Margaret Trudeau’s last breakdown

Trudeau speaks frankly about drugs, men, and how she survived the lows

Margaret Trudeau's last breakdown

Peter Bregg/CP/ Reuters/ Photograph by Jane Heller

Margaret Trudeau is sitting in the living room of her Montreal apartment, chatting about the Prime Minister and marijuana. No, the former flower-child chatelaine of 24 Sussex isn’t time-travelling back to her days married to prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau in the ’70s, smoking spliffs under the noses of her Mountie detail. She’s vibrantly in the here and now as conversation veers to the government’s stance on medical marijuana. “I think Mr. Harper has told us we could grow four [plants],” she says. “I’m tempted to grow four.” She’s joking—or seems to be. Trudeau’s pot-smoking days are behind her—mostly.

Now a mental-health advocate, Trudeau is more interested in the role marijuana use played in her bipolar disorder, a condition she made public in 2006. A little grass gave her focus, she says: “some light and joy and delight.” Too much triggered manic episodes. She still indulges—occasionally. “I fall off now and then, but very, very seldom,” she says. “I’m too cautious now.”

“Cautious” was never a word used to describe Margaret Trudeau, who arrived on the national stage in 1971 as the ravishing 22-year-old bride of a debonair 51-year-old PM. Their unlikely union, which produced Justin, Alexandre (known as Sacha) and Michel, ended in 1977 amidst lurid headlines that the PM’s erratic wife had bolted to photograph the Rolling Stones. Margaret filled in the details in Beyond Reason, her 1979 tell-a-lot, which revealed her “long tunnel of darkness” during her marriage and her affair with an unnamed man later identified as senator Edward Kennedy. In 1982, a second memoir, Consequences, detailed dalliances with the likes of Jack Nicholson and Ryan O’Neal as she flitted between continents seeking her own fame.

Lifestyles of the rich and heedless eventually paled; Trudeau returned to Ottawa where she took a job co-hosting a local TV show. In 1984, she married real estate developer Fried Kemper, with whom she had two children, Kyle and Alicia, and retreated into domesticity. In 1998, she was back in the headlines with news she’d been committed to a psychiatric facility in Vancouver after telling a television interviewer she’d skied with princes William and Harry—a fabrication. Then events took a tragic turn: Michel was killed in an avalanche in B.C. in 1998. The next year, she and Kemper divorced. In 2000, Pierre Trudeau died.

Trudeau spiralled into deep depression before finally finding help—and new purpose. In early 1998, before her Vancouver hospitalization and Michel’s death, a 49-year-old Trudeau told Maclean’s that she believed her “usefulness was finished”: “I believed my job on Earth was to procreate and be a pleasant sexual diversion for hard-working men.’’ Today she says she loves her work criss-crossing the country, sharing her tortuous journey to wellness with packed audiences.

That message also provides impetus for Changing My Mind, Trudeau’s third memoir (out next week). In it, the recklessly naive Maggie T is gone; in her place, a wiser, more discreet Margaret recasting her life story through the lens of late-diagnosed mental illness, and offering advice in a bid to help others. Working on the book was painful, she says, even with two ghostwriters: “It took me away from my wonderful life that I had achieved in therapy and put me back into it—and not in a nice way but as a clear-headed person looking at the horror of mental illness.”

On this sunny, muggy late August afternoon, the 61-year-old Trudeau appears far beyond any horror. Her once dark curls are blond; she’s healthy and tan, boho casual in a white cotton tunic and bare feet. Trudeau’s clearly happy in this cozy, lived-in apartment overlooking Pierre Trudeau’s old art deco house, now inhabited by Sacha, a filmmaker, his wife, Zoë Bedos, and their two children. Justin, a Liberal MP, his wife, Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau, and their two children are nearby. So is Alicia, a poli-sci student at Concordia. (Kyle works in tech in Ottawa.)

Trudeau delights in her role as grandma. Toys clog the hallway; a rogue Cheerio on the living room rug appears dropped by a tiny hand. Yet she remains in touch with her inner ’60s hippie. She throws the I Ching, does yoga daily and talks in terms of “magic.” She believes Pierre Trudeau directed her to this place, her “eagle’s nest,” in 2007. His spirit is an eagle now, she maintains; he was named an “eagle chief” and she a “sister of the raven” in a Haida ceremony during their marriage. The asking price was well over her budget, she confides; her lowball offer was accepted because the owner wanted her to have it. “If I’m a Haida sister of the raven, which I am, Pierre would have found me this nest to watch over everyone,” she says.

