“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
– Nelson Mandela
Education is an important part of who we are as individuals. It defines the way we look at the world. How we approach difficult issues. But most importantly it defines how we lead our lives and the lives of others.
To hold the office of the Prime Minister is a job of humble public service which requires years of experience and education. This education and experience have helped the likes of Sir John A. MacDonald found a nation, John Diefenbaker to build everlasting relations with the United States and Pierre Trudeau (father of Justin Trudeau) navigate the FLQ (Front de libération du Québec) crisis and alongside Quebec separatism.
So how does Trudeau stack up in front of Canada’s former Prime Ministers?
Law and the Office of The Prime Minister
A Degree in Law is not exotic to the Office of the Prime Minister. The founder of Canada and Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. MacDonald held two law degrees. He held a Doctorate of Law (L.L.D) and a Doctorate of Civil Law (D.C.L). Every Prime Minister has held a degree in Law except for Alexandre Mackenzie, John Thompson, Mackenzie Bowell, Robert Borden, Joe Clark, Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau.
However, Thompson and Borden have been found to have attempted to pursue a career in Law.
It should also be noted most of these Prime Ministers who did not choose a career in law took office from 1873 to 1920. After Borden, only Joe Clark, Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau did not have a degree in law.
Impressively educated Prime Ministers
Dr William Lyon Mackenzie King impressively had a Masters of Arts and a Doctor of Philosophy from Harvard University. Not only did he have two outstanding degrees from Harvard, but he also had a Bachelors of Arts and Masters of Arts from the University of Toronto. Like many of his predecessors and successors, King held a degree in Law as well (Bachelors of Laws) from Osgoode Hall Law School.
Like King the father of Justin Trudeau, Pierre Elliot Trudeau was a Harvard Alumni as well. Many claim Trudeau Sr. was an academic and his educational background supports that. He held a Doctor of Law degree from Université de Montréal and a Masters of Arts in Political Economy from Harvard University. He then went on to start a doctorate study at the London School of Economics. He never finished the study but went on to be one of the longest serving Prime Ministers in Canadian history.
Even though John Turner was Prime Minister for a couple of months, he earned his Law degree and Masters of Arts from the prestigious Oxford University.
Trudeau, the Teacher
Compared to Justin Trudeau’s predecessors, Trudeau has a different educational background. Trudeau started his post-secondary journey at McGill University in which he earned his Bachelors of Arts in literature in 1994.
He then went on to earn his Bachelors in Education at the University of British Columbia in 1998. After graduating Trudeau started his teaching career in Vancouver British Columbia. He then went on to attempt an Engineering Degree at Polytechnique Montréal in 2002. However, he completed one year of the program before dropping out.
In 2004 Trudeau went on to start a Masters degree in Environmental Geography.
Like his attempt at an Engineering Degree, he completed one year and then dropped out. Other than Trudeau’s career as a politician and a teacher, he worked as a club bouncer and a white-water rafting instructor.
After analysis, Trudeau’s educational background is quite distinctive compared to other modern Canadian Prime Ministers.
The likes of Martin, Mulroney and Chretien had a background in Law.
Stephen Harper had a profound background in economics as he had a Bachelors of Arts in Economics and a Masters of Arts in Economics.
Some people take this distinct background an absence of leadership.
Nonetheless, some see Trudeau’s different educational background as a positive. They claim it gives the office of the Prime Minister a different perspective and a different skill set that could be advantageous.
What do you think? Let us know below!