Americans headed toward the unfettered rights of the individual and Canadians stuck to the peace, order and good government model. I have simplified it here as we know, Canada has made some big mistakes, one being that aboriginal Canadians did not have a vote until 1960.
The march toward entrenchment of human rights in our country moved forward with the bill of rights passed by Parliament in the early 1960's. At the same time Americans much divided as they find themselves today elected John F. Kennedy.
Kennedy in many ways made Americans feel good about their efforts to establish and or enforce human rights. Who knows what would have happened had JFK or his brother Bobby been able to serve longer. Canada elected in 1968 our own version of celebrity, Pierre Elliot Trudeau. He was dynamic, smart, good looking and created a vibe that changed our country forever.
Trudeau as Justice Minister said the State had no business in the Nations bedrooms. He brought in changes to the laws governing our personal affairs that made divorce, abortion and homosexual sex legal.
Trudeau was a man that saw Canada could be a just society. It has not been easy, but that just society is showing good signs of being alive and well. In 1982 Trudeau brought together the provinces and the government of Canada to make the most sweeping change our country has seen. The charter of rights and freedoms was established and constitutionally entrenched.
The charter is a living document, unlike other written words, the charter is permitted to evolve on its own, without the assistance of Parliament, yet uniquely, it can be guided by legislation. Pierre Trudeau has assured us long after he left office that the "just society" he envisioned would be.
"…for those of us who were there when Pierre Trudeau was prime minister it was the magic of the man that is etched and cherished in the mind's eye. We embraced his diamond-sharp intellect, his irreverence, and the style of his leadership and life.
"For the better he changed us as a nation."
- Toronto Star Editorial on Trudeau's 80th birthday October 18, 1999