More particularly, two incidents involving Trudeau are remembered as having fostered Western alienation, and as emblematic of it. During a visit to , on July 17, 1969, Trudeau met with a group of farmers who were protesting that the federal government was not doing more to market their wheat. The widely-remembered perception is that Trudeau dismissed the protestors' concerns with "Why should I sell your wheat?" — in reality, however, the media never adequately reported the fact that he asked the question rhetorically and then proceeded to answer it himself. Years later, on a train trip through , he "gave the " to a group of protesters through the carriage window — less widely remembered is that the protestors were shouting anti-French slogans at the train.
One of Trudeau's most enduring legacies is the 1982 patriation of the , including a domestic amending formula and the . It is seen as advancing and liberties and, aside, has become a cornerstone of Canadian values for most Canadians. It also represented the final step in Trudeau's liberal vision of a fully independent and nationalist Canada based on fundamental human rights and the protection of individual freedoms as well as those of linguistic and cultural minorities. Court challenges based on the Charter of Rights have been used to advance the cause of women's equality, re-establish French school boards in provinces such as Alberta and Saskatchewan, and to mandate the adoption of all across Canada. of the , has clarified issues of aboriginal and equality rights, including establishing the previously denied aboriginal rights of . Section 15, dealing with equality rights, has been used to remedy societal discrimination against minority groups. The coupling of the direct and indirect influences of the Charter has meant that it has grown to influence every aspect of Canadian life, and the override () of the Charter has been infrequently used.
On March 4, 1971, the Prime Minister married , a woman who, at 22, was 30 years his junior. The couple had three children: (b. December 25, 1971), (Sacha) (b. December 25, 1973), and (October 2, 1975 – 13 November 1998). They were the subject of enormous press coverage before their well-publicised legal separation in 1977. When their divorce was finalised in 1984, Trudeau became the first Prime Minister to become a single parent as the result of divorce. In 1991, Trudeau became a father again, with . This was his first and only daughter, named Sarah. Trudeau did not marry Coyne. As of 2009, he had four grandchildren: grandsons Xavier James Trudeau (Justin) and Pierre Emmanuel Trudeau (Sacha); and granddaughters Ella-Grace Margaret Trudeau (Justin) and Gala Simone Trudeau (Sacha).
Pierre Elliott Trudeau died on September 28, 2000, and was buried in the Trudeau family crypt, , , . He to allow Canadians to pay their last respects. The response by Canadians was unprecedented in its size and public outpouring of emotion. He is survived by his ex-wife Margaret, his sons and , and his daughter, Sarah, whom he fathered by . During the , Justin delivered an emotional yet articulate eulogy that led to widespread speculation in the media that a career in politics was in his future. (Justin was elected to the House of Commons in late 2008). Many world politicians paid their respects to Trudeau by attending the funerals.
Trudeau remains well-regarded by many Canadians. However, the passage of time has only slightly softened the strong antipathy he inspired among his opponents. Trudeau's charisma and confidence as Prime Minister, and his championing of the Canadian identity are often cited as reasons for his popularity. His strong personality, contempt for his opponents and distaste for compromise on many issues have made him, as historian puts it, "one of the most admired and most disliked of all Canadian prime ministers." "He haunts us still," biographers and wrote in 1990. Trudeau's electoral successes were matched in the 20th century only by those of . In all, Trudeau is undoubtedly one of the most dominant and transformative figures in Canadian political history.
Trudeau had attempted of the Constitution earlier in his career, but always ran into a combined force of provincial Premiers on the issue of an amending formula. After he threatened to go to London alone, a led Trudeau to meet with the Premiers one more time. Trudeau reached an agreement with nine of the Premiers, with the notable exception of Lévesque. Quebec's refusal to agree to the new constitution became a source of continued acrimony between the federal and Quebec governments. Even so, the patriation was achieved; the was proclaimed by Queen Elizabeth on April 17, 1982. Following this, Trudeau commented in his memoirs "I always said it was thanks to three women that we were eventually able to reform our Constitution. The Queen, who was favourable, , who undertook to do everything that our Parliament asked of her, and , who represented the interests of Canada so well in London... The Queen favoured my attempt to reform the Constitution. I was always impressed not only by the grace she displayed in public at all times, but by the wisdom she showed in private conversation."
Two very significant events for Canada occurred during Pierre Trudeau's final term in office. The first was the defeat of the , called by the government of . In the debates between Trudeau and Lévesque, Canadians were treated to a contest between two highly intelligent, articulate and bilingual politicians who, despite being bitterly opposed, were each committed to the democratic process. Trudeau promised a new constitutional agreement with Quebec should it decide to stay in Canada, and the "No" side (that is, No to sovereignty) ended up receiving around 60% of the vote.
Trudeau's outward actions during his premiership led many to believe he harboured republican notions; it was even rumoured by , that the was worried "had little meaning for him." This may have had to do with the erasure of royal symbols, his documented antics around the Monarch, such as his sliding down banisters, and his famous pirouette behind the Queen, captured on film in 1977. He also glaringly breached protocol in 1978 when he vacationed in , instead of being in Canada to attend the Queen's arrival and departure. However, he was accused of instant monarchism, as well as opportunism during a period of personal unpopularity in the 1970s, when he invited Elizabeth II to attend the (CHOGM), at Ottawa 1973. The invitation, and acceptance of it, started the tradition of Elizabeth attending Commonwealth conferences, no matter the location. Also, in 1976, after , then , begged Trudeau to invite the Queen to the , Trudeau, after obliging him, became annoyed when Bourassa later became unsettled about how unpopular the move might be. He commented directly on the Monarchy in 1967, when he, by then a Cabinet minister, stated "I wouldn't lift a finger to get rid of the monarchy.... I think the monarchy, by and large, has done more good than harm to Canada." Ultimately, he experimented with the Crown more than any previous politician, and then entrenched the role of the Crown in Canada when he orchestrated the patriation of the Canadian Constitution in 1982 (see below).
Trudeau was the first world leader to agree to meet and his wife on their 'tour for '. Lennon said, after talking with Trudeau for 50 minutes, that Trudeau was "a beautiful person" and that "if all politicians were like Pierre Trudeau, there would be world peace."
Pierre Trudeau is today seen in very high regard on the Canadian political scene. Many politicians still use the term "taking a walk in the snow, " a throw-away line Trudeau used to describe his decision to leave office in 1984. Other popular Trudeauisms frequently used are "just watch me", the "Trudeau Salute", and "."
As , Pierre Trudeau was responsible for introducing the landmark , an whose provisions included, among other things, the decriminalization of acts between consenting adults, the legalization of , and , new restrictions as well as the authorization of tests on suspected drunk drivers. Trudeau famously defended the decriminalization of homosexual acts segment of the bill by telling reporters that "there's no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation", adding that "what's done in private between adults doesn't concern the Criminal Code". Trudeau also liberalized laws, and clashed with Quebec during constitutional negotiations.