Pierre Elliot Trudeau

Published in 1968, Federalism and the French Canadians is
an 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 Canada. 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,
whether federal or provincial". Each and every one of his
proposals demonstrated innovative thought and pragmatic
resolve for a striving politician who believed in Democracy
before Ideology. The emphasis he places on equality and
individualism is a testimonial to his character and integrity as
a politician. The next essay (The Practice and Theory of
Federalism) is the opening composition for Trudeau\'s firm
stance on Federalism and how it can be applied to the
current Executive system of administration already in