Opinion: Trudeau and Bill 101

How many think Abraham Lincoln, who freed the slaves, was a Democrat? How many think that Pierre Trudeau, who gave us a charter of rights, opposed Bill 101?

As we hear about Justin Trudeau’s new-found preoccupation with strengthening French in Quebec, many point out that his support for Bill 101 is a case of unlike father, unlike son. Well, as President-elect Joe Biden might say: here’s the deal. Visiting France in 1970, two years after his first election, and six years before Quebec elected its first separatist government, Pierre Trudeau stated: the day French and English are equal in Quebec is the day French is finished (“foutu”). When, in 1974, Liberal Premier Robert Bourassa’s Bill 22 made French the official language of Quebec for the first time, Trudeau’s sole objection was to the word “official”, because it embarrassed him in places like British Columbia, where he was hawking his wares under the federal Official Languages Act.

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