I’ve been remembering, recently, the dominant national political personality during my formative years, Pierre Elliot Trudeau. I could not find any images of Trudeau in the City of Vancouver Archives, but I found this rather good photo in UBC Library’s Digital Collection of his June 1976 visit to UBC. Here, he is visiting UBC shortly after the official opening of the Museum of Anthropology’s new facility (along with UBC President, Douglas Kenny, and MOA architect, Arthur Erickson). I think the main reason he was in town was for the June 1976 UN Habitat Forum. Trudeau made at least two trips to Vancouver in 1976. He had also been to UBC in February for the opening ceremonies of the new TRIUMF building.
If you would like to engage in a bit of time travel, below are three links to CBC’s digital archive collection that pertain to PET. First, here is a CBC Radio episode from 1957 (more than a decade before PET became national Liberal Party leader) called “Fighting Words” (complete with the today-bizarre remarks by the host pertaining to ‘civilizing the Eskimos’). This quiz show hosted by Nathan Cohen tested guests’ knowledge of quotations. In this episode, guest panelists included Trudeau and (ultimately) his nemesis, Rene Levesque. But political careers were in the future; at the time, Levesque and Trudeau were both journalists. Second, here is a report on the night of PET’s first majority win in 1974 (after limping along with a minority government for two years). Maggie Trudeau has a cameo. And, finally, this is a salute to PET’s passion for foreign affairs: a report on his trip in 1973 to the People’s Republic of China, including a visit with the ‘Great Helmsman‘ (who would die in 1976, leaving in his wake the messy succession problems – remember the ‘Gang of Four‘? – which typically occur when dictators die).