In conversation, Trudeau is animated and engaging, even through frequent 180 degree turns. One minute, she’s sharing how she dropped 10 lb. by kicking her sugar habit. “I’d find Werther’s wrappers at the foot of my bed and not remember how they got there,” she says with a laugh. Five minutes on, she’s tearfully reciting a heart-rending poem she wrote for Michel a year after he died. “Oh!” she cries out after reading it. “Heartbreaking, eh? You don’t want to live after your son dies. You just don’t. Pierre couldn’t.”

Michel’s and Pierre’s deaths remain raw: “I was so traumatized I didn’t want to live,” she says. Canadians were compassionate: “Such love. Such love. And for Michel . . . ” Her voice cracks. “And then I was left alone.” She shakes her head sadly. “And you can’t be alone.” She holed up in her Ottawa house, stopped eating and lost 30 lb. “I didn’t want to breathe. I had to remind myself to breathe,” she says, tearfully. “I felt I had to go with Michel. I couldn’t see any other way. I couldn’t have him alone.” She pauses. “Maybe I should put it another way: I didn’t want to be alone. In my grief I was so focused on the loss of my boy that I forgot that I had a full life and lots of people who love me very much who are alive and well and here.”

Her family finally staged an intervention in late 2000, calling in psychiatrist Colin Cameron. Trudeau resisted, running into the snow without a coat, then was hospitalized. Cameron, who specializes in trauma disorders, provides a far more harrowing version of events in the book’s appendix. He recalls walking into chaos, pine needles strewn everywhere. Trudeau says her memory of that time is distorted. “I thought everything was normal,” she says, before adding that it wasn’t pine needles on the floor: “It was cedar [chips]. I was deep into Aboriginal healing.”

Her recovery took time. “I finally got courage and I know that courage came from Michel and Pierre—when I realized that their deaths gave me my life,” she says. Her illness manifested itself for decades, but she was in denial, blaming and lashing out at others. In 1974, she was hospitalized in Montreal for “serious emotional stress”; she blamed the pressures of life in a fishbowl—and marital tensions. Her description of being an unhappy political wife in Beyond Reason now seems prescient: “a glass panel was gently lowered into place around me, like a patient in a mental hospital who is no longer considered able to make decisions and who cannot be exposed to a harsh light.”

It took time to find the proper mix of meds that didn’t make her fat and more depressed. Today she’s almost drug-free, and has learned to cope. “I may cry too much and I may laugh too much but I live with it.” She’s lonely sometimes living alone, but has family and “beautiful” friends to rely on. “If it gets too sad, I go to a movie or a drive or call my kids.”

By now, conversation has moved to her bedroom, where Trudeau sits on her bed smoking a cigarette to even her nerves. A print of Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus adorns one wall. Over her head, there’s a portrait of her holding Justin as a baby. It’s a vivid reminder of Trudeau’s knack for attracting the spotlight as she shape-shifts with the zeitgeist—from ’60s hippie who snared a PM to ’70s Earth mother to ’80s celeb to post-millennial Mother Courage. And add to that memoirist serving up celebrity and divorce and motherhood and recovery.

Throughout the memoir, Pierre Trudeau provides a framework long after the marriage ends, though there’s no mention of his post-mortal real-estate guidance. The night he took his famous walk in the snow deciding to leave politics in 1984, Margaret and Kemper were in a hot tub conceiving Kyle. The day she married Kemper, Trudeau’s driver arrived with roses from the politician. When Trudeau died, Margaret was with their sons at his bedside. “Just because our marriage ended didn’t mean the love stopped,” she says. Asked how she forged harmonious post-divorce relationships with her husband, Trudeau says it was simple: “The only way was not to ask for any money. Period. The end.” She laughs. “Any money I ever got from Pierre Trudeau was grudgingly handed out. Everybody knows that.”

But he did leave the legacy of his name, which she has reclaimed professionally, though she’s Kemper legally. “But I think I should just be known as Margaret,” she says.

Her children have all read the book. “I told them, speak now or forever hold your peace,” she says with a laugh. Not that there’s much to offend. She treads carefully on how her illness affected their lives. And she downplays the end of her marriage to Kemper: “I was so fat and bored with Fried by the end,” she admits. Some people didn’t make the cut, she says playfully: “I have to apologize to all of the darling men in my life who got no mention.”

The suggestion that Justin’s political aspirations tamped her natural candour is waved away. “He’s so proud of me,” she says: “He says, ‘Oh Mom, you’re going to help so many people.’ ” She frets that words aren’t enough: “Here I am telling all of these people to go out and get help. But where are they finding it?” The Canadian Mental Health Association is a first stop, she says, but more support is needed.

She can’t resist a partisan jab when mentioning former senator Michael Kirby, who’s overseeing a national mental health strategy. “My dream is that when senator Kirby has the report prepared, he hands it to a compassionate government.”

Later, she mentions buying a new jacket for her book tour, one that’s Liberal red. If there’s a fall election, she says mischievously, she’ll be able to send out a subliminal signal. Just watch her.

