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Essay/Term paper: Another trudeau

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Political Science

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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, was adamantly

opposed to supporting any political theory based on ethnic

tendencies; he makes this clear on an essay in the book

entitled: "Quebec and the Constitutional Problem". He was

convinced that not only the divided jurisdiction of a federal

state helped protect the liberty of its citizens but also that in

fact the economic, social and cultural goods of Quebec can

best be achieved with a Canadian federal state. It seemed

that an archetypal Trudeau Federal infrastructure would be

one where each level of government would function on its

own jurisdiction. In doing so, Trudeau would voice his

admiration for the Bill of Rights and how he would

concentrate on developing a Federal government for the

individual. It was not until 1962 that Trudeau actually began

defending Federalism for what it represented to the average

labourer, but the fact that Quebec seemed to convert

provincial autonomy into an absolute forced him to

reconsider his political stance. Joining the struggling Liberal

party in 1965, his only coinciding proposition with that of his

party was the advocation of an open Federal system.

Nonetheless, it marked the beginning of a political career

that would take him to the heights of power in his dominion.

"My political action, or my theory - insomuch as I can be

said to have one - can be expressed very simply: create

counter-weights". The measure of a man can be traced to his

ideological convictions, and in doing so, I have only started

to realize the prominent role that Trudeau has played in

Canadian politics. He was heralded as a radical, somewhat

of a usurper and definitely a socialist mogul, but what was

clear about Trudeau was his respect and admiration for

liberties of the common man and how they were preserved

from the clutches of Federal policies. This respect would not

be replaced at any cost during his tenure and as he

forecasted the ensuing constitutional dilemma with a very

impartial, non-partisan outlook, he would primarily

concentrate on two factors (economic and linguistic) which

offered practical conclusions without chaotic implications.

Trudeau envisioned himself in power, speculating two

choices he would offer to Quebec; full sovereignty or

maximized integration into the American continent. But what

Trudeau avoided treading upon was the infringement of state

policies on the individual's rights and freedoms. Many

members of the Federal government believed that Trudeau

did not speak on behalf of French Canadians but that he

substituted their cultural plight with his own theories. This

generated the following response: "If the party does not

agree with my opponents, it can repudiate me; if my

constituents do not, they can elect someone else". Trudeau

maintains that he dedicated his anthology in order for others

to understand the problems that French Canadians faced in

terms of cultural progress, and I am compelled to conclude

that his involvement with the Federal regime may have saved

the country for twenty years...unfortunately, he was unable

to complete the affirmation of his ideology into the French

Canadian scope and thus Canada today is contemplating the

outcome of another constitutional referendum. His failure to

absolve the constitution of any future repercussions with the

masses should not be viewed as a political error, but as an

ideological truth which he exhibited since 1965 (the addition

of the "notwithstanding" clause). Trudeau's book covers an

immense amount of historical and idealistic content.

Published in 1965, it is fascinating to read and discover how

intently and closely he would follow his ideologies as he

would eventually ascend to the position of Prime Minister.

His reliability would be questionable at the time (based on

limited experience as a politician) but the fact that he had

submerged himself into a field which required innovative and

pragmatic thought led me to believe that his Federalist stance

would eventually be justified in Canadian history. With a

superlative writing style, his use of vocabulary and

terminology aided the reader in understanding his

convictions. Not even this reader expected such a barrage of

political jargon. Recent events in Canada have somewhat

curtailed the ambience dealing with this critique in respects to

the opinions exhibited on behalf of the author and reviewer.

Trudeau takes obvious pride in his ideological perspective of

multicultural Canada, and in doing so one might expect a

partisan, biased array of resolutions. This, however, is not

the case. This book leaves room for educational prowess

without any noticeable weaknesses. Federalism and the

French Canadians is an insightful, ideological anthology that

could be found especially useful to other politics students

who wish to examine the importance of cultural and social

values in a country missing a stable political doctrine (and

perhaps a leader, no less). 

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