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category: Political Science
published: May 2018
publisher: UBC Press

The Constant Liberal

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

by Christo Aivalis

tagged: history & theory, labor & industrial relations, post-confederation (1867-)

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.

About the Author

Christo Aivalis

Contributor Notes

Christo Aivalis is a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council postdoctoral fellow in the Department of History at the University of Toronto. His work has appeared in the Canadian Historical Review, Labour/Le Travail, Our Times, Canadian Dimension, and Active History. He is currently working on a biography of Canadian labour leader A.R. Mosher.

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