Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 25 October 2015





Marriage Proposals
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cat’S eye

New Prime Minister of Canada

A slight trace of the Trudeaumania of 1968 must surely have pervaded Ottawa as Justine Pierre James Trudeau was declared Prime Minister of Canada on October 19 this year.

At 43 years of age, this leader of the Liberal Party is the second youngest Prime Minister of the country. As we saw in pictures, the young PM seems to be a happily married man – wife Sophie Gregoire and three children. He had two brothers, the youngest Michel dying in a ski accident.

Trudeau Senior

To this cat of an older era, the news of the new PM defeating the Conservative and Labour parties and emerging victor, brought back memories of how his father straddled not only Canada but also to a certain extent the western world. There was dashing Pierre Elliot Trudeau (1919 -2000) remaining a bachelor and becoming the 15th Prime Minister in 1968.

He continued to 1979 and then again in 1980 to 84, thus holding office with one year’s lapse for 16 years.

What is remembered about his dispensation is that he wafted a strong wind of change, not a mere breath of fresh air, through the Canadian government; decriminalized homosexuality and stopped the nonsense (to him and others) of the Quebec Sovereignty Movement; made bilingualism official and was named ‘Father of Modern Canada’. He united the entire Canadian nation under his government.

Wife Margaret

Remembered too is the fact he dated very many women, Barbra Streisand included and then fell in love with 18-year-old Margaret Sinclair in Tahiti when he was Minister of Justice. He pursued her and married her at age 52 in 1971 when she was 22.

She was, as we read, too sprightly for him. He was an intellectual and committed to work and thus she felt stifled. She went dancing with friends, clubbing, was with the Rolling Stones for a while, her name coupled with Ronnie Wood and Mick Jagger.

The couple separated in 1977 and divorced in 1984, with the father, Pierre Trudeau gaining custody of the children. She famously said: “I want to be more than a rose in my husband’s lapel,” and “Just because our marriage ended doesn’t mean the love stopped.” She, with her two sons, was with Trudeau when he died in 2000.

Margaret Trudeau married a second time to wealthy Fried Kemper and had two children by him. However, having taken drugs off and on and being emotional, perhaps even irrational, she suffered bipolar mental imbalance for long. She is into charity work now.

Tamil MP

Trudeau Junior, the new Prime Minister of Canada, is certainly interesting to read about. Our interest is doubly so because we have relatives and friends settled in Canada, in Alberta and Vancouver mostly. Also we’ve heard of the vast number of Tamils from Sri Lanka settled in Scarborough and it being a little Jaffna over there, also they say, a LTTE stronghold.

A connection to us here is that the recently elected Member of Parliament from the newly created Scarborough-Rouge park constituency is Gary Anandasangaree, second son of TULF leader V. Anandasangaree, who contested from the Liberal Party. He migrated with his mother to Canada in 1983 when he was ten years old. Other Tamils who contested from the Conservative, New Democrat and Green Party in Ontario did not make it to Parliament.

Rape again in Delhi

A further news item from overseas, this time New Delhi, has it that a Uber driver was convicted of raping his passenger, a 25-year-old woman on her way home from a party. Rape seems to be so terribly common in Delhi like child abuse has caught hold in Sri Lanka in spite of high profile cases in the megapolis and our country being given publicity and people-protests mounted all over India and Sri Lanka. And still these crimes occur.

Uber is the newest form of hired private transport where traditional taxis are being replaced by this service. Uber connects riders with drivers via a smart phone app. Since the app has your credit card information and handles the transaction, there is no haggling or exchange of cash, or even telling the driver where you need to go, since he already has the information on his phone prior to picking you up.

The typical Uber driver is someone who owns his or her car (about 30% of the drivers are female), moonlighting in their spare time, to earn some extra money. Having originated in San Francisco, Uber is now available in 60 countries, including several cities in India.

The news item about the accused rapist Uber driver Shiv Kumar Yadav has placed a question mark over the continuance of Uber in Delhi. Was he the owner of the car he hired or a driver working for the owner? The crime of rape would somehow be more heinous if Yadev was the owner of the car giving Uber service.

Menika wonders whether Uber will invade our small, overtly conservative country. Old fashioned Menika hopes not. But fads, fashions and new gimmicks catch on fast here. However, she hopes fervently that if Uber does come in, the mini taxis and three wheelers will still be on the roads in service to take people around. Women like this feline depend so much on these two modes of hired transport, with a couple three-wheeler fellas being her friendly helpers.

Menika feels happy she went overseas this Sunday with her readers. You cannot be a frog in the well all the time, can you, however, exciting that well is, or however muddy and turbid!!



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