Pierre Trudeau's Influence On Canada

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More than 30 years ago today, one of the most significant developments in the protection of human rights in Canada was signed and entrenched in the Canadian Constitution. Under the leadership of then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, The Charter of Rights and Freedoms was enacted on April 17, 1982, to become the most visible and recognized part of the Canadian Constitution and is intended to protect certain political and civil rights of people in Canada from the policies and actions of all levels of government. Since its introduction in 1982, the Charter has had a powerful influence on Canadian federalism, while also contributing to a progressive constitutional change that would affirm our status as an independent nation. The enactment of the …show more content…
Trudeau had many great accomplishments while in office including the adoption of the Official Languages Act in 1969, which established an equal status of French and English in the government of Canada. Shortly after in 1971, the policy of official multiculturalism was implemented to preserve and enhance distinct cultures within Canada. Multiculturalism as a result became more than just a government policy, but formed a fundamental component of Canada’s national identify. In 1982, Trudeau’s greatest achievement came with the addition of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to the Canadian Constitution which permanently changed the nature of Canada's government and created both supporters and critics of the Charter. Prior to the enactment of the Charter, the civil and political rights of Canadians only existed as federal statute in the Canadian Bill of Rights and not a fundamental law of the land. The Charter affirms and guarantees certain rights and freedoms that are considered essential in a free and democratic society including voting, speech, religion, assembly, and equality. When examining the context of democracy in the Canadian Constitution there is no clear description provided as to what is truly meant by a “democratic society” and thus leaves much up to interpretation. If we were to define democracy in terms of expanding political participation to all equal groups of Canadians, entrenchment of legal rights and limits imposed on the power of government, then arguably the introduction of the Charter signified an progressive change toward a more democratic and impartial