Monday, December 7, 2015

Margaret Joan Sinclair Trudeau

Our new Prime Minister - Justin Trudeau - has a Vancouver connection. His mother, Margaret Joan Sinclair Trudeau, was born here on September 10, 1948.

Margaret's parents were Doris Kathleen (nee Bernard) and James Sinclair. James was a former liberal member of the Parliament of Canada and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.In 1952, the family moved to Ottawa but returned to North Vancouver in 1958 when James lost his re-election bid.

Margaret graduated from Simon Fraser University in 1969 with a bachelor of arts in sociology.

At the age of 18, Margaret was on vacation in Tahiti with her family when she met the man who was to create her destiny - the Minister of Justice, Pierre Elliot Trudeau. Margaret didn't recognize him and thought little of the meeting. Pierre, however, was smitten with the flower child that was thirty years younger than him, and began to pursue her.

Trudeau was still a bachelor when he was appointed Prime Minister in 1968 and he and Margaret kept their romance hidden. That is until the country was shocked when 51-year-old Pierre married the 22-year-old Margaret in a private ceremony in North Vancouver. Due to the age difference, some eyebrows rose, and tongues were wagging but it seemed to fit with the Prime Minister's progressive views and youthful vigor.

Pierre was Catholic when he and Margaret wed so she converted to Roman Catholicism. Later in life, she studied Buddhism though now she considers herself to be Anglican.  When asked about her role in a marriage to the Prime Minister, Margaret stated, "I want to be more than a rose in my husband's lapel."

Apparently, Mrs. Trudeau had some difficulty adjusting to her new role. "From the day I became Mrs. Pierre Elliott Trudeau," she writes in her memoirs, "a glass panel was gently lowered into place around me, like a patient in a mental hospital who is no longer considered able to make decisions and who cannot be exposed to a harsh light." 

The couple had three children: Justin (born December 25, 1971), Alexandre (Sacha) (born December 25, 1973), and Michel (October 2, 1975 – November 13, 1998).

Pierre and Margaret appeared to have a very close and loving relationship at first. But the marriage soon began to fall apart. Margaret resented being left alone to basically raise three boys on her own while Pierre was away on work-related absences. Her high profile position brought extensive publicity but Mrs. Trudeau created her own episodes.

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".

Thanks to Wikipedia for the above information. Wednesday, I will tell you more about this lady who was also known as 'Canada's Wild Child'.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

Karen Magill

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