There has never be a spouse of a Canadian Prime Minister quite like Margaret Trudeau. She published two autobiographies before her husband Pierre was out of office, Beyond Reason, and Consequences (cover blurb: ‘When you’ve trespassed beyond reason, there are always…’). Trudeau wrote Consequences because she didn’t earn any money from the first book, a bestseller published by a company that went into receivership. Quite a bit of Consequences is devoted to her experiences with Paddington Press. In 1976 she was so inspired by the First Lady of Venezuela’s charity work that she wrote a song in honour of Blanca María Rodríguez de Pérez, which she sang at a state dinner in Caracas. It did not go down well in Canada.
‘The following week I was offered a phone-in show of my own on the local Ottawa early morning show. Luckily, Pierre was away, so he wasn’t in a position to forbid it. I decided to accept the invitation simply because I had reached breaking point. I was sick to death of all the sneers and criticism that I was never allowed to answer. My sharp tongue, it seemed, got me into trouble whatever I did. I was tired of hearing people say: “How can such a lovely girl say such terrible things?” Now I was really going to give it to them.
The presenter, Michale O’Connell, opened the show by asking; “Now Margaret, is there any song that you would like us to play to start the program?”
“Yes,” I replied immediately, “A song called Garden Party by Rick Nelson.” (It was about how he went to a garden party and everyone was either rude or unpleasant to him. In the song he sings: “If you can’t please everybody, you might as well please yourself.”)’
Beyond Reason, Margaret Trudeau, Paddington Press, 1979.
Garden Party: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAHR7_VZdRw