Margaret Trudeau’s last breakdown

  1. Once again," it's all about her" so self absorbed. It is time for her to
    be quiet.

    • A book can bring in some money. People can choose to buy or not buy. She's actually being productive here.

    • If Margaret was not out on speaking engagements with the intent of helping people who have mental illness, would we be criticizing her for doing nothing and being self absorbed? Probably. I think what she is doing is helpful.

    • I agree. And Margaret Kemper is her name, not ‘Margaret’ as she wishes to be known and not Margaret Trudeau. Margaret has yet to stand up on her own two feet and not live on other’s coat-tails. At age 60, just when will this happen? Sympathy is all I have for this poor woman.

      • Uh, "Dot", her full, legal name is Margaret Trudeau Kemper, not Margaret Kemper, or Trudeau, or just Margaret. How could you possible say without a hint of shame that she can't stand up on her own two feet, she goes around the country all year long, what have you done this year that will bring so much positive change like she will? Right, all you can do is sit on the sidelines and give her full of name.

    • Terry Mulligan. Why are you so full of hate? Just let people be how they want to be. If you don't want to read her book, then don't. I for one value her insight into both mental illness and politics, both of which I have encountered in my life.

    • I agree. Margaret be quiet. We don't want to know who you think is directing you now. Maybe its just you!

    • Obviously you know nothing about mental illness! I am PROUD of her for speaking about mental illness, especially the tools she writes about to help others that suffer with mental illness. Believe me people reading her book recognize the illness. For people who have never experienced mental illness/disease, it is hard to understand. Bipolar people go through periods of "it's all about me". Educate yourself, there are people out there who would appreciate your kindness. No one wants this disease!!!! It makes life extremely difficult and is hard on families. Perhaps you know something about street drugs????? If you do, you know that it's HELL!The addict is in pain, the family is lost. It's like living in a continual chaos.

  2. Only inCanuckistan can a mentally unstable 'bimbo' be a role model.

    • Yeah, but we're not talking about Pierre Pollievere right now.

    • Jeet – I pity you. Your hostility towards Canada, and a very fine tragic woman are staggering.

      • Look at the mental case that kept her insecure. What a loon that was.

        • Are you referring to one of the only modern PM's that actually got things done? Jesus, people are so ignorant and shallow nowadays.

    • you must be A Meristan lol

    • I know you have a right to your opinion, but Bimbo she is not. Misunderstood. What would you do? How mature were you at 20. I bet you would have loved to meet the Rolling Stones eh? or not. My point is bimbo is a word women resent! and unless you have lived with a mental illness you can't possibly judge her. Have you written a book lately?

  3. Ah Margaret, She was an idol, a role model, the only Canadian to go beyond and make the "scene". How many women of power or within powe have done that? They melt into mediocrity.

  4. A mental illness is just that…an illness.

    There are many out there who've weathered worse and achieved greater. Margaret's 15 minutes of fame lapsed in the last century.

    It's material such as this that has sealed the decision not to renew the subscription to a once great magazine.

    • I have to agree with you. Mine has not been renewed for the same reason. That last sentence really was over the mark.

    • If I had a nickel for every person on these boards who claims they're cancelling their subscription, I'd have… about 20 cents.

  5. Mental illness is so difficult to be understood by those not suffering from it.

    • SO TRUE TRUE TRUE! People that don't understand something are scared, sometimes cruel. Until they have walked the walk they will go on being who they are. They live their lives. Others have a different path. Personally, because I have the illness I see that people with the illness have very special qualities, sensitive, kind, unbelievely strong; the illness can effect children, doctors, social workers, teaches to a neighbour. People with the illness eventually see the world almost spiritually. I like that. I appreciate every day that goes by, I appreciate people, helping others. We need to educate those who are willing. Yes, mental illness is a challenge but it gets better once we learn how to manage the high and lows. Cheers.

  6. Mental illness is a no fault disease. I'm glad she has found some harmony and peace in her life. It hasn't been an easy journey for her.

    She has struggled long and hard to combat her illness. Let's give her the praise, understanding and empathy she deserves.

  7. Only shallow, immature eople could make comments such as Jeet & clw…good for Margaret. I think she is a wonderful spokesperson for mental illness, which should only inspire compassion, not glib foolish remarks.

    • Good For You Eunice!

  8. They say if can't be nice, don't say anything….so I won't!

  9. Medical marijuana is actually a great treatment for bipolar. It has to have a high CBD content, though. (And no, you can't grow four plants, Harper actually wants to shove through mandatory minimums for small production).

  10. She, and others should watch David Suzuki's programme on the effects of marijuana, one of CBC's "Nature of Things," series. It might explain a lot.

