Pierre elliot Trudeau
1919 – 2000
Pierre Elliott Trudeau, was born October 18th, 1919 in Montreal, Quebec and died September 28th, 2000 from Parkinson's Disease and prostate cancer. (Simpson, 1998)
He is best known for establishing The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In 1969, Trudeau also brought in the Official Languages Act, making Canada bilingual. While he played an important role in defeating the Quebec sovereignist movement of the 1970s and 1980s, his federal stance as well as his language and economic policies alienated many in Canada, particularly in the western provinces. (Whitaker, 2007)
Education and Early Career
Trudeau was the son of a successful French Canadian businessman and his mother was of Scottish decent. His educational career consisted of several institutions including: the Jesuit Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf, Université de Montréal, Harvard, and the London School of Economics. (Whitaker, 2007)
What started Trudeau’s successful career was the asbestos strike from Asbestos, Quebec. In 1848, many mining workers went on strike trying to stand up for themselves in a labour dispute and Pierre Trudeau, along with several others were compassionate and understanding about these issues and demands that the workers had. Being merely a journalist at the time of the Asbestos strike, Trudeau took pride in leading and supporting these workers. Eventually their working conditions and wages did improve and Trudeau edited a book that was written reguarding this important time in history called La grève de l’amiante (The Asbestos Strike). (Schlee, 2010)
The 1980 election was a turning point in Canadian federalism, as Trudeau returned to power with a single-minded mission (Whitaker, 2007)
Trudeau triumphant after the 1980 election, determined to bring the constitution home to Canada (courtesy Canapress). (Whitaker, 2007)
Why I chose Pierre Elliott Trudeau
I thought that it was interesting how just one person, was responsible for the whole social welfare system. It would seem as though, without this man, that welfare, in question, would not even exist. I’m almost certain that there would have been other people to come along at some point to suggest something similar to it; but perhaps someone would not have been assertive enough to use their power for the greater good and to help, at this point – millions of people.
With creating the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms – Mr. Trudeau attempted to make everyone equal, in a sense that we are to be treated like human beings. People have the right to come and go as they please within Canada (within reason). They have the right to vote – to speak their minds, to give their opinions, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.
I think that Pierre Elliot Trudeau is profoundly the most important Canadian icon that exists because he gave Canadian people their rights, their freedoms, their dignity, their own sense of power. It is because of this man that our country differs from so many others where you can’t speak your mind without getting shot, or punished, or worse. Where these people in these other countries are not treated fairly because there is no law that states anybody has to.
Entry into Federal Politics
In 1965 Trudeau joined the federal Liberal Party and was elected to Parliament . Trudeau was later appointed secretary of parliament to Prime Minister Lester Pearson. In 1967, Pierre Trudeau became a Minister of Justice, where he was recognized across the province for introducing the divorce law reform and for Criminal Code amendments that liberalized laws on abortion, homosexuality, and public lotteries. He also established a reputation as a defender of a strong federal government against the nationalist demands of Québec. (Whitaker, 2007)
Oct. 18, 1919: Joseph Philippe