The Trudeau Era

Trudeau was a new kind of leader for Canadians:
He was relaxed and had a sense of humour
He drove sports cars and dressed in t-shirts
He dated celebrities
He captured the imaginations of young
Canadians who treated him like a rock star!
This phenomenon was known as Trudeaumania.
What kind of Canada did Trudeau want?
He wanted to create a “Just Society”.
He believed that government had a duty to
Protect the rights and freedoms of people
Foster their economic and social well being
(guide and protect them)
He supported the idea of individual freedom.
Unfortunately for Trudeau, during his era Canada
faced a number of difficult challenges:
The Economy:
During the 1970’s, Canada’s economy went
into recession.
Cause: The 1973 OPEC Oil Embargo – This
meant that the countries of the Middle East were
not selling any oil to us.
Result: Oil prices jumped 400% within a few
Consequences: High cost of oil resulted in high
cost for manufactured goods – inflation.
Consequences of Inflation in the 1970s:
As products became more expensive, people
were not able to afford them.
Result: Businesses failed
Result: Increasing unemployment
Result: Less buying power for families
Consequence: Women had to go back into the
workforce and dual-income families became much
more common.
Economic problems also resulted in a second, very
important problem:
When Canada’s economy went into recession,
Ontario and Quebec did not suffer as much as
the other provinces.
At the same time, fishing collapsed in the
Atlantic Provinces and mining, fishing and forestry
also collapsed in BC.
This is known as regional disparity.
Result of Regional Disparity:
People in hard-hit provinces resented Quebec and
Ontario and felt as though they were being ignored
by the Canadian government.
In Western Canada, this feeling of being ignored
by Ottawa became known as Western Alienation.
This was a feeling that our government favoured
Ontario and Quebec at the expense of the western
Western Alienation was caused by the Oil Crisis:
When the price of oil went up 400%, one province
stood to make a huge profit: Alberta.
Trudeau thought that he needed to use Alberta’s
oil to make life easier for all Canadians.
Result: He froze the price of oil produced in
Canada, and he put a tax on all the oil that was
exported from Canada.
The money from this tax was then used to provide
more cheap oil for the factories of Ontario and
How did people in Western Canada and especially
Alberta feel about this?
They were FURIOUS!
How did Trudeau deal with unemployment and
regional disparity?
He increased transfer payments to the provinces
for social services (welfare, unemployment...).
He spent millions for work creation projects in poor
Result: All this spending helped people deal with
inflation and unemployment, but it also led to a new
Government Debt: A Growing Problem
Because of the recession, the government was
collecting less tax money, but it was spending more
money on social programs.
Result: It was spending more than it was earning.
This is called a deficit.
As the deficit grew every year, so did the debt of
the federal government.
By the time Trudeau left office in 1984, the debt
had frown to $160 billion!
Other Important Trudeau Economic Policies:
NEP (National Energy Policy)
FIRA (Foreign Investment Review Agency)

similar documents