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Trudeau refused cancer treatment, says author

OTTAWA -- Pierre Trudeau's guiding motto in politics was "reason over passion." In the end, it seems, he chose reason over life.

A newly released e-book from the Ottawa bureau chief for the Huffington Post reveals Trudeau refused treatment for advanced prostate cancer rather than face losing his famously sharp mind to dementia.

"At 80, Pierre Trudeau had been diagnosed with metastasized prostate cancer. His doctor had also told him he had early stages of dementia," Althia Raj writes in Contender: The Justin Trudeau Story.

"The prostate cancer could be treated but the former prime minister wanted the cancer to claim him before he lost his mind."

Justin Trudeau himself said he does not dispute the account, which suggests Trudeau made the decision about six months prior to his death in September 2000.

"The characterization in the book is certainly not something that I would say is false," Trudeau -- currently the favourite to lead the party his father once helmed -- said in a brief interview.

"It's not anything that my father said explicitly to me. He may have said it to some other people," he said.

"But for me, it was fairly clear that he was very much at peace with the end of his life approaching and certainly wasn't interested in losing his quality of life, physically and mentally, and prolonging the process.

"He remained extremely lucid right up until the very end."

Dubbed a modern-day philosopher king, Trudeau was acclaimed by his admirers as the most intelligent prime minister ever to preside over government in Canada.

He served as prime minister from 1968-1979 and, after a brief Joe Clark interregnum, again from 1980-84.

After declining treatment for cancer, Trudeau was able to spend the last six months of his life with his two sons, Justin and Alexandre. Justin, who had been teaching in Vancouver, moved back to Montreal to be with his father.

Trudeau died on Sept. 28, 2000.

Senator repays money

OTTAWA -- Another Conservative senator is refunding expenses following an examination of residency claims.

The Senate's internal economy committee issued a terse notice that Sen. Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu has repaid an undisclosed amount that, according to the notice, was "mistakenly claimed."

Boisvenu is the third Conservative senator to have reportedly paid back improper expense claims in recent weeks, following the lead of Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin.

The Senate committee statement says "no rules were broken" by Boisvenu and that his residency and expense claims are in order.

Boisvenu was appointed to the Senate by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in January 2010 as an advocate for victims' rights.

He was recently outed in news reports for having a romantic relationship with his executive assistant, an apparent violation of parliamentary staffing rules.


Doppelgangers arrested

VICTORIA -- They were hiding in plain sight, hoping their similar mugs would baffle police investigators into letting them stay on the lam.

But Victoria police say they were not fooled by two fugitives from California who had illegally entered Canada and were living in Esquimalt, B.C., using each other as an alias.

The apparent doppelgangers have similar tattoos, share the same ethnic background, sport the same haircut and claim the same height.

Investigators say the men likely believed their physical similarities would provide enough cover to confuse police if ever questioned, giving them time to escape.

Instead, one of the men was arrested in a potential domestic dispute and discovered to be wanted on a U.S. warrant for a parole revocation, allowing the officers to move in and arrest the other man, who has a robbery and firearms history.

Daniel Mota and Dustin Ilar were handed over to the Canada Border Services Agency for immigration hearings and will likely soon be sent packing.


Poster dog against cruelty

COWANSVILLE, Que. -- A dog who was shot in the head and left for dead will have a new home at an animal shelter and will become a tail-wagging warrior against animal cruelty.

Orville the dog was found immobile in a ditch on Feb. 24 in Brome Lake, a community in Quebec's Eastern Townships region.

After a few difficult days, Orville stunned his shelter handlers by recovering most of his functions. They have called his progress a miracle.


-- from the news services


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 8, 2013 A14

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