Good Luck to Justin Trudeau Who's Dad Did Me a Couple of Big Favors Decades Ago

Tonight in Papineau Quebec, Justin Trudeau, Pierre's oldest son, will launch the second chapter of Trudeau-mania. Justin's dad, Pierre Trudeau, did me a couple of big favors decades ago and today, a few hours before his son makes his big announcement, seems like the perfect day to write about them and say thanks.

Pierre Trudeau followed in the footsteps of Lester Pearson when he was elected Canada's Prime Minister in 1968. Back then Canada had an independent foreign policy and was far less of a lapdog to the Americans on all issues. Lester Pearson, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957, was an outspoken critic of the US war in Vietnam and authored the Canadian policy of accepting American Vietnam War resistors into Canada. Pierre Trudeau did the same, in fact, Trudeau's years in power saw many thousands of draft dodgers and deserters crossing the border into Canada and being welcomed with open arms.

i was one of those thousands and because of Canada's independent policies, its open minded generous people and Pierre's strength of character in the face of American threats i was allowed to start a new life, to have a wonderful family and to avoid serving in an immoral and illegal war.

Canada, as Pierre himself acknowledged in later years, benefited from the migration of many university educated young Americans. During that era what was referred to as 'the brain drain' saw many Canadians, whose education had been paid for by Canadian taxpayers, move south because of higher salaries and/or greater glory. The anti-war protesters, in part at least, reversed that process.

The second big favor Pierre did for me was a bit more personal. It happened in '70 at a big party we both attended in the Vancouver home of...of mutual friends who owned Mantracka Candles. A few of my friends and i were there to drink the free beer and get loaded. Pierre was there because he was chasing a wild young beauty from West Van. named Maggie. The place was jammed with the artists, musicians, hippies, yippies, hair, beads, peace symbols and smoke. Back in those days marijuana and hash were everywhere and at a big party folks just lit up joints or pipes full of hash and launched them into the crowd to be passed from person to person, whoever happened to be next to you, regardless of if you knew them or not. So there i was, my girlfriend/partner on one side of me and Pierre on the other [though we were in separate circles, me with my friends, he, with eyes a'twinkle, was talking to Maggie.

A hand reached out in front of me, it was passing me a glowing pipe full of hash. i never saw if Pierre had a toke on it or not but he could have passed it on to anybody, after all he was the Prime Minister, but i lucked out, it was great hash and i thanked him then as i do now. Thanks Pierre for the hash and for allowing me a new life in Canada, all the best of luck to your son Justin, he's gonna need it.