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Tudeaumania

Trudeaumania was the label given to a social and political phenomenon associated with Pierre Elliott Trudeau, one of the most popular but controversial prime ministers of Canada.

Pierre Elliott Trudeau

Trudeau's entry into federal politics sparked a remarkable wave of popularity and enthusiasm for Trudeau, which saw young people, and especially young women treat him like a rock star. He was constantly approached for autographs, and asked to pose for photographs with admirers.

The roots of his popularity can be traced to the social milieu of the times. Many young people in Canada were influenced by the counter-culture of the 1960s, and they saw in Trudeau a man who shared their youth, enthusiasm and their social values. Trudeau was regarded as young, energetic and non-conformist. He had previously campaigned for the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, the left-leaning political party which was the precursor to the New Democratic Party, and he was known to have Marxist leanings. His views on homosexuality (which he legalized as justice minister) and the rights of women were also in accord with the views of the Sixties ' generation, which adulated him.

Trudeaumania was a unique period in Canadian history and transformed Trudeau into a pop icon. His celebrity status was unique for a politician, and Trudeau capitalized on it by associating with many celebrities including musicians and actors. He was known also as a ladies man, who had many liaisons.

The Trudeaumania phenomenon began to subside when Trudeau married Margaret Sinclair in 1971, but he remains one of Canada's most popular politicians. In 2004, Trudeau was voted the 3rd greatest Canadian of all time in a poll conducted of CBC viewers, ranking only behind Tommy Douglas (the father of universal Medicare) and Terry Fox (the tragic anti-cancer crusader).

Paradoxically, despite his great popularity, Trudeau is also remembered as a divisive and hated figure. He is particularly unpopular in Quebec, due to his staunch opposition to Quebec sovereignty, as well as in the western provinces where his economic policies were especially hated. In 2015 there was a mini-resurgence of Trudeau mania when his hapless son Justin rode his father's coat tails to become prime minister of Canada.

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