Margaret Trudeau – Changing My Mind

1. “Pierre invoked the War Measures Act and ordered mass raids and arrests but said that he would not deal with terrorists.”

I had heard about this act before, but I had no idea Pierre Trudeau was the one who implemented it. The fact that such a huge decision had to be made so quickly and under such stressful circumstances is both terrifying and inspiring; Pierre had to act fast under immense pressure in order to help as many citizens as possible. On a much smaller scale, this is similar to my life, as I have had to make tough decisions in the past in a small time frame. A recent example of that would be on the kayaking trip this past weekend, when we were facing some very rough weather conditions and had to work together to quickly come up with a solution.

Pierre decided against bargaining with the terrorists, as he believed that the loss of two people would be better than the release of dozens of political prisoners. This shows that he believed in protecting innocent civilians rather than saving two politicians. Now, we have similar values, though they are not exposed as directly.

2. “Husbands were not allowed to be present at the birth in those days at the Ottawa Civic Hospital.”

This passage really stood out to me because my dad’s family grew up in Ontario, and for the birth of one of his brothers, neither him nor his father were allowed into the hospital room. I thought it was uncommon for that to take place, but after reading about it in this novel, I realized just how different things were back then.

This shows that in the past, specifically in the 1970’s, women and men were still treated very differently. Now, it is commonplace for men to be present at the birth of their child, which signifies an advancement in both women’s rights and gender equality.

3. “He picked me when I was nineteen (…) Pierre also thought that because I was so young, he could mould me into the kind of person he wanted me to be.”

This passage explains how Pierre Trudeau ‘picked’ Margaret Trudeau when she was very young, not based on how well they connected, but based on her age and her physical attributes. This reminds me of how in Romeo and Juliet, their relationship was based on physical attraction, and it was intense very quickly before coming to a violent end. Pierre and Margaret’s relationship ended similarly.

This shows that, like the previous passage, women’s rights were far less developed just 60 years ago. Divorces were much less common, but that means that women had to put up with a lot from their husbands. This also shows that women did not always have a choice when it came to relationships. Today,

4. “For the first time in my life, I was using my name and my curious status as a celebrity to some important end.”

This passage talks about how Margaret went to Africa three times to help to build water wells in communities there. This resonated with me as I have actually applied to go to Kenya to do the same thing next summer. I am very interested in helping the world in whatever ways I can, just like Margaret, who recognized that her celebrity status could influence people and decided to use it for the benefit of others.

Margaret began her trips to Africa in 2002, when they were not as common as they are today. She inspired people across the country to help others, something which has greatly influenced Canada’s identity today.

5. “I wanted to warn women that in the world of patients, women who are mentally ill lie at the very bottom of the pile, frequently not treated for their physical ailments.”

This passage was interesting to me because I am interested in health care, and mental illness is a growing sector of that. I am aware of the unjust imbalance between how physical illness is perceived and how mental illness is perceived, and I believe that Margaret should be praised for helping to spread the message.

This statement was written within the last ten years, so not much has changed since that time. However, within Canada and throughout the whole world, mental illness is continuously being talked about more and more. There is much more awareness now than there was even two years ago.

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