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1971: Pierre Trudeau’s ‘fuddle duddle’ incident

The Story


"The prime minister interrupted me... by mouthing a four-letter obscenity," says Conservative MP John Lundrigan. "He mouthed two words," adds another Tory MP, Lincoln Alexander, to a group of reporters. "The first started with the letter F, the second word the letter O." The accused potty mouth, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, swears he did no such thing. Trudeau says that Lundrigan and Alexander are being "very sensitive" for "crying to mama and to television." When pressed by journalists on exactly what happened inside the House of Commons on Feb. 16, 1971, Trudeau mutters the soon-to-be famous phrase: "fuddle duddle."

Medium: Television
Program: CBC Television News
Production Date: Feb. 15, 1971
Guests: Lincoln Alexander, John Lundrigan, Pierre Trudeau
Duration: 2:14

Did You know?


• The "fuddle duddle" incident occurred during a discussion in the House of Commons over training programs for the unemployed. It was the second time in two weeks that Pierre Trudeau was accused of muttering obscenities. The previous incident was against Lapalme postal truck drivers.

• Trudeau's famous phase inspired a satirical Canadian comic series called Fuddle Duddle.

• Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau was famous for his antics. The charismatic leader was filmed sliding down banisters, doing pirouettes behind the Queen's back and faking a fall over a television studio staircase.

• Pierre Elliot Trudeau was born on Oct. 18, 1919 and died of prostate cancer on Sept. 28, 2000.


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