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A Comparison And Contrast Of Canadian Prime Ministers

1247 words - 5 pages

The Prime Minister in Canada is the head of government and is appointed by the Governor General. Canada is the northern neighbor to the United States, and the Queen of England is its head of state. These powerful countries being so closely tied to Canada makes it a major player on the world stage, and gives considerable power to its Prime Ministers.There have been twenty-two Prime Ministers, with John Diefenbaker being the thirteenth, serving from 1957-1963, and Pierre Trudeau the fifteenth, who served 1968-1979 and again 1980-1984. Diefenbaker was a progressive conservative, a right-center group associated with British imperialism. Trudeau was part of the Liberal party of Canada, one that focused on individual freedom, ironic considering Trudeau was the only Prime Minister to enact the War Measures Act during peacetime. Domestically, these two Prime Ministers have done much in terms of protecting and growing a modern Canada. There are many ways these leaders' domestic policies were similar, such as helping to create an equality among Canadians, and many ways in which they had opposing policies, such as their policies regarding French-Canada.
Both leaders spent a part of their careers on trying to create a fair, socially just Canada. Diefenbaker, on his part, appointed the first female minister to his cabinet, and the first aboriginal member to the senate, two big steps for equal rights in Canada. He also oversaw the passing of the Canadian Bill of Rights, the first to officially recognize basic human rights in Canada. He wanted to eliminate the discrimination of French-Canadians, immigrants, and native peoples, this he did by creating the Bill of Rights that protected the freedoms of speech, religion and association. While this was a noble idea, his Bill of Rights is generally considered a failure because of its limitations. Since it was not an amendment to the constitution, there was speculation on it's application to future parliaments, it also relied on parliament to repeal any laws already in effect that were contrary to the Bill, and it placed no limits on provincial governmental powers. For these reasons, while the Bill is still in effect, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was adopted in 1982.
Similarly, Trudeau spent a large portion of his career on political reforms to create what he called a 'Just Society'. His plans included universal health care and housing aid to areas in need of economic assistance. Additionally, Trudeau was the one to create the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which advanced women's rights, allowed a mandate legalizing same sex marriage throughout Canada, and remedied discrimination against minorities. This Charter was widely accepted, with an 82% approval rating with most Canadians viewing it as a positive change to their country. There are some criticisms however, from both the left and right sides. From the left, it was seen as too 'Americanized' giving too many rights to individuals...

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