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Trudeau dead at 80
By Gazette Staff
A nation mourns and a country weeps, as a great leader slips quietly into the sunset after more than 80 years of life in Canada.
Former Prime Minister, Pierre Elliot Trudeau [1919-2000] passed away 3 p.m. Thursday afternoon in his home, suffering complications arising from prostate cancer. Trudeau held office for a period lasting from 1968-1984, which was only interrupted for nine months by Joe Clark's minority government in 1979.
Western political science professor Sid Noel, said he was always impressed with Trudeau's intellect and how vigorous he seemed.
"I've had the pleasure of meeting the former Prime Minister three or four times, most recently about three years ago when I got to speak with him alone for about 10 minutes," he said.
Noel said he will always treasure a photo he has of the two of them together. He said the former Prime Minister's legacy will be the need for a strong federal government in Canada that's what he fought for all his life. "He occupies a pivotal place in 20th century Canadian politics."
Noel added Trudeau will always be associated with the drastic change of the Constitution of 1982.
Chair of the political science department, Andrew Sancton, said in his opinion Trudeau's biggest achievement was the patriation of the Constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. "It was something the previous Prime Ministers had been wrestling with for years, if not decades."
Sancton was an undergraduate student when Trudeau was running for leadership of the Liberal party and said he captivated everyone. "We had a feeling we were on the edge of something exciting, it made a difference to people in our age group."
He added no one has led the country quite like Trudeau and said current Prime Minister Jean Chretien has been able to benefit from his legacy, riding on the popularity of the great Grit.
"I don't think there's been anything like him. Chretien is his political inheritance in a way. I'm sure there will be another Prime Minister who will carry the spirit in his or her time, but not [Trudeau's] time," he said.
"We are very sad to hear Pierre Elliot Trudeau is no longer with us," said Deputy Prime Minister Herb Gray, in an Ottawa press conference yesterday.