Politics
Photo leaves Trudeau in tears

Justin Trudeau, front runner in the Federal Liberal leadership race, is presented with a famous photograph, which was taken by former Ottawa Citizen photographer Rod MacIvor, by Belleville Police Cst. Jeff Ling at Loyalist College in Belleville, Ont.

Credits: JEROME LESSARD/The Intelligencer/QMI Agency

JEROME LESSARD | QMI AGENCY

BELLEVILLE, Ont. -- Like a photograph, the tears streaming down Justin Trudeau's face were worth a thousand words.

The frontrunner in the federal Liberal leadership race, who visited Loyalist College in Belleville Thursday morning, said he would have liked to "resist," but when Belleville Police Const. Jeff Ling presented him with a framed copy of former Ottawa Citizen news photographer Rod MacIvor's famous "PET" photo, the young politician broke into tears.

The famous black-and-white image was taken at 24 Sussex Dr. in Ottawa in 1973 and shows Pierre Elliott Trudeau carrying son Justin like a football as an RCMP officer -- Ling's father -- salutes the colourful prime minister.

MacIvor, who covered the Trudeau family for 10 years as a wire service photographer working for United Press International, earned the National Newspaper Award for feature photography with what he called "PET," the most pivotal photograph of his career.

"It's Valentine's Day today and my wife wanted to go on stage to present him with the photo," Ling said, "but she got so nervous that, as I was not getting calls at the time, she asked me to do it.

"And I think it was more fitting that way as my father is in that photo saluting his (father), which obviously touched him."

Like his father, Trudeau never seems fazed by news photographers. Surrounded by two dozen photojournalism students - who are learning the trade at the community college - snapping away as he wiped away tears, Trudeau said receiving the famous framed photograph hit home.

"I remember Rod telling me great stories about my father and great stories about my mother (whom MacIvor taught photography), but not once have I shed a tear. I tried hard not to, but today I couldn't help it," he said.

"So far I have been able to resist, but this being presented to me put me literally in tears, as I am touched and so grateful to the men and women around this country who have chosen to serve this country with police services and the Canadian Forces."

Trudeau apologized for showing emotion on stage to more than 200 students, Loyalist teaching staff and members of the public who attended his 30-minute speech and question-and-answer.

"I apologize for that," he said. "I am not a crybaby, but today's is Valentine's Day and this just left me really emotional."

MacIvor's original print of "PET" was included in a magazine feature, called 10 Photographs That Changed Canada, and also in the hardcover book, entitled 100 Photographs That Changed Canada.

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