    • Jesus christ, another idiot on the board. Hey "Jo", the only thing they got right in that documentary is that when young teenagers smoke marijuana, they develop a much greater risk of psychosis, but that's just it. It's because they are TOO YOUNG, their brains are just not able to handle those types of chemicals, especially ones that have a greater degree of risk to psychosis. So "Jo", stop bleating about what you saw on your telly, and go research something on your own. Your ignorance is staggering and disturbing.

  11. You are so courageous Margaret, it is really hard to admit past mistakes, I still believe you were a great influence in this country, keep your chin up my friend, because you have still a long life ahead of you and need to support your son, not only does he have a wonderful legacy, i think he has great potencial!

    • That she doesn't spell too good is a pecadillo considering the foolishness of her comments.

      • They might be foolish and I might not spell too good, but my comments are kind.

        I wish for you to find some joy in your life!

    • What a compassionate comment, Claudia. Pay no attention to the dessicated and judgemental Amy MuD.

      • Thank you Patchouli for your kind words!

    • Would be hard to not admit, what all the videos show! And when a 50 year old takes advantage of a mental teenager, it shows who the real mental case was.

  12. Why do we give people like this lady any attention?? She broke the law when she was the Prime minister's wife and still is getting publicity for stupid behavior!!

    • Well, you've read an article on her and are now commenting on her – maybe you should ask yourself that question?

    • You obviously live in a box. A very small one at that!

  13. “I believed my job on Earth was to procreate and be a pleasant sexual diversion for hard-working men.''
    Margaret Trudeau was never a role model. She was a symbol for Pierre's attempt at Canadian unification of young/old, East/West and French/English. And possibly smart/silly.
    At least now, as a spokesperson for mental health, she has a purpose.

    • Trudeau was an old fool to have married her. He was as much mentally disturbed as she was.

  14. That she perceives herself a voice for mental health
    indicates her dissociation from reality.

    • Thanks for your vile, vapid contribution.

    • Margaret is the perfect spokeswoman for mental health. She has experienced bipolarism at it's finest!

  15. Sad that people can unkindly judge others. Seems more harshly toward women. Happy to hear you are paying forard by sharing your life. experiences. Helps many of us to understand we are okay.

  16. Margaret makes stupid decisions in life, does not take responsibility for them, and conveniently hides behind a label. Then she claims that marijuana has helped her overcome such stupidity. Frankly, I don't see much improvement.

    • JERK GET YOURSELF EDUCATED!!!

    • When a person suffers and are desperate they will try drugs and they always make stupid decisions. They will act out, anything to relieve/numb the illness. It's very difficult to make decisions and be responsible when parts of your brain are not working right. I have found that people who have not experienced the illness really don't understand this. Its kinda like the sparks plug not connecting. (People with illness feel shame when we hear- not responsible, stupid, bad decisions, this is hardest thing for us to do because the mind works in mysterious ways)

  17. Roberta

    Margaret's story has had its day: however, she does show that she is full of love.

  18. I will always remember and be interested in Margaret Trudeau. She & Pierre made Canadian politics interesting!!!

    • Not only that, they put Canada on the international stage big time, Margaret and Pierre made history in this country as no other politician has in Canada!

  19. Margaret may not be a role model to some but i have noticed that she hasn't had botox or plastic surgery and i commend her for that. She actually is one of the first cover women that i have ever seen that is photographed as is….refreshing and this is what getting older is.

    • Isn't she Beautiful!

  20. I've made mistakes, and I used to drink too much and I have been rude to my friends, and had affairs with women and sometimes I steal copy paper from the orifice. I was depressed for a whole week once. And then my cat died, well, I cannot begin to… anyway.
    No one comes to write about me !! Why is that?

    • Do go on. : )

    • Did you have a dalliance with Jagger?

    • Have you actually had experience with bi-polar disorder? It's far and away not remotely like "being depressed for a whole week once."

    • bi-polor disorder is a real mental illness…….a sometimes debilitating one……

      your snarky post actually makes me embarrasssed for you…..

    • I like your humour. Pass it on.

  21. She is what she is. I was a bit younger when she was vaulted onto the scene. I'm not sure she ever fully mentally registered the large position of default role model due to her position as Trudeau's wife and the female occupant of Sussex Drive, welcome or unwelcome as that public role may have become to her in those times. I didn't see her as a role model or icon due to a conservative and Catholic upbringing, but everyone has to admit that she was sure good watching, and she danced to her own drum trying to be true to herself. What I found most curious was a man of Trudeau's ilk selecting her as a wife with her youth gap, root differing life(styles) and world view; the disparity between the two was evident. They created beautiful children, and there was love there even at the end, so that is that. She is still warbling to her own tune, and that is Margaret.

