What more can be said about Pierre Elliott Trudeau that hasn’t already been written in the 40-odd books on him available on Amazon? According to C. Gwendolyn Landolt and Patrick Redmond -- authors of Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s Great Betrayal: The Story of Abortion in Canada – plenty. Obsessed with getting the Charter passed as the main part of a new, repatriated constitution for the country, Trudeau was tireless and aggressive in designing the foundational document he wanted, one that would both enshrine Canadians’ individual rights -- to be defended by the newly empowered courts -- and still preserve the supremacy of Parliament. That this goal was impossible and contradictory never seemed to bother him, as he insistently and arrogantly pursued his dream, ignoring strenuous and reasonable arguments. But Trudeau’s truculence and discourteousness are not revelations.
What the authors convey, for the first time in one convenient manuscript, is how he and some of his Liberal cabinet colleagues deliberately deceived influential Canadian leaders, many of whom were fooled into thinking that somehow the unborn could be protected under the new constitutional system, and that somehow abortion, already legal for more than a decade, could possibly be further restricted or rescinded. After all, the Supreme Court would remain subordinate to the federal legislature, and consequently abortion on demand and other secular revolutionary institutions would not directly result from the Constitution Act, 1982. These feckless leaders were reassured over and over again that Parliament would retain its supremacy after patriation. Instead, in their role as Charter adjudicators, the courts arguably became the most powerful branch of the Canadian government, in practice if not in political theory.
Indeed, according to the authors, such judicial authority has made this country a secular wonderland playground, opening the door to official Canada embracing, in just under four decades, a host of unprecedented anti-society policies and practices. These include not only gay marriage and euthanasia, both introduced after a recent parliamentary resolution and a Supreme Court decision, respectively, contradicting the exact same questions. Other destructive innovations include prostitution, medical marijuana, so-called safe-injection sites -- in communities that don’t want them – as well as, most horrendously, nation-wide publicly-funded abortion, permissible long past survivability, up to and including the day of birth.
The 217-page book, put out by the Toronto-based Interim Publishing Company in 2017, is really more of an academic report than a page turner. It tells a significant story of how this constitutional revolution was set up to come about, how Canada’s top politicians manipulated and deceived their way into getting the Charter. It seems like virtually everyone important in official Ottawa – including Trudeau, his cabinet, Supreme Court Chief Justice Bora Laskin, justice department lawyers, newspaper editors, professional organizations, and unconvinced or unconcerned Catholic clergy – collaborated to get the Charter passed.
In Betrayal, Redmond and Landolt analyze Charter history during her time as legal counsel for Campaign Life, demonstrating her profound understanding of the critical issues that lay ahead. Reproduced in the book are many of her eloquent, prescient 40-year-old letters railing against an “entrenched Bill of Rights, which is in sharp departure from the British Parliamentary tradition…. There would appear to be a somewhat curious inertia on the part of many Canadians on the proposed” new constitution. She explains this as a lack of awareness “of the tremendous implications that an entrenched Charter will have on their lives.” Indeed, in 1981, few opponents predicted what Landolt saw: “The most important effect of an entrenched Charter of Rights would be that it would give rise to a shift in power from Parliament, which is subject to public opinion, to the Supreme Court of Canada, which is not. This shift in power would open the door to a wide list of areas in which, for the first time, the judiciary, rather that the legislature, will have the final say.”
Like so many – maybe all – of the public and righteous battles in Landolt’s career, this one was doomed to fail. But nothing can stop her from fighting, particularly for the unborn. Soft spoken, unassuming, polite to a fault, and with an eternal bonfire fueled in her belly, this Canadian lawyer and anti-feminist cannot be dissuaded from her mission. After losing the Charter fight more than 35 years ago, she founded REAL Women, the only conservative women’s organization in Canada that is national, pro-life and pro-traditional family. Through this organization, Landolt -- and like-minded Canadian women -- have been constantly drumming socially conservative ideas into the public square, including by participating in dozens of legal cases in which a conservative voice would otherwise not be heard. Under her leadership, they have been supporting time-honoured moral behaviours, archetypical family values and religious freedoms.
REAL Women is only one of several groups that Landolt has co-founded – the others being Right to Life in Toronto and Campaign Life Canada, both also fiercely pro-life – but no doubt the first is the one she is now most famous for. Perhaps infamous is a better label, at least among the predominant female elites of Canada. She is a sharp thorn in their side, the side of the left wing, liberal media darlings – Status of Women Canada types -- who like to claim to speak on behalf of “the women of Canada.” In a Sun News interview about five years ago, now on You Tube, Landolt says: “If a man stood up and said he spoke for the men of Canada, he’d be laughed off the stage.”
What clearly bothers feminists so much about Landolt – happily married to a now-retired medical research scientist with whom she raised five well-adjusted, university-educated, productive children -- is that she manages a highly challenging and successful career that she started in a male-dominated industry at a time when the vast majority of professional women were becoming secretaries, teachers or nurses. “No feminists helped me,” she says in the Sun News interview, echoing the very words of Margaret Thatcher, another high achieving, pro-family leader determined to keep the world on the straight and narrow.
A graduate of the University of British Columbia, Landolt was called to the BC bar when probably under a dozen women were members in the entire province. In her varied career, she has worked as a prosecutor, as a private practitioner and as a federal government lawyer specializing in immigration law and aboriginal issues. A constitutional expert, she has appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada more than 20 times.
The other author of Great Betrayal, Patrick Redmond, has some unusual credentials. He received a BA in African history from Montreal’s Loyola College, then an MA in Swahili from Pittsburgh’s Duquesne University, and a PhD in African history from England’s University of London. After teaching university in the West Indies and Nigeria, he returned to Canada to work at IBM for 31 years. He joined the pro-life movement, including the York South Right to Life organization, of which he was president for many years. The author of three other books – including Irish Life in Rural Quebec: a History of Frampton -- Redmond entered politics as a candidate of the Family Coalition Party, running in three elections.
Now National Vice-President of Real Women of Canada --which stands for Realistic, Equal, Active and for Life -- Landolt’s impact within the organization is tremendous and unmatched, so much so that some REAL Women members worry what will happen to the group when she retires -- or expires, which is more likely to happen first. Though she is not credited with writing the group’s newsletter REALity -- which comes out six times a year and rarely shows a byline – its eight dense pages of honest, hard-hitting facts clearly reflect her immense legal and political knowledge and tireless work. REALity reports on all the significant issues of the day, everything from Parliamentary shenanigans, controversial legislation, evasive and clueless politicians and the liberal media, to the homosexual agenda, the ineffective, left-leaning United Nations, and even the growing problems in ultra-liberal Europe. REALity is the only lay magazine in Canada that will speak out bluntly on the medical and physical consequences associated with male homosexual relations.
If the italicized quotes are too frequent and too long, and the seemingly tangential details a bit too numerous – the book does after all begin with policies of the Catholic Church as far back as 1864 -- Betrayal is nevertheless an important addition to the collection of material revealing the late Pierre Trudeau’s true, unflattering and aggressive nature, his deceitful and callous personality.
This book, like almost all books reviewed on Lynne's Likes, is available on Amazon.ca