In , he was appointed Minister of Justice.
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Trudeau's outgoing personality caused a media sensation, inspiring " Trudeaumania ", and helped him to win the leadership of the Liberal Party in , when he was appointed Prime Minister of Canada. From the late s until the early s, Trudeau's personality dominated the political scene to an extent never before seen in Canadian political life. After his appointment as Prime Minister, he won the , and elections, before narrowly losing in He won a fourth election victory shortly afterwards, in , and eventually retired from politics shortly before the election.
Despite his personal motto, "Reason before passion",  his personality and political career aroused polarizing reactions throughout Canada during his time in office. Admirers praised what they consider to be the force of Trudeau's intellect  and his political acumen, maintaining national unity over the Quebec sovereignty movement , suppressing a Quebec terrorist crisis , fostering a pan-Canadian identity, and in achieving sweeping institutional reform, including the implementation of official bilingualism , patriation of the Constitution , and the establishment of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
His eldest son, Justin Trudeau , became the 23rd and current Prime Minister following the election , and is the first prime minister of Canada to be a descendant of a former prime minister. The Trudeau family can be traced to Marcillac-Lanville in France in the 16th century and to a Robert Truteau — He had an older sister named Suzette and a younger brother named Charles Jr. The family had become quite wealthy by the time Trudeau was in his teens, as his father sold his prosperous gas station business to Imperial Oil. Trudeau's father died when Pierre was 15 years old.
This death hit him and the family very hard emotionally. Trudeau remained very close to his mother for the rest of her life. Lalonde asserts that Trudeau's later intellectual development as an "intellectual rebel, anti-establishment fighter on behalf of unions and promoter of religious freedom" came from his experiences after leaving Canada to study in the United States, France and England, and to travel to dozens of countries.
His international experiences allowed him to break from Jesuit influence and study French progressive Catholic philosophers such as Jacques Maritain and Emmanuel Mounier as well as John Locke and David Hume. When conscripted, he decided to join the Canadian Officers' Training Corps, and he then served with the other conscripts in Canada, since they were not assigned to overseas military service until after the Conscription Crisis of following the Invasion of Normandy that June.
Before this, all Canadians serving overseas were volunteers, and not conscripts. Trudeau said he was willing to fight during World War II , but he believed that to do so would be to turn his back on the population of Quebec that he believed had been betrayed by the government of William Lyon Mackenzie King. Trudeau reflected on his opposition to conscription and his doubts about the war in his Memoirs : "So there was a war?
In an Outremont by-election in he campaigned for the anti-conscription candidate Jean Drapeau later the Mayor of Montreal.
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After the war Trudeau continued his studies, first taking a master's degree in political economy at Harvard University 's Graduate School of Public Administration now the John F. Kennedy School of Government. Finally, he enrolled for a doctorate at the London School of Economics , but did not finish his dissertation. Trudeau was interested in Marxist ideas in the s and his Harvard dissertation was on the topic of Communism and Christianity. In Trudeau travelled to Paris to continue his dissertation work. Over a five-week period he attended many lectures and became a follower of personalism after being influenced most notably by Emmanuel Mounier.
From the late s through the mids, Trudeau was primarily based in Montreal and was seen by many as an intellectual. In he was an active supporter of workers in the Asbestos Strike. Laurent as an economic policy advisor. He wrote in his memoirs that he found this period very useful later on, when he entered politics, and that senior civil servant Norman Robertson tried unsuccessfully to persuade him to stay on. Scott , Eugene Forsey , Michael Kelway Oliver and Charles Taylor led to his support of and membership in that federal democratic socialist party throughout the s.
Trudeau felt the federal NDP could not achieve power, expressed doubts about the feasibility of the centralizing policies of the party, and felt that the party leadership tended toward a " deux nations " approach he could not support. He was offered a position at Queen's University teaching political science by James Corry , who later became principal of Queen's, but turned it down because he preferred to teach in Quebec.
