you would call sympatico.

But I did have the privilege of working in his PMO in the final two years before he took his walk in the snow. And I did get to meet his young sons, including Justin. We were at a barbecue held by Pierre’s chauffer at the Gatehouse right in front of the big house, the one Margaret described today as the Crown Jewel of the Canadian Penetentiary System, 24 Sussex Drive.

We were getting high, giggling and waving at the Mounties and tourists after a fun game of baseball. At one point Justin and his bros zoomed over on their bikes. Sasha had a video camera and started taping us as we tried to hide the reefers. We may be responsible for the journalism career he has today!

Being in the PMO was a blast. I was one of the women who worked for Bill MacEachern. He called us his Angels.

He couldn’t have gotten away with that today, but we loved him for it. On Hallowe’en we came dressed up in wings and stilettos.

Those were really, really fun times in politics. There was none of the nastiness that has permeated the system like the mould in the West Block.

Keith Davey described it as “the politics of joy.”

I hope we get that back in this country. I hope Justin and Sophie lead the yoga classes on Parliament Hill. I hope Ralph Goodale gets an earring.

Maybe he will after pot is finally made legal. Unless Rona Ambrose and Stephen Harper are right and we all die of brain cancer.

Even more fun. Then we’ll be Zombies and eat tourist brains for lunch.

You see what Liberals bring to the table.

It’s called imagination. Learn about it.

 

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