  22. As an individual with a mental health disorder himself who also travels the country as a speaker (and who once sat with, conversed with, listened to, and presented at the same conference as 'Maggie'), I am greatly disturbed by the attention granted to her. Randomized controlled studies and empirically validated statements will never hold the same sway over desperate souls as personal experience does; as an authority on both I realize that the latter should always and only be used to emphasize the former (rather than as a substitute for it).

    Ms. Kemper (I mean Trudeau) is entitled to hold whatever opinions she wishes about bipolar disorder and/or any other topic. Choosing to speak out and being paid as an individual with mental health issues – accepting and enjoying the perks of being a 'role-model' – is an extremely powerful position, though, and entails different obligations and standards. As such, Ms. Trudeau has an inherent responsibility to better consider the potential ramifications her various messages will have on a rapturous audience who considers her every word to be gospel. To not do so means doing a great deal of potential harm to others to satisfy your own needs to be heard.

    • Get over yourself please!!!

      • I was going to comment but you said it all there!

    • But you won't put your name to your cause or your comments. She will, and it's a big name with clout and integrity. She's doing more to help you and your cause, and all you can do is judge her.

  23. Unfortunately, Ms. Trudeau's penchant for taking shortcuts will, in this case, accrue many undeserving casualties.

  24. Among the symptoms of bipolar disorder are egomania, hyper-religiosity,
    grandiosity, hyper-sexuality and, when manic, a need to be the centre of attention. Match them up with the story and the images.

    Canadian media try obsessively to create political dynasties – from the Trudeau kids to the Clark girl and the Mulroney kids and feed the common folks' hunger for celebrity news. Give it up! We are sick to death of politicians and political families. they have no respect for us, the electorate, and our tax dollars.

    When will Canadian media finally understand that we are not interested in this family and its craving for media coverage? Social policies of Pierre Trudeau plunged this country into debt, his wife did nothing to dignify Canada in the eyes of the world, and now another one of the clan is living off Canadian taxpayers … his inheritied wealth notwithstanding.

    Bravo Chester Good! I too will not be renewing my subscription to Maclean's.

    • "Give it up! We are sick to death of politicians and political families. they have no respect for us, the electorate, and our tax dollars."
      Speak for yourself oh mean one! I like Margaret and will always be interested in her and her family. She is a gutsy woman putting one foot in front of the other every day. She was pretty well used as a baby machine – wittingly or unwittingly. I loved Pierre but he married a woman who was really still a girl – and expected her to act like a woman.
      I wonder what they would label you – sick of this, sick of that, hates politicians, hates the media, feels no politician could ever respect him, worries about his dollars and seems to think he is dignified.

    • You say, "When will Canadian media finally understand that we are not interested in this family and its craving for media coverage? " I ask – why did you read the story?

    • Egomania, grandiosity, hyper-sexuality, need to be the centre of attention … are we talking about Pierre Trudeau or poor hippy Margaret.
      I met Pierre in 1968, when he was Justice Minister (I was 21 … didn't know anything about politics, didn't care, it was just a chance meeting at the Arts Club in Vancouver) I was introduced to him as "Pierre, from Montreal". He was very charing, interested in my experience as a young professional women in a patriarchal business world (think Mad Men … I was in advertising).
      Pierre was a highly-educated politically astute genius … Margaret was just a good-looking young woman who fit his plans. Don't blame her.

    • If "we" weren't interested, then Macleans wouldn't print it. Macleans is in business to make money and this stuff sells.

      Also, how many people who claim they are canceling their subscriptions are actual subscribers? I'd love to know.

      • oh who cares…….print is dead anyway

        • Yeah, clearly, since billions of people still and will still use it as a primary or secondary use long after your ignorant bum is dead.

    • Bi-polar disease is more common than not….people who suffer this debilatating illness are usually very brilliant and fragile (interior) people..It is no surprize to me the lack of understanding and compassion of many of the comments posted.I was raised in a family where we had family members who suffered mentally…you can't give this understanding to people unless they have been through similar situations themselves….Sadly this is about the only way people wake up to these issues…I applaude Margaret for her great courage and honesty..and her ability to keep going despite great losses and hardships…..May you please know that I deeply admire your family and you and I wish you the very best life has to offer…and Yes you are a great inspiration to many, many, many people…never give up..

      • Bravo! my sentiments exactly!

    • Actually, all of the symptoms you mentioned only manifest themselves in the manic stage of bipolar disorder. Depressive episodes tend to last longer than manic ones, and result in such symptoms as feelings of inadequacy, hopelessness, difficulty completing everyday tasks, irritability, and suicidal thinking. A person who is affected by this disorder may experience chronic depressive symptoms in between episodes, but not mania. This illness does not determine a person's character, nor can it be used as an accurate explanation of his or her general behaviour.