Trudeau later appealed the ban and it was rescinded. He admired the labour unions, which were tied to the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation CCF , and tried to infuse his Liberal party with some of their reformist zeal. By the late s Trudeau began to reject social democratic and labour parties, arguing that they should put their narrow goals aside and join forces with Liberals to fight for democracy first.
Trudeau criticized the Liberal Party of Lester Pearson when it supported arming Bomarc missiles in Canada with nuclear warheads. These "three wise men" ran successfully for the Liberals in the election. Trudeau himself was elected in the safe Liberal riding of Mount Royal , in western Montreal. He would hold this seat until his retirement from politics in , winning each election with large majorities. Upon arrival in Ottawa, Trudeau was appointed as Prime Minister Lester Pearson's parliamentary secretary, and spent much of the next year travelling abroad, representing Canada at international meetings and bodies, including the United Nations.
In he was appointed to Pearson's cabinet as Minister of Justice. As Minister of Justice , Trudeau was responsible for introducing the landmark Criminal Law Amendment Act , an omnibus bill whose provisions included, among other things, the decriminalization of homosexual acts between consenting adults, the legalization of contraception, abortion and lotteries, new gun ownership restrictions as well as the authorization of breathalyzer tests on suspected drunk drivers.
Trudeau famously defended the segment of the bill decriminalizing homosexual acts by telling reporters that "there's no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation", adding that "what's done in private between adults doesn't concern the Criminal Code". At the end of Canada's centennial year in , Prime Minister Pearson announced his intention to step down, and Trudeau entered the race for the Liberal leadership.
His energetic campaign attracted massive media attention and mobilized many young people, who saw Trudeau as a symbol of generational change. Going into the leadership convention, Trudeau was the front-runner and a clear favourite with the Canadian public. However, many Liberals still had reservations given that he joined the Liberal Party in and that his views, particularly those on divorce, abortion, and homosexuality, were seen as radical and opposed by a substantial segment of the party.
During the convention, prominent Cabinet Minister Judy LaMarsh was caught on television profanely stating that Trudeau wasn't a Liberal. He defeated several prominent and long-serving Liberals including Paul Martin Sr. As the new leader of the governing Liberals, Trudeau was sworn in as Prime Minister two weeks later on April Trudeau soon called an election, for June His election campaign benefited from an unprecedented wave of personal popularity called " Trudeaumania ",    which saw Trudeau mobbed by throngs of youths.
As a candidate Trudeau espoused participatory democracy as a means of making Canada a " Just Society ". He defended vigorously the newly implemented universal health care and regional development programmes, as well as the recent reforms found in the Omnibus bill.
On the eve of the election, during the annual Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day parade in Montreal, rioting Quebec sovereignists threw rocks and bottles at the grandstand where Trudeau was seated, chanting "Trudeau au poteau! Rejecting the pleas of his aides that he take cover, Trudeau stayed in his seat, facing the rioters, without any sign of fear.
The image of the defiant Prime Minister impressed the public, and he handily won the election the next day. Trudeau's first government implemented many procedural reforms to make Parliament and the Liberal caucus meetings run more efficiently, significantly expanded the size and role of the Prime Minister's office,  and substantially expanded the welfare state,   with the establishment of new programmes. Trudeau's first major legislative push was implementing the majority of recommendations of Pearson's Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism via the Official Languages Act , which made French and English the co-equal official languages of the federal government.
This statement recognized that while Canada was a country of two official languages, it recognized a plurality of cultures — "a multicultural policy within a bilingual framework". Trudeau, with the acquiescence of Premier of Quebec Robert Bourassa , responded by invoking the War Measures Act which gave the government sweeping powers of arrest and detention without trial. Trudeau presented a determined public stance during the crisis, answering the question of how far he would go to stop the violence by saying " Just watch me ".
Laporte was found dead on October 17 in the trunk of a car. The cause of his death is still debated. Although this response is still controversial and was opposed at the time as excessive by parliamentarians like Tommy Douglas and David Lewis , it was met with only limited objections from the public. After consultations with the provincial premiers, Trudeau agreed to attend a conference called by British Columbia Premier W.
