When Pierre Trudeau had coffee with the PM who defeated the Liberals

Pierre Trudeau made a surprise appearance on Parliament Hill a few weeks after the Liberals lost an election. But he wasn't there to visit with members of his party.

Trudeau made time to see the PC prime minister in 1984, but did not visit any Liberals while in Ottawa

Pierre Trudeau didn't chat with reporters when heading to meet Prime Minister Brian Mulroney on Oct. 24, 1984. (The National/CBC Archives)

A year earlier, it would have seemed unlikely for Brian Mulroney to be inviting Pierre Trudeau in for a coffee.

But by the fall of 1984, the landscape of Parliament Hill had changed — Mulroney was the prime minister, the Liberals were sitting on the opposition benches and Trudeau, by that point, was living his life as a private citizen.

And Trudeau didn't even live in Ottawa any more. But, upon being invited to his old workplace by the new prime minister, he accepted an invitation to drop by on Oct. 24, 1984.

"At his old office door stood Brian Mulroney," the CBC's Jason Moscovitz reported on The National that night.

"By all appearances, he was quite happy to see Trudeau, a man Mulroney is said to have always admired."

'A courtesy meeting'

Co-ordinating coffee with 2 PMs

39 years ago
Duration 1:49
In 1984, Pierre Trudeau dropped by Parliament Hill to have coffee with Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.

After a half-hour meeting, the media waited to speak with the two men, but Trudeau didn't make any comment on his way out the door.

Mulroney said "it was a courtesy meeting," which had been set up after the prime minister heard his Liberal predecessor was going to be in town on business.

The Progressive Conservative prime minister stressed that no job was offered to Trudeau, who, as CBC News had reported weeks earlier, was then working at a Montreal law firm.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the story was who Trudeau didn't visit on Parliament Hill — that would the person who had succeeded him as Liberal leader.

"The Liberals were meeting at exactly the same time that Trudeau was in town and no, he didn't go to see them and no, there was no cup of coffee with John Turner," said Moscovitz.

"In fact, Turner didn't even know Trudeau was around."