Pierre Trudeau


Pierre Trudeau, former Prime Minister of Canada, was once
described as "A French Canadian proud of his identity and
culture, yet a biting critic of French-Canadian society,
determined to destroy its mythology and illusions". He has also
been identified as "A staunch, upholder of provincial autonomy
holding the justice portfolio in the federal government". Such
cumulative appraisal and observation made by past fellow
bureaucrat provides high testimonial for the ex-Democratic
Socialist. This critique will establish and dispute the prime
directives that Trudeau had advocated in his own book written
during the years 1965 to 1967. The compilation of political
essays featured in his book deal with the diverse complexities of
social, cultural and economical issues that were predominant in
Canadian politics during the mid 1960\'s. However, throughout my
readings I was also able to discover the fundamental principles
that Trudeau would advocate in order to establish a strong and
productive influence in Canadian politics.

Born in 1921, Trudeau entered the world in a
bilingual/bicultural home located in the heart of Montreal,
Quebec. His acceptance into the University of Montreal would mark
the beginning of his adventures into the Canadian political
spectrum. Early in his life, Trudeau had become somewhat
anti-clerical and possessed communist ideologies which were
considered radical at the time. Graduating from prestigious
institutions such as Harvard and The School of Economics in
England, Turdeau returned to Canada in 1949 and resumed his
social science endeavors. At this time in Quebec, the province
was experiencing tremendous cultural and political differences
with the rest of the country. The Union Nationale had taken
possession of political matters in Quebec and was steadily
dismantling the socialist essence imposed on the province by the
Federal government. The current Prime Minister, Maurice
Duplessis, found himself battling a religious nationalist
movement that corrupted the very fabric of political stability
in Quebec. The Duplessis faction maintained their conservative
approach towards political reform but failed to sway the majority
of the population into alleviating with the demands of the
Canadian government. The citizens of Quebec revered their
clerical sector as holding \'utmost importance\' towards preserving
French cultural values and this did not correlate with the
Federal government\'s policies and ideals. Francophones were under
the impression that their own Federal government had set out to
crush and assimilate what had remained of their illustrious
heritage in order to accommodate economic and political
tranquility. Trudeau himself had decided to join the nationalist
uprising with his advocation of provincial autonomy. Ultimately,
he and other skilled social scientists attempted to bring down
the Duplessis party in 1949, but failed miserably in their
efforts. Duplessis buckled underneath the continuous pressure of
French patriotism and was rewarded for his inept idleness by
winning his fourth consecutive election in 1956. Although nothing
of significance had been accomplished, Quebec has solidified its
temporary presence in confederation at such a time. This prompted
Trudeau to involve himself in provincial diplomacy as he would
engage in several media projects that would voice his displeasure
and disapproval with the ongoing cultural predicament in Canada
(this included a syndicated newspaper firm, live radio programs).
"If, in the last analysis, we continually identify Catholicism
with conservatism and patriotism with immobility, we will lose by
default that which is in play between all cultures...". By
literally encouraging a liberal, left-wing revolution in his
province, Trudeau believed that Democracy must come before
Ideology. Gradually, his disposition would attract many
politicians and advocates of Socialism, and thus it allowed him
to radiate his ideology onto the populace of Quebec. Trudeau
makes it clear in his book that during the early years of the
Duplessis government, he was a staunch admirer of provincial
autonomy, but with the archaic sequence of events following the
conflicts that arouse between Federal and Provincial matters in
Quebec, he had taken a stance on Federalism that involved
security, economic prosperity and centralized authority. It
wasn\'t until 1963 when the newly appointed Premier of Quebec,
Rene Levesque, warned that there must be a new Canada within five
years or Quebec will quit confederation. It was not until 1965
that a man named Pierre Trudeau entered politics.

It is at this point in his anthology that I was able to
surmise the radical and unorthodox political convictions that the
soon-to-be Prime Minister would incorporate into Canada. His
thesis is focused around pertinent issues which demanded
attention at the time. After he elaborates on the importance of
Federalism and how it is associated with Quebec, the reader
begins to interpret the resolutions he offers and then finds
himself comprehending the dilemma that French Canadians face in
Canada. In the wake of a constitutional referendum, such
knowledge can be viewed as ironically significant. A defender of
civil rights and freedoms, Trudeau, even as a teenager,