Pierre Trudeau's Impact In Canadian History Rick Hansen Ss/History Essay

2015 words - 9 pages

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Throughout Canadian history there have been many people who have contributed to improving Canadian identity and strengthening its independence towards the end of the twentieth century; Pierre Elliot Trudeau was certainly one of these people. Pierre Trudeau’s accomplishments through his involvement in the Quebec Referendum, the creation of the new Constitution Act and the October Crisis were vital to the progression of Canadian independence, rights and freedoms, as well as equality between French and English Canadians. The historical significance of his accomplishments can be seen through how instead of French-Canadians continuing to advocate the separation of Quebec, he changed their mindsets over the course of different events to make them realize that French and English Canadians can live in unity. In addition, he caused the patriating of the BNA Act which resulted in the new Constitution Act that included the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in which Canada’s values are built upon and he resolved the October Crisis by using his ethical judgement to invoke the War Measures Act in order to maintain peace in Canada.
In Canada there had always been a tension between the French and English. Trudeau realized the significance of this issue and knew that in order for Canada to progress in its equality between its citizens, he had to resolve the conflict between them. His involvement is the reason why Francophones have changed their views on separation and Quebec is not highly advocating it anymore. He was dedicated to fix the issues between these groups and so he began with passing the Official Languages Act (1969) which made Canada a bilingual nation. The Act “recognized the equal status of English and French throughout the federal administration” (Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages). This brought language equality to both French and English Canadians and kept the tension between them at a minimum for a while because Francophones were very pleased that they were being recognized, although during 1980 the tension grew. This was because of the Quebec Referendum; a survey that would decide whether Quebec was to be separated into its own country or remain a province within Canada. Pierre Trudeau was committed to keeping Quebec a part of Canada so he gave multiple speeches which were largely successful in convincing Francophones to vote for Quebec not to separate. During a speech at the Paul Sauvé Arena, Montreal, Quebec, May 14, 1980, Trudeau said, “I know that I can make a most solemn commitment that following a NO vote, we will immediately take action to renew the Constitution and we will not stop until we have done that” (collectionscanada). His promise was very appealing to the people of Quebec because it meant that the English influence of Britain that Canada was tied with would be cut off. Completing Canadian independence and making sure that there was no large English impact from Britain would not make Francophones feel like...

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