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Week 9.docx

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Wilfrid Laurier University
North American Studies
Kevin Spooner

Week 9: Pierre Trudeau & Rene Levesque - Constructing Nations Pierre Trudeau  Prime minister from 1968-1979, and 1980-1984 th  Trudeau was pronounced the #1 newsmaker of the 20 century  CBCs greatest Canadian contest – was 1/3 prime ministers in the top 10, along with Macdonald and Pearson  Born into a wealthy family, son of French Canadian businessman, mother is of Scottish heritage  Educated at multiple colleges and universities  After graduation, goes on to backpack around the world  1950s comes back to Quebec and opposes the provincial government of Premier Maurice Duplessis  Advocates for social and political change in Quebec o Founded a French periodical  He is anti-nationalist and fought against political corruption  As he opposes Duplessis, develops reputation as a radical and a socialist o Many say it’s wrong to see him this way o His values are more in line with liberalism and democracy  Sees himself as bi-cultural (French and English) o Not a humble man about his ideas and beliefs  Quebec experiences the “Quiet Revolution” o Reaction against harsh clerical regime of Duplessis o Want social political and cultural changes o Comes in the 1960s when Duplessis is defeated and liberal government is established o This new government is more compatible with Trudeau’s beliefs o It revealed a deep rift between Trudeau’s ideas and many of his colleagues  Quiet revolution made them seek independence for Quebec, but Trudeau becomes a harsh critic of Quebecois nationalism – against separatism  He argued for a Canadian federalism, in which English and French Canadians would find true equality  1965 – Trudeau joins the federal liberal party o Elected to parliament as MP for the first time o At the time Pearson was the Prime Minister o Pearson wanted to recruit Jean Marchand, Trudeau is brought along at Marchand’s insistence  1967 made minister of justice o Takes the lead of liberalizing Canadian statutes on divorce, abortion, and homosexuality o “The state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation”  When Pearson announced he was going to retire, everyone thought Marchand would replace him o Marchand refuses, but instead supports Trudeau to become leader  1968 at the Liberal Leadership Convention he becomes leader of the liberal party (prime minister of Canada)  Within days of being elected he calls for an election o Canadians had never seen a prime minister before o Slogan “Canada needs to be a just society”  Full social, economic and legal equality for all Canadians o Liberals win a majority under Trudeau  Canada had to become a country where the government respected true pluralism Rene Levesque  Born in Quebec in 1922  Comes from wealth- father was lawyer but never went on to political career, struck down my influenza epidemic  Lived in predominantly Anglophone neighborhood  Learns a lot from his grandmother – key political skills learned from her when she taught him to play poker at the age of 6  Father sends him away to boarding school until father dies, then whole family moves to Quebec city  Not the greatest student – studies law at Laval, expelled in 1943 for smoking in class  Then decides to go to the US to get a job for the American Armed Forces  Joins radio-Canada international o Becomes head of the news service in 1952 o Hosts a regular TV series – becomes well-known face to Quebecers o This career as a journalist leads to political career  1960 – elected as provincial legislator  Is a very high profile cabinet minister o Oversaw all hydroelectric development  Soon becomes critical on liberal parties…. o Resigns, and creates and fines a new national movement MSA (movement for sovereignty association)  1968, forms the Party Quebecois (PQ)– Separatist party  Face of separatism until 1985 when he retires from politics Constructing Nations: Political Showdowns 1. Referendum of 1980 – Levesques attempt  Initially the PQ doesn’t have much success, but
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