Pierre Elliot Trudeau

ideological anthology featuring a series of essays written by Pierre

Elliot Trudeau during his time spent with the Federal Liberal party of

Canada. The emphasis of the book deals with the problems and conflicts

facing the country during the Duplessis regime in Quebec. While

Trudeau stresses his adamant convictions on Anglophone/Francophone

relations and struggles for equality in a confederated land, he also

elaborates on his own ideological views pertaining to Federalism and

Nationalism. The reader is introduced to several essays that discuss

Provincial legislature and conflict (Quebec and the Constitutional

Problem, A Constitutional Declaration of Rights) while other

compositions deal with impending and contemporary Federal predicaments

(Federal Grants to Universities, The Practice and Theory of

Federalism, Separatist Counter-Revolutionaries). Throughout all these

documented personal accounts and critiques, the reader learns that

Trudeau is a sharp critic of contemporary Quebec nationalism and that

his prime political conviction (or thesis) is sporadically reflected

in each essay: Federalism is the only possible system of government

that breeds and sustains equality in a multicultural country such as


Trudeau is fervent and stalwart in his opinions towards

Federalism and its ramifications on Canadian citizenry. Born and

raised in Quebec, he attended several prestigious institutions that

educated him about the political spectrum of the country. After his

time spent at the London School of Economics, Trudeau returned to

Quebec at a time when the province was experiencing vast differences

with its Federal overseer. The Union Nationale, a religious

nationalist movement rooted deep in the heart of Quebec culture, had

forced the Federal government to reconcile and mediate with them in

order to avoid civil disorder or unrest. The Premier of Quebec at the

time, Maurice Duplessis, found it almost impossible to appease the

needs of each diverse interest group and faction rising within the

province and ultimately buckled underneath the increasing pressure.

Many Francophones believed that they were being discriminated and

treated unfairly due to the British North American Act which failed to

recognize the unique nature of the province in its list of provisions.

Trudeau, with the aid of several colleagues, fought the imminent wave

of social chaos in Quebec with anti-clerical and communist visions he

obtained while in his adolescent years. However, as the nationalist

movement gained momentum against the Provincial government, Trudeau

came to the startling realization that Provincial autonomy would not

solidify Quebec\'s future in the country (he believed that separatism

would soon follow) and unless Duplessis could successfully negotiate

(on the issue of a constitution) with the rest of Canada, the prospect

of self-sovereignty for Quebec would transpire.

His first essay (Quebec and the Constitutional Problem) explores

the trials and tribulations which occurred between the Provincial and

Federal governments during the ensuing constitutional problems in

Canada. Trudeau candidly lambastes and ridicules the Federal

Government\'s inability to recognize the economic and linguistic

differences in Quebec. He defends the province by stating that

"The language provisions of the British North American Act are very

limited" and therefore believes that they continue to divide the

country and aid the nationalist movement in Quebec. Using an informal,

first person writing approach, Trudeau makes it clear that his words

are for reactionaries, not revolutionaries who are looking to destroy

the political fabric of the country. However, Trudeau considers

possible alternatives and implications in the second essay (A

Constitutional Declaration of Rights) and offers possible resolutions

to the everlasting cultural dilemma plaguing both parties involved.

One of his arguments is that the Federal government must take the

initiative and begin the constitutional sequence to modify and adapt

to the growing needs of all the provinces, not only Quebec. "One tends

to forget that constitutions must also be made by men and not by force

of brutal circumstance or blind disorder", was his response to the

perpetual ignorance of the Federalist leaders who stalled and dodged

on the issue of equality and compromise throughout the country. At

this point in the essay, Trudeau relied on his central thesis for the

book and used it to prove his application of constitutional reform

using the Federal government as the catalyst. Trudeau had already

formulated his visions of the perfect constitution and how it would

include "A Bill of Rights that would guarantee the fundamental

freedoms of the citizen from intolerance,