      Bipolar disorder is an extremely disruptive illness which can leave its sufferers incapacitated for months or even years at a time, often at important points of transition in their lives. Like any other serious illness, it is highly inappropriate fodder for political commentary.

      • Dan, they don't listen to logic and facts. They only express hate and ignorance. That being said, thanks for the info. :)

  25. How can such a self-pitying,narcissistic airhead get this much prominence ? Because she trades on the name of a man she betrayed and divorced years ago. If it were not for Trudeau,and the sycophantic Canadian media, she would have been long forgotten.

    • Not only she would have been forgotten, but she would never have been known. She was a gold digger of the worst kind. If Trudeau had not been PM, she would have never married him.

    • Whom, was the baby snatch er here? Canadians would take HER over (himorher), any day. Go keep yelling for your special protection rights.

  26. Ditto to ntombazane

  27. Well, I'd like to read about Laureen Harper but her husband doesn't seem to allow her to speak.

    • Jan, I do not remember Mrs. Chretien speaking in MacLeans. Was that because Jean didn't allow it? Laureen Harper was married and divorced and then married Stephen Harper so I do not believe she is quite as repressed as you would have us believe. Why you would bring up Laureen Harper at all when she has never admitted to suffering from Bipolar Disorder is perplexing. However, I could propose that Jim Carrey might make an interesting and popular spokesperson for the illness. He does suffer from it. He is Canadian and he is successful on his own terms.

      • I did not suggest Laureen Harper had bipolar.

        • It's not they're such a perfect couple, there is nothing to write about?

          • As the moniker above says, check google…

        • My point exactly! Why bring Laureen Harper up at all. Margaret Trudeau is in MacLeans because she has written books about herself. None of the other Prime Minister's wives have done so including our current one. Also, Margaret Trudeau has revealed she has a mental illess and has presented herself as a spokesperson for that mental illness. That is the reason she has written the book. Yet you use the opportunity to slander the Prime Minister of the day and suggest he wouldn't allow his wife to speak.

          • If you scroll back you will see that I was replying to someone complaining about writing about Margaret when there are other people to write about. I simply said I'd be interesting in Laureen Harper. And I'd prefer in her own words. The way somebody always leaps up to try to cut off discussion about her, you'd almost think there was some sort of deep dark secret afoot. I just don't get it.

  28. Bipolar disorder explains much. it is a horrible condition that you would not wish on your worst enemy. It does however explain the strange behaviour of certain individuals we interact with every day. They are borderline bipolor or just operating under the radar.
    Margaret is a sad story.

  29. yea, she's just a poor victim. She was not responsible.

  30. The number of comments here indicates how interesting we find Margaret Trudeau, as an extension of Pierre who put politics on my and others' map. The leadership race he won was the first I listened to. My chunky radio, powered via a series of extension cords, wove across the lawn and through the fence to the goat shed of my back-to-the-land days. Since that exciting day I have listened to almost all Liberal, Conservative and NDP leadership races with increasing boredom as dependence on sound bites and impersonal, sterile technology increases. Oh to have a Trudeau, and a Margaret again, to bring youth and everyone back to the ballot box.

    • Here, here. What we get now is over managed mediocrity.

  31. Boring as watching paint dry. Without Pierre there is nothing really.

    • What is really boring is someone who reads a clearly titled article, and then claims he's not interested in the subject. You must waste a lot of time doing this.

    • You preferred watch the little boy pirouetting in his panties?

  32. I am happy that Margaret Trudeau has, at last, found a semblance of security and contentment as she enjoys the love of her children and grandchildren.

  33. I am happy that Margaret Trudeau, at last, has found a semblance of security and contentment as she enjoys the love of her children and grandchildren.

  34. blaming pot for her problems. Not the the other drugs. not the fact that she was a trophy wife and legacy breeder for a man of dubious in un-stated sexuality…..

    no, it was the pot what made her nuts…..

    and talks in terms of “magic.”
    Oh, BROTHER….. why is this superstition-believine nincompoop getting print space?

    "Today she's almost drug-free, and has learned to cope." – save for a handful of psyche pills every day….

    and her true poison as she "sits on her bed smoking a cigarette to even her nerves."
    What a load of horse hockey. this woman is a shill and an embarrassment.

  35. Many posters are proclaiming that she is an advocate for mental health etc. etc. Nonsense,this is all about Margaret,as it always has been. Completely self-centred,while ensuring that the fawning media spread the tale about her good works,just like Diana. Doing good for yourself while appearing to do good for others.

    Perhaps someone should point out to her the perils of smoking,especially when taking psychotropic medication,in bed. Hotels and houses have burned down,with many deaths, due to this stupid practice.

