Memory finally shared with Justin Trudeau


PHOTO BY PETER CORBIERE

Despite being initially jostled out of the way, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s security detail ensured Saint-Lazare resident Lyne Saylor-Corbiere (right) could meet with the PM and share her story.

It took roughly 46 years but a Saint-Lazare woman was finally able to extend an apology of sorts to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for snubbing his father, then PM Pierre Trudeau at a Goose Bay, Newfoundland military air strip in 1972.

“My dad was in the air force and the family happened to be at the airport when Trudeau landed,” said Lyne Saylor-Corbiere. When Trudeau Sr. spotted the cute little girl in her mother’s arms, he immediately ventured over with the intention of saying hello.

“I proceeded to say to him, ‘You can’t talk to me. You’re a stranger and my daddy’s here’,” Saylor-Corbiere recounted, acknowledging with a laugh that she was essentially threatening the PM. Her father Corporal Morley Saylor began his air force career as a radar technician before remustering to become a military photographer.

PHOTO COURTESY LYNE SAYLOR-CORBIERE

Taken in 1972, then Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s (right) efforts to engage a young Lyne Saylor (far left) in conversation were thwarted when she refused.

At a West Island book signing in 2017, she told Margaret Trudeau, ex-wife of Pierre and mother of Justin, the story and was told the current Prime Minister would love to hear about it.

Fast forward to Justin’s arrival in Vaudreuil-Dorion June 24 to visit the Festival de Cirque activities on rue Jeanotte and to mingle with the throng of attendees vying for a handshake and a selfie.

While Saylor-Corbiere was prepared to hand over the framed photo with the included written narrative tucked into the back, she was quickly elbowed out of the way by the teeming mass of festival-goers and security detail. Her two daughters, Kirsten and Marley Corbiere came to the rescue, nabbing the PM and quickly explaining the historical significance of the picture. While he stopped for a photo, he also took the time for a selfie with the sisters.

PHOTO BY CARMEN MARIE FABIO

Westwood Sr. High School student Marley Corbiere (centre) is flanked by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and her sister, John Abbott College student Kirsten Corbiere, during the PM’s visit to the Vaudreuil-Dorion’s Festival de Cirque June 24 where the girls presented him with a framed photo of shared family history.

Once the crowd thinned out and with some help from the security guards, Saylor-Corbiere was finally able to speak to Trudeau and tell him the story herself. The guards also ensured the Prime Minister stopped for the requisite photo. “Only in Canada,” she observed.

Though Trudeau wasn’t able to officially take possession of the photo the day he was in town, it’s currently at the office of Vaudreuil-Soulanges Member of Parliament Peter Scheifke where Kristen volunteers.

“(Justin) always looks forward to hearing people’s stories about connecting with his dad,” Schiefke told The Journal. “As soon as he heard this one, he asked if he could get a copy.”

The act of finally connecting with Trudeau to share the photo and the story behind it was not only an apology over a cute childhood gaffe, but a sense of closure and a way to honour her father’s memory.

“It’s not about him being Prime Minister,” said Saylor-Corbiere who teaches first grade at St. Patrick’s Elementary School in Pincourt. “It’s really more from one kid who’s lost her dad to another.” As is the case with most photographers, very few photos of Saylor exist as the person who’s always been behind the lens.

“It means so much to me to have that piece of history, that memory of my dad.”

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