Bennett to attempt to finally patriate the Canadian constitution. He established Canadian diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China, before the United States did, and went on an official visit to Beijing. He was known as a friend of Fidel Castro , the leader of Cuba. Trudeau was the first world leader to meet John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono on their "tour for world peace ". Lennon said, after talking with Trudeau for 50 minutes, that Trudeau was "a beautiful person" and that "if all politicians were like Pierre Trudeau, there would be world peace".
In the federal election of , the Liberals won a minority government, with the New Democratic Party led by David Lewis holding the balance of power. Requiring NDP support to continue, the government would move to the political left, including the creation of Petro-Canada. In May the House of Commons passed a motion of no confidence in the Trudeau government, defeating its budget bill after Trudeau intentionally antagonized Stanfield and Lewis.
Stanfield proposed the immediate introduction of wage and price controls to help end the increasing inflation Canada was currently facing. Trudeau mocked the proposal, saying to a newspaper reporter that it was the equivalent of a magician saying "Zap!
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You're frozen", and instead promoted a variety of small tax cuts to curb inflation. The Liberals were re-elected with a majority government with of the seats, prompting Stanfield's retirement. The Liberals won no seats in Alberta, though, where Peter Lougheed was a vociferous opponent of Trudeau's budget. While popular with the electorate, Trudeau's promised minor reforms had little effect on the growing rate of inflation, and he struggled with conflicting advice on the crisis. The breadth of the legislation, which touched on many powers traditionally considered the purview of the provinces, prompted a Supreme Court reference that only upheld the legislation as an emergency requiring Federal intervention under the British North America Act.
During the annual Christmas interview with CTV , Trudeau discussed the economy, citing market failures and stating that more state intervention would be necessary. However, the academic wording and hypothetical solutions posed during the complex discussion led much of the public to believe he had declared capitalism itself a failure, creating a lasting distrust among increasingly neoliberal business leaders. Trudeau continued his attempts at increasing Canada's international profile, including joining the G7 group of major economic powers in at the behest of U.
President Gerald Ford. Trudeau faced increasing challenges in Quebec, starting with bitter relations with Bourassa and his Liberal government in Quebec. After a rise in the polls after the rejection of the Victoria Charter, the Quebec Liberals had taken a more confrontational approach with the Federal government on the constitution, French language laws , and the language of air traffic control in Quebec.
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The PQ had chiefly campaigned on a "good government" platform, but promised a referendum on independence to be held within their first mandate. While Trudeau claimed to welcome the "clarity" provided by the PQ victory, the unexpected rise of the sovereignist movement became, in his view, his biggest challenge. As the PQ began to take power, Trudeau faced the prolonged failure of his marriage, which was covered in lurid detail on a day-by-day basis by the English language press. Trudeau's reserve was seen as dignified by contemporaries and his poll numbers actually rose during the height of coverage,  but aides felt the personal tensions left him uncharacteristically emotional and prone to outbursts.
In , Trudeau, succumbing to pressure from the Communist Chinese, issued an order barring Taiwan from participating as China in the Montreal Olympics , although technically it was a matter for the IOC. As the s wore on, growing public exhaustion towards Trudeau's personality and the country's constitutional debates caused his poll numbers to fall rapidly in the late s. After a series of defeats in by-elections in , Trudeau waited as long as he could to call a statutory general election in He finally did so in , only two months from the five-year limit provided under the British North America Act.
Relations deteriorated on many points in the Nixon years —74 , including trade disputes, defence agreements, energy, fishing, the environment, cultural imperialism, and foreign policy. They changed for the better when Trudeau and President Jimmy Carter found a better rapport. The late s saw a more sympathetic American attitude toward Canadian political and economic needs, the pardoning of draft evaders who had moved to Canada, and the passing of old sore points such as Watergate and the Vietnam War.