  36. Wow, I thought that Canadians were tolerant and compassionate!

    • It seems a numbef of them are self-righteous.

  37. " Today she's almost drug-free"
    "pot-smoking days are behind her—mostly"

    Almost and Mostly – worrisome words for someone who has a clear public history of alcohol dependance / drug addiction. You can be bi-polar all you want but if you also have that other problem that by no means can you you use any amount of any mood-altering substance safely. Until and if she gets a grip on absolute abstinence, I'm afraid we haven't heard the last of bad news about her…

  38. WHO CARES………….

    • You apparently, if you'd made it this far.

  39. She is intelligent, dynamic and definately dances to her own drummer. To some she may seem, and probably is somewhat unstable. Truly brilliant people normally are when compared against the somewhat less gifted.
    Does she crave attention and have thought process that are somewhat unusual? Most assuredly. But I give her credit for thinking independently. Communists and facists are the only ones who believe we should all think and act alike.
    All of that said, I agree with the writer who notes that what she has endured is minisule compared with the sufferings of others. And by recommending seeking help from the psychiatric establishment, I fear she will be sending many hapless souls into abyss. It is that very establishment that has caused more suffering than it has ever healed. Have we Canadians forgotten the lessons of Drs Ewen Cameron, Roper, Scully and many others? The torture chambers of the Allen Memorial and the Douglas? Especially those from Montreal? Those who forget history are bound to repeat it. I for one would rather trust my soul to the witch doctors, than to what Ms. Trudeau is promoting. In this case – do your homework Margaret .

  40. That may well be, and may be a pointedly astute comment, but it still takes two to tango and she was long past the age of consent. I somehow doubt that the other names had it all together either, and you have to remember that this occurred within the context of those times.

  41. Pete D is no doubt a Scientologist. The mentally ill are far safer with a psychiatrist than falling into the clutches of L.Ron's followers.

  42. PET, without a doubt,was our greatest statesman.
    Maggie,was good at other things and used them to her full advantage.She is only slightly more credible than our main political leaders and prime minister(who is not a leader).Maybe Mag. should free Pierre from his guiding duties so that he may help the Liberal Party recover.

    • PET was clever, hip and attention grabbing, but his policies decimated and set the West back decades. To say she's more credible than our Prime Minister is an obvious false and politicized comment. He works long hours, is as sincere as he is snipingly misunderstood, and has earned real respect along with noteworthy regard on the world stage during tumultous times. He's spoken of internationally as sensible, stable, smart, and a man of his word; and the same goes for Flaherty. Don't let the facts get in the way of your political bias. Harper may not be such a magnetic bon vivant, but he is as solid and well intended as the day is long. Never judge a man by his wrapper.

  43. I agree…Total Flake!!!

  44. Yes Pierre was a a faher of Canada. Namely the father of Canadian debt. What a plunch in those yrs then he gave us the finger and went back to his Fucrative law practise > Oh ya margaret aaah hmmm aah cant think of anything ??

  45. Am I the only one who is shocked to see how badly Margaret has aged? Some claim that pot-smoking causes premature wrinkling of the skin. Could this be the explanation why this formerly beautiful young woman appears so old?

    • She's 62. She looks like she enjoys the sun. She hasn't had a face lift and doesn't appear to take botox. People who look really young ay 62 are having things done or their pictures are airbrushed. Welcome to reality.

      • lol, have another one! We are well aware of the aging assistants! And lots of liquor is one of them. All of them fed to her by her former bimbo. The jesuit lover.

    • She's SIXTY TWO YEARS OLD, and she looks good for it, too.

  46. Bravo Margaret! Mood disorders such as bipolar are difficult enough to bear on their own. Add losing loved ones, friends and acquaintances due to behavior we can't control and/or due to the ignorance and prejudice that arises when our mental illness is revealed.

    Many of us do not seek help because of the shame we feel. Even when we receive treatment, we try to keep it a secret. By telling her story, Margaret is exposing herself to more painful ignorance and prejudice as demonstrated by some of these comments. She could easily live out her life quietly on the sidelines but instead she is bringing mental illness out into the open and correcting the misconceptions.

    I don't care one iota about her motives. Margaret attracts a lot of attention to my illness and maybe I won't lose a friend next time I reveal my secret. Maybe my children will be less ashamed of me. Maybe I will hear “just get over it” one less time.

    Thank you, Margaret, for risking yourself so many more of us may step out into the light to seek help and take part in society.

  47. I have read some of the comments some of which I agree with and some I do not. I had a sister who suffered from Bipolar disorder for 18 years. 13 of these years she went misdiagnosed as having a chemical imbalance in the brain.

    Her marriage disinagrated, She had affairs, and her relationsip with her children all but disappeared. She tried to end her life a min of 4 times.

