Diefenbaker and Trudeau, Press Gallery Dinner, 1975.

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms was entrenched in the Constitution of Canada in 1982, by Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau’s Liberal government. TheCharter was designed to embody the elements previously outlined in theCanadian Bill of Rights. While the Bill was a limited federal statute, the Charter’seffectiveness lay in its being a component of the Canadian Constitution. It therefore had jurisdiction over all Canadian legislation. Although the Charter was not created during Diefenbaker's Prime Ministerial term in office, it exemplifies Diefenbaker's ideals.

"In every province we are fighting to preserve a great and precious country. The most effective weapon we have is understanding. Debates, common task forces, language programs, constitutional proposals – all these will be to little avail unless we have the ability to summon understanding and generosity towards each other’s aspirations as individuals, as members of cultural and regional communities, and as Canadians."

(Pierre Elliot Trudeau, The Report, “Let’s Hear It From the People!” Survey)

“…[No] other prime minster… did more for the cause of fairness and equality and inclusion. [Diefenbaker’s] Bill of Rights… preceded the Charter of Rights by over two decades. He extended the vote long denied to Status Indians, and appointed Canada’s first female Cabinet minister. Moreover, like Macdonald and Borden, he was a vigorous defender of Canadian sovereignty.”

(The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, “Son of the Chief,” National Post, 6 March 2007)

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Saskatoon, March 2010