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Tuesday, 3 October, 2000, 20:18 GMT 21:18 UK
Thousands bid farewell to Trudeau
Funeral procession of Pierre Trudeau
Canadians show their emotions as the cortege heads for the basilica
Thousands of Canadians have said farewell to Pierre Trudeau, Canada's most charismatic prime minister, at an emotional funeral ceremony in Montreal.

Cuban President Fidel Castro and former US President Jimmy Carter, as honorary pallbearers, followed the coffin from Montreal's town hall to the ornate basilica of Notre Dame in the city's old quarter.

Crowds applauded as the cortege arrived at the basilica which was already packed with thousands of mourners.

Mr Trudeau died last week from prostate cancer at the age of 80.

Pierre Trudeau has been a symbol of unity and human rights and democracy and freedom around the world

Jimmy Carter
Mr Trudeau's former wife, Margaret and her two sons accompanied the cortege.

Also attending were Mr Trudeau's daughter Sarah and her mother, constitutional expert Deborah Coyne.

Castro grateful

Justin, Pierre's elder son, delivered a moving eulogy culminating in a paraphrase of a Robert Frost poem. "The woods are lovely, dark and deep. He has kept his promises and earned his sleep. Je t'aime papa."

President Castro and Mr Carter spoke together in front of the basilica.

Mr Castro, who hugged Margeret and her sons, has special reason to be thankful to Mr Trudeau. Canada is one of the few countries in the Americas never to have broken relations with Cuba.

In 1976 Mr Trudeau visited Havana during the height of the American blockade and personally embraced the Cuban leader.

Pierre Trudeau
Trudeau: 'He was what we all wanted all of us to be'

Mr Carter paid fulsome tribute. "More than any person I know, Pierre Trudeau has been a symbol of unity and human rights and democracy and freedom around the world," he told reporters.

Pierre Trudeau swept to power in 1968 on a wave of popularity and remained in office for almost a generation.

International identity

Unlike any previous leader, he captivated Canadians with his forceful personality, the power of his ideas, his charm and style and - not least - his irreverent youthful image.

During that period Mr Trudeau fought off French-speaking separatist forces in Quebec and gave Canada an image and identity on the international stage.

Jimmy Carter and Fidel Castro
Carter and Castro unite in respect
The Canadian Prime Minister, Jean Chretien said he was deeply affected by Mr Trudeau's death telling journalists, "He was what we wanted all of us to be."

Other dignitaries and celebrities attending the funeral include Queen Elizabeth's son, Prince Andrew, the Canadian poet and songwriter Leonard Cohen and the Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the Ismaili Muslim community.

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29 Sep 00 | Americas
World leaders mourn Trudeau
02 Jan 00 | Americas
Pierre Trudeau suffering pneumonia
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