With the Liberal leadership race in the home stretch this week, Canadian eyes are on Justin Trudeau. Can he turn his youthful supporters into voters? When push comes to shove, does he have his papa’s panache?

I’m the last one to speculate on political outcomes, seeing as how I’ve planted the kiss of death on pretty much every political party I’ve voted for over the years. In spite of that, I’ve had my share of (ahem) political affairs. It may come as a shock to Justin, but I once had an “affair” with Pierre. What’s more, my essay about our dalliance just won first prize in the North Shore Writers’ Non-Fiction contest! I’ll receive my prize at this year’s NSW Festival. Want to read my essay? Here’s: “Oh, Mon Cher Pierre .”

Whether Justin can make the kind of mark on Liberal hearts or Canadian history that his dad did remains to be seen. But that was neither my first nor my last brush with well-known Canadian politicos. I gave the Conservatives the brush-off (or rather, they did me) when then-Prime Minister John Diefenbaker bumped my elbow while I climbed the steps of the Parliament Buildings during my Grade Eight school trip. And in 2011, while working on my laptop at my local Starbucks, I glanced up and was shocked to see the NDP’s Jack Layton sitting just a few feet from me, enjoying a coffee with a woman I later learned was his sister. I approached him for a photo (opting not to mention my fling with Pierre, of course). He graciously consented.Jack Layton & Judy Millar

Like lots of Canadians of all political stripes, I admit I’m still carrying a torch for Jack. Sadly, we lost him a few months later.

Clearly, I’ve experienced “close encounters of the political kind” with Canadian politicians of all persuasions. Which politicians have you met in person? Never mind politics. What kind of real-life impressions did they make on you?  I’d love to know (in the comments below).

4 Responses to Pierre, Justin, Jack and me

  1. Beth says:

    I love that picture of you and Jack! I was once patted on the head by Harry Strom, premier of Alberta before Peter Lougheed (am I dating myself ?) But that’s my only claim to political greatness 🙂

    • judymillar says:

      Harry Strom? According to Wiki, he was an “honest, decent man” who “lacked political skills … charisma and a sense of purpose.” Ouch. At least he knew whose head to pat! 🙂

  2. Leanne says:

    Your neck looks pretty good to me!