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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

The Constant Liberal

Pierre Trudeau, Organized Labour, and the Canadian Social Democratic Left

Pierre Elliott Trudeau – radical progressive or unavowed socialist? His legacy remains divisive. The Constant Liberal traces the charismatic politician’s relationship with the left and labour movements throughout his career. Christo Aivalis argues that Trudeau was in fact a consistently classic liberal, driven by individualist and capitalist principles. This comprehensive analysis showcases the interplay between liberalism and democratic socialism that defined Trudeau’s world view – and shaped his use of power. The Constant Liberal suggests that Trudeau’s leftist activity was less a call for social democracy than a warning to fellow liberals that lack of reform could undermine liberal-capitalist social relations.

292 pages

Table of Contents


1 Trudeau, Socialism, and the CCF, 1945–58

2 Trudeau, Organized Labour, and Liberal Democratic Society, 1945–58

3 The Rassemblement, the UFD, and the New Party, 1956–61

4 Trudeau, the Liberals, and the NDP, 1960–68

5 The Limits of Trudeau’s Tax Reform and Poverty Reduction

6 FIRA, the NEP, and Economic Democracy

7 Inflation and Wage and Price Controls

8 The New Society, Tripartism, and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Conclusion: Trudeau’s Legacy and Life after Politics

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