Tuesday, 22 December 2015

46 YEARS AGO: JOHN AND YOKO ONO IN CANADA ON A CRUSADE FOR PEACE



On this day, (22 december, 1969) John and Yoko testified to Canadian authorities about non-medical use of drugs.John and Yoko Ono, in Canada on a crusade for peace, meet Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in Ottawa on Dec. 24, 1969. John shared his expertise with the Le Dain Commission, believing that marijuana was a catalyst for peace. 
John Lennon and Yoko Ono meet Pierre Trudeau 1969
 In 1969, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s government struck a royal commission and tasked it with an evidence-based examination of drug use and policy. The Le Dain Commission — named after its chairman, future Supreme Court justice Gerald Le Dain — signaled to observers that the country was on the cusp of regulatory revolution.
“This is the opportunity for Canada to lead the world,” John testified three days before Christmas that year.
John, Yoko Ono, and a handful of Le Dain Commission officials were sitting in the couple’s private railway car in the Montreal train station. For 90 minutes, according to a transcript of the testimony unearthed by fan John Whelan from Ottawa,John enthusiastically shared his thoughts. “I must say,” the musician began, “this commission that you’ve set up . . . I don’t know what’s going on in the rest of the world, you know, in reality, towards drugs, but this seems to be the only one that is trying to find out what it’s about with any kind of sanity.”
John and his wife, Yoko Ono, in Canada as part of their crusade for peace, meet with Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau on Dec. 24, 1969 in Ottawa.
Lennon’s week-long stay in Canada followed not only the spring Bed-In in Montreal but also a “Live Peace” concert in Toronto that September, where a performance of Lennon’s new anthem Give Peace a Chance was the highlight. The December trip was closely followed by Canadian media, from the couple’s airport arrival — captured in a front-page photo in the Globe and Mail — to Lennon and Ono’s first ride on a snowmobile at Hawkins’ home, to the scheduled ten-minute meeting with Trudeau in Ottawa that turned into a warm, 50-minute conservation fondly recounted decades later in Trudeau’s 1993 memoir.

“I was pleased to receive (Lennon and Ono),” Trudeau wrote, adding that the Beatle “was kind enough to say afterwards, ‘If all politicians were like Mr. Trudeau, there would be world peace.’ I must say that Give Peace a Chance has always seemed to me to be sensible advice.”

Ono even described Trudeau as “more beautiful than we expected.” And Trudeau biographer John English recalled the encounter by noting that “with Trudeau’s popularity on the wane” in late 1969, “these unexpected endorsements possessed real political weight.”

When John and Yoko arrived in Toronto in December 1969 to begin planning for the 1970 concert that wouldn’t happen, the city had been strategically plastered with posters, billboards and print advertisements bearing the message “WAR IS OVER! If you want it” and “Happy Christmas from John & Yoko.” An original copy of the poster is counted among the most coveted artifacts.



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