1982 – StFX Honorary Degree for Canada’s 15th Prime Minister: Pierre Elliott Trudeau

The People’s Photo Album is truly the people’s as the people have taken seriously their obligation to fact-check even after publication.  Appearing on Allan J. MacEachen’s page (p. 109), the caption for this photo of PM Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s honourary degree from StFX reads “Morrison Hall, 1980. L to R:  P. M. Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Fr. Leo (Poppy) McKenna, Fr. Malcolm MacLellan (past president StFX), Allan J. MacEachen, Deputy Prime Minister.

Betty (MacDonnell) MacDonald,  Constituency Assistant for MP Sean Fraser, graduated from StFX in 1982.  PM Pierre Elliott Trudeau received an honorary degree and addressed the graduates at Convocation on May 2, 1982.  On Jan. 7, 2019, when HARP visited the Constituency Office with the Album in hand, Betty spotted the error.  Betty also provided HARP with the text of PM Trudeau’s address, which has resonance in the age of social media just as it did in 1982.   In his call for a new code of international morality, PM Trudeau said:

The old order has vanished and has been replaced by disorder. No longer can the peoples of the world live in separate national boxes, seldom touched by or touching people in other boxes far away. When I was a child, the way we related to less fortunate people in far-off continents was to send used postage stamps to what we used to call the foreign missions. Now they and we are present to each other every day. We touch each other in a thousand ways.

We are no longer many peoples, but one people. . . .

From the Falkland Islands to the Middle East, from Poland to southeast Asia, there is human misery and conflict. From the midst of suffering and danger you can hear the global yearning for peace and justice, for a universal moral order.

Look for the 18th Prime Minister of Canada hovering in the background of this 1982 photo?  Yes, that is Brian Mulroney behind Fr. Leo McKenna.  Here is the back story to this photo. In the early 1980s, Brian Mulroney, a StFX graduate, was enlisted by Fred Doucet, Director of Development (1979 to 1982), to spearhead StFX’s fundraising campaign. Mulroney’s leadership helped bring in $11 million, $4 million over the original goal.  Mulroney appointed Fred Doucet as his Chief of Staff after he became Leader of the Opposition in 1983 and Doucet played a significant role in the 1984 national election campaign.

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