Begin forwarded message:
From: ALAN SKEOCH <email@example.com>Subject: EPISODE 129 I HAVE TO TAKE A LEAK…PM TRUDEAU VISIT TO PCIDate: September 29, 2020 at 9:24:33 AM EDTTo: Alan Skeoch <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Marjorie Skeoch <email@example.com>, John Wardle <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Note…I hope this story does not seem silly…then again what if it does…who cares?
John…take a look…you do not need to send the story out if it seems off the wall.
EPISODE 129 PM PIERRE TRUDEAU VISITS PCI…and has to take a leak
If the hat fits , wear it. Liberal, Conservative, NDP, Green, Bloc….or no hat at al. IN the long run Canadian political parties
are not that different…and that is something of which we should take pride.
Backwards! We have not got our politics all backwards as in this picture. Deep down we like each other.
In Canada, I believe we follow the Rodney King look upon life. Remember him? Beaten up in California he asked the
police, “Why can’t we all get along?” The difference between Bananas and peaches, between tomatoes and lemons is
greater than the differences between Liberals, Conservatives, Greens and New Democrats. We can ‘all get along.’ Let’s keep
it that way. We can talk to each other. Most of us do not even belong to a political party.
TRUMP- BIDEN DEBATE…CHAOS, HATRED, VIOLENCE
We watched the Trump – Biden show last night. Shocked! Made me think about the
day Pierre Elliott Trudeau visited Parkdale Collegiate many years ago. that was
a gentler time maybe. But the more I thought about that visit the more I came to
believe Canadian democracy has much to recommend.
One quotation comes to mind about the Trump – Biden fiasco….”Democracy is a troubled spirit whose dream
if it dream presents only visions of hell.” That sure was the case last night. Visions of hell”
Even subtle suggestions of civil war. A debate that was Out of control presenting visions of
hell. I would not invite President Trump to speak to my class. But I did indirectly
invite PM Pierre Trudeau to come … and he came
SETTING THE SCENE
(A Grade Ten class at Parkdale C.I, west end Toronto)
“OK, gang, I have an idea.”
The class hurly burly settled down and most of the grade ten
students at Parkdale Collegiate in Toronto seemed in a listening mood.
“I think we can cajole the Prime Minister to join us.”
“Yes, in person,”
“Because our riding is up for grabs in this election.”
“What’s the plan, sir?”
“You simply write him a note…an invitation.”
“Would it not be better for you to write the note, sir?”
“Nope. Trudeau likes young people. He loses patience with older people…particularly
teachers I believe. Too pompous.”
“Any tips, sir?”
“Keep it simple.”
So they wrote a letter. Several letters as I remember. Written in Grade Ten language with
minimum of flattery. Hand written…straightforward, some spelling errors. Most of the students did not expect
the Prime Minister would ever visit our class. But they went along with the plan.
And then, about a week later, we got a note from the Prime Minister…quite personal.
The answer was a “Yes” he would visit our school…hopefully our class.
Then the whole adventure took on a life of its own.
Unfortunately the visit was taken out of our hands as the whole school got excited.
“We will have to open the auditorium for everyone. This is a great honour.”
So the visit was not to our classroom and, really, our Grade Ten students were sort
of shouldered aside. That did not bother them as much as I expected. It bothers me
today. Initially I thought One of the students
would introduce the PM and another would do the thank you. That was the initial plan
but staff changed it a bit. Our staff of 60 teachers got excited. The visit got to be
teacher dominated which was partly my fault. Trudeau sent word that he would like to to a Q and A with
the kids. Insisting the meeting be student centred. That much I liked. There were other
aspects of the planned visit that I did not like very much.
A few teachers got really concerned that some of our outspoken and out of control students
would make the visit into a disaster by rude questioning. Like “Mr. Prime Minister you only
came here to get votes.” etc.etc. Wild, even rude, questions did not bother me as I believed
Trudeau liked that kind of questioning from young people.
No matter. Some teachers decided to keep a close eye on our more outspoken students.
And I was asked to chair the Q and A from the stage. The visit was getting goddamn pompous
but I agreed. In retrospect that was a mistake. A student should have had that job. We had
students that would have done a fine job sitting on stage with the PM. A shy student would
have been terrific. The PM would have liked that I thought.
In short , we over organized the visit. Too much teacher input. Very little student input.
My Grade Ten class was not upset really. None wanted the spotlight as I remember.
Now, decades later, I wish I had not chaired the meeting. Trudeau would have loved to see
a student from the grade Ten class on stage. He did meet some of them personally
though and that was quite wonderful.
As mentioned the visit took a life of its own. I was surprised when a day before
the official visit an RCMP detachment arrived with a sniffer dog…or maybe more than
one sniffer dog. They did not announce their presence but searched and smelled
the whole school from basement even to the roof. A search for bombs. Wow!
This visit was getting the full treatment.
Then, the next day, the PM arrived with an escort of unmarked vehicles. He had bodyguards
and also political people with him. But it was Trudeau who led the group. We greeted
him at the front door. Shook hands He seemed a bit agitated.
“Thanks for coming…(what should I call him? I decided to use no special term)…My
class is very excited…flattered.”
PM Trudeau stil seemed a bit agitated when he leaned closer to me saying:
“Where can I take a leak?”
“The principal’s office over here.”
And so he disappeared for a leak.
At this point one of our teachers sort of bulled through the crowd. “Where is the
Prime Minister? I just love him.”
I pointed to the Principal’s office and she zipped away in that direction. She went
right into the office. Trudeau was taking a leak. Apparently she stood outside
the washroom door and greeted him. I think he took that rudeness in his stride.
His bodyguards could not stop her. I do not think a CNR locomotive could have
stopped her. It was no big deal anyway.
What is my point? Not much. It is just so human. Nothing special…a normal
Trudeau then took to the stage. He stood with an open microphone taking
questions from the kids just like any teacher wold have done in class. it was
very laid back. I was not needed on the stage snd had the good sense to
sit there and keep my mouth shut. Even when one teacher moved in
on a student who seemed bent on embarrassing the Prime Minister. The kid
was removed. Too bad. Trudeau would have liked a few sparks flying.
BACK TO THE TRUMP – BIDEN DEBATE
Really our student experience with political life in Canada was very relaxed…friendly, honest,
straight answers to questions. The visit lacked pomposity. It was so far
distant from the Trump – Biden debate. Polite. Maybe even boring.
What would I do if facing students today after the insult laden American Presidential
debate? How could I be impartial if I was an American teacher. One thought
came to mind. “Democracy can only work well if there are two political parties
that are not distant from each other…parties that we would call centrists…neither
extreme left nor extreme right. Parties not so filled with hate for each other that
they welcome the prospect of violence.” I read something life that somewhere.
Seemed sensible to me. I am not a member of any political party and have voted
for all three on different occasions.
Certainly I do not see the rift between parties as deep and
hostile … The Grand Canyon. Full hatred. Fire and Brimstone. And
that has a fascination for sure.
Our political life cannot compare. Boring. Nice. The Prime Minister
has to take a leak. The school staff worry he might be asked a rude
question. The Prime Minister, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, responds to an invitation
by Grade Ten students. So ordinary. So nice. No apologies.
You want to know something I suspected? I do not think many of
my students knew whether Trudeau was a Liberal or a Conservative.
There was no big difference. And that…that makes all the difference.
Sept. 29, 2020