Why is it that when you research Canadian Prime Ministers on the internet, or in a library, Pierre Elliot Trudeau's name appears more than any other? Why is that everyone knows his name? In short, what makes Trudeau, Canada's most famous Prime Minister? The fact is without the influence of Pierre Elliot Trudeau, it is likely that Canada and Quebec would currently be two separate countries. Pierre Eliot Trudeau was able to unify Canada through the implementation of the Official Languages Act, the implementation of the War Measures Act during the October Crisis and his devoted efforts against separatism during the Quebec referendum.
There have been many issues between Quebec and the rest of Canada over the years. Trudeau believed that bilingualism was the solution to national unity. Trudeau even stated, "The language of French Canadians was not being accorded equal treatment, a situation that could not be tolerated for long in the Just Society of which I dreamed." So in 1969 the Official Languages Act was passed. It respected both of Canada's official languages, English and French. This bill stated that anything federal must be bilingual, this included signs, federal services and federal court decisions. This also allowed civil servants to speak French at work and protected a francophone's rights to speak French anywhere in Canada. The Official Languages Act brought mixed reactions from Canadians. It was generally accepted in the east. Some English children even began taking French immersion. However the western provinces felt that French was being pushed upon them, and that it was too expensive. Some even thought that the government was secretly planning to turn Canada into an entirely French country, "Bilingual today, unilingually French tomorrow!" one anglophone journalist wrote. The western provinces had never been in favour of bilingualism, in Manitoba the 1870 French education guarantee had even been revoked in 1916. The implementation of this act...
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