    And like Margaret Trudeau it was all about her. Unfortunately for some of the people this is part of the disorder. I believe it all a part of what the persons personality was to start with. My sister the same a Margaret Trudeau was a highly intelegent person.

    After a lot of research on my and anothers sisters part my sister was diagnosed as bipolar and put on the proper medication. But alas to late as she only lived another 5 years to what I would call being able to talk to someone who once again has a light on behind her eyes as my Beautiful Sister passed away 1 year ago on Oct 25th of Melanoma.

    So unless you have walked the walk do no be so quick to judge a disease that so little is known about and one that is so hard to diagnose.

  48. People who suffer from mental illness have a lot to deal with to just get by and live their lives not to mention the cruelty of stigma that goes along with it. I think Margaret Trudeau is a good, strong role model as she has had to make her personal battle with this illness in a very public forum. She was in the public spotlight during a very difficult time in her life and I wish we could all not sit in judgment of her. Her speaking publicly of her mental illness, her coping mechanisms and her opinions may just bring someone a glimpse of hope, understanding and caring that this world should embrace and make itself a better place to live in.

  49. Reading Margaret Trudeau's new book, Changing My Mind, has helped me to better understand a friend who has just been diagnozed with severe Depression and quite possibly BiPolar Disorder; her mind and emotions are distracted, tormented and confused by other forces and past wrongs that she suppressed or repressed. She tried for nearly 30 years to run away from her reality by getting married, having kids, getting immersed in a busy work life, mingling with the rich, acting different roles, avoiding getting too close and personal with anyone, being cold and distant, all bringing chaos to her life and the lives of those around her. It is one day at a time for all of us – the sick and the healthy — the more we talk about it, write about it and read about it, the more hope there will be that the afflicted and their loved ones will rise again to see brighter days.

    • I love you! I wish you and your friend all the best. Severe depression/bipolar disorder is very serious. She has a special friend in you. It does take one day at a time. Its challenging, its everything you say. Margaret Trudeau's book has given me hope also. I have had Severe depression since I was 15 and a friend of mine is diagnosed bipolar. I can say that at 56 yrs. I am glad to be alive because my illness repeatedly sends dark messages to me, (suicidal thoughts) I deal with this and have done a great job. Make sure your friend goes to the right doctors, hospitals and never forgets, I mean it, never forgets her medication. It takes awhile to find the right one but later it will help. And positive thoughts. When your depressed its difficult to muster a positive thought. Practice! Exercise! No Sugar. Keep reading the book. God bless you.

  50. If this was one of Harper's GOOD OLD BOYS discussing his mental illness all of you hard Men and women would go OUUUU ahhh! But because it is a WOMAN, with a lith heart She is according to you self absorbed and whatever. I HOPE YOU NEVER HAVE TO GO THROUGH MANia or depression. You are hard hearted creeps!!!

  51. What medication is working for you currently Margaret? I know it's a lot of trial and error
    but perhaps one is more common then others?

    • I find Crown Royal pretty useful at times.

  52. Yawn.

    You seem to be as self-obsessed as trudeau.

  53. http://www.deliverhope.ca/gallery-entry.php?id=22
    Please vote at this link if you think this is could be Canada Post's Mental Health stamp my entry "Listen to me".
    The photo is mine, taken last year on a photo shoot at a lavender farm in Québec
    One in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives.
    Around 450 million people currently suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.

    • You sound as if you would be a good candidate yourself Bessie V. Why not put your photo and that of St. Margaret on the stamp ? LOL !!!!!

  54. I'm just about finished reading the book and loved it. I admire Margaret for telling her story, finally able to find the strength and the courage and now be a spokesperson for so many. All of the above negative comments sicken me and it's part and parcel of a society that just will never fully understand and show compassion to those dealing with diseases they aren't dealing with. Way to go Maggie. I'm proud of you!

  55. Mra. trudeau funny thing i was labled as manic depressive disorder after first being labled with schizoaffective disorder.  I didn’t use drugs.  I was raped.  Why should I be punished for that.  They at the hospital didn’t know and they were not protecting me in there they put me in harms way.

  56. She will begin to have something useful to say when she can discuss how her West Coast upbringing and mentality was as much a problem as her biochemical issues; possibly the reason her mental health issues became as pronounced as they did; and much of the reason she had so little ability to cope better earlier. That’s the real story.

  57. I can’t imagine ANYONE giving a flying rat’s rectum about her sordid little shenanigans. I further cannot IMAGINE anyone giving credibility to her equally-vapid and self-entitled arrogant brat of a son, Justin. I skimmed this piece (which is all it’s worth) and thought – what a whole lot of self-centred rat droppings from someone who is COMPLETELY out of touch with the reality of the rest of the non-elite world.

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