What were the main accomplishments of Pierre Trudeau when he was prime minister?
- Nancy CLv 71 decade agoBest Answer
The most dramatic event of his first government was the OCTOBER CRISIS of 1970, precipitated by the kidnapping of British diplomat James Cross and of Québec Cabinet minister Pierre LAPORTE by the terrorist FRONT DE LIBÉRATION DU QUÉBEC (FLQ). In response, Trudeau invoked the WAR MEASURES ACT, with its extraordinary powers of arrest, detention and censorship. Shortly after, Laporte was murdered by his abductors. Controversy over the appropriateness of these emergency measures and their effect on liberal democracy in Canada and Québec has continued to the present.
Less dramatic, but of lasting significance, was the OFFICIAL LANGUAGES ACT, a central feature of Trudeau's new federalism. At the same time, he began to improve the position of francophones in Ottawa. A growing antibilingual backlash in English Canada, however, was one result of these policies. Western Canada's growing alienation against a perceived lack of interest in western economic problems and in western perspectives on national issues also began in his first term.
Trudeau's last period in office as prime minister was eventful. His personal intervention in the 1980 QUÉBEC REFERENDUM campaign on SOVEREIGNTY-ASSOCIATION was significant. The defeat of the Parti Québécois's proposition was a milestone in his crusade against Québec separatism. In the wake of that victory, Trudeau pushed strongly for an accord on a new Canadian constitution.
Unable to gain provincial agreement, he introduced into Parliament a unilateral federal initiative to "patriate" the BNA Act to Canada with an amending formula and an entrenched CANADIAN CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS. There followed one of the epic federal-provincial battles of Canadian history, culminating in the final compromise and the proclamation of the CONSTITUTION ACT, 1982 on 17 April 1982.