Unity, Diversity and Justice

a virtual exhibition from the Diefenbaker Center Canada

Coming of Age

Coming of Age

"We must now establish the basic principles, the basic values and beliefs which hold us together as Canadians so that beyond our regional loyalties there is a way of life and a system of values which make us proud of the country that has given us freedom and such immeasurable joy."

(Pierre Elliot Trudeau)

In 1980, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, Canada’s 15th Prime Minister, began working on a charter of rights and freedoms. His design built upon the foundations laid down in Diefenbaker’s Bill of Rights. Between 1980 and 1982, Trudeau’s government solicited Canadians for feedback on what they wanted to include in a charter. From the thousands of submissions a special committee received, one hundred twenty-three recommendations were presented to the government — the final Charter contains over half of these. In addition to identifying and defending individual rights, the Charter aspires to promote national values as a counterbalance to regional or sectional loyalties.

In 1982, twenty-two years after the Bill was ratified, Trudeau introduced the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

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