Justin Trudeau, 43, is the new prime minister-designate of Canada now that his Liberal Party won enough parliamentary seats in the country’s federal election Monday to form a majority government. Trudeau has an unusual resume for a prime minister — and it’s not that his father was the famous Canadian leader Pierre Trudeau. Justin Trudeau taught in public and private school. Subjects: math, French, drama, humanities.
Trudeau clearly likes to be in school, and was reported to have been a good student, at least according to this ebook, “The Contender: The Justin Trudeau Story,” by Althia Raj, the Huffington Post’s Ottawa bureau chief.
He has a bachelor’s degree from McGill University in literature, as well as a bachelor’s of education that he started at McGill and completed at the University of British Columbia. He started but did not finish a degree in engineering at l’École Polytechnique in Montreal, and he took one year of a master’s program in environmental geography at McGill, according to Radio Canada.
He decided to become a teacher, he has said, to have “a positive influence in the world.”
At McGill University, where he earned his bachelor of arts in English and started his bachelor of education (he completed it at the University of British Columbia), Trudeau was a good student. The book says that after working as a “supply,” or substitute teacher at the public Prince of Wales Secondary School, he got a regular teaching job at West Point Grey Academy, an elite private school for Grades 8-12. The book says:
Between 1999 and 2001, Trudeau taught elementary school math and high school French, humanities and drama, taking over a class when a teacher went on maternity leave. Trudeau’s boss, the head of the senior school, Stephen Anthony, describes him as “highly valued, spirited and enthusiastic teacher” who was liked by staff and students.
Although Trudeau spent most of his teaching time at West Point Grey, his campaign plays down the fact that he taught mostly rich kids.
During an interview with Global BC this January, in which he stressed his B.C. connections, Trudeau fibbed and said he had spent more time teaching at Sir Winston Churchill, a public school, than at West Point Grey.
“I lived here for five or six years, I absolutely loved it. I did a large part of my teaching here. And I was teaching mostly at [the public] Winston Churchill secondary school up on Oak. And I loved it,” Trudeau told interviewer Jas Johal.
The book also says that many students at West Point Grey “remember Trudeau fondly.”
On his Liberal Party’s Web site, he says this about being a teacher:
After graduating from McGill in 1994 with a B.A., I found myself with a lot of time to think about my life and my future. That summer, in a quiet moment of reflection on a hillside, I realized my next step: I would become a schoolteacher. This would be my way of having a positive influence in the world.
Before I knew it I had graduated from the University of British Columbia’s education program and was teaching in Vancouver, mostly in French and math.
After years of teaching on the West Coast, I decided that it was time to return home to Quebec. I loved Vancouver, had a great group of friends, loved the mountains and the ocean, but at thirty, I was starting to feel that it was time to settle down and possibly start a family. I couldn’t imagine that happening anywhere other than Montreal.