History Slam Episode 119: Pierre Trudeau, the Constant Liberal

By Sean Graham

The 2015 election of Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party, along with the 50th anniversary of his father’s election as Liberal leader, has generated plenty of renewed interest in the life and career of Pierre Elliot Trudeau. The popular conception of the elder Trudeau has been that he is very much a leftist figure, a sentiment that is, partly, the product of his social policies. In economic and business, matters, however, the situation is more vague. This is where Christo Aivalis’ new book The Constant Liberal: Pierre Trudeau, Organized Labour, the Canadian Social Democratic Left comes in. Avalis argues that Trudeau was much less a left wing figure that is typically believed and, in fact, he was at odds with leftist economic beliefs.

In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with Christo about the book. We talk about the renewed interest in Pierre Trudeau, the difference between Liberal and liberal in Canadian political parlance, and Pierre’s social policies. We also talk about Canada’s economic structure, Pierre’s policies, and whether the electorate supports leftist reforms.Sean Graham is an editor with Activehistory.ca and Host/Producer of the History Slam Podcast.

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