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Trudeau, Pierre Elliott (1919‐)

Subject History

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631209379.1999.x


Prime Minister of Canada (1968–79, 1980–4). Born and raised in Quebec, a millionaire by inheritance, he took degrees in social sciences and law at Canadian, American and European universities. Fluent in both French and English, he was one of the progressives who wanted to overthrow the traditional conservative élite in Quebec. He was a founder of Cité Libre in 1950, a secular publication which sought to replace the influence of the Catholic Church by that of the state. From 1951–61 he practised law, specializing in labour and civil rights cases and supported Jean Lesage's Quiet Revolution (1960–6) in Quebec. He was assistant Professor of Law at Montreal University from 1961–5, when he was elected to the Canadian House of Commons as a Liberal. As Minister of Justice in the pearson government he liberalized the criminal code, legalized abortion, contraception and homosexual acts between consenting adults and made divorce easier. When Lester Pearson retired in 1968, Trudeau defeated several Anglophone ministers to become leader of the Liberal Party and convincingly won the election of that year. Trudeau was opposed to quebec nationalism , as it would split the federal state and lead, he thought, to a semi‐Fascist regime in Quebec but, a French Canadian himself, he realized that the aspirations of Francophones should be met. As English was the principal working language of the ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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