Pierre Trudeau and the Greek community
Greek Canadian Tribune, 03/12/1971, p.1. Article on Prime Minister Pierre Troudo's interest in Greek montreal.
Source: Greek-canadian press
Trudeau and the sense of belonging
A man explains how Pierre Trudeau’s policy influenced the life as well as the perceptions of the Greek immigrants towards the Canadian state.
P.Ν.: Trudeau with the rights, the human rights he implemented, he told you that “You, sir, are eh… an equal member in the society to whoever else has… to whoever else lives here in this… in this… this country”.
P.Ν.: Therefore you… eh… wait…
RES.: Good, let’s say… Before… before, what was in effect? What was going on before then? Before, let’s say, for those of you who weren’t… weren’t…
P.Ν.: Before, the Anglo-Saxons were those who had.
RES.: They had precedence?
P.Ν.: Precedence, sure!
RES.: What thing did they take precedence in, then?
P.Ν.: First of all they came here, they came here without application. They came and they could stay here. They had the… they must take the jobs first, particularly the government jobs and then the rest. You couldn’t find. In… in administration most people were Scottish and English.
RES.: That’s why there’s a […] right?
P.Ν.: Yes, when you went… when you went somewhere, they didn’t treat you like they treated their own, their own buddies who were. They considered you… they considered you a second, third class citizen. Trudeau made everybody first-class citizens.
RES.: The question, though, of a Greek who hasn’t lived over here is, alright! Trudeau did it, he passed the laws anyway.
P.Ν.: Yes, yes.
RES.: This now, how easy…? The Canadia… Did this begin to be implemented afterwards right away? That is…
P.Ν.: Yes, yes. He tells you “Sir, that you… you, you belong here, this is your country”.
RES.: The English…
P.Ν.: You’re not… you’re not an immigrant as they had been telling you that you are your whole life. You’re Canadian.
RES.: And did the Anglo-Saxon Canadians start implementing this normally then?
P.Ν.: Sure, yes.
RES.: There was no case they would… I don’t know… You understand that there is…
P.Ν.: No, because when you know your own human rights, you go and you confront him, “Eh, what are you saying to me here?”.
RES.: Ah, Trudeau then also gave you the right to be able to complain more… more emphatically.
P.Ν.: Sure! What to protest, what to… to ask from each one when you saw that he wronged you, your right. This employee isn’t giving you, you’d go… you’d go to his manager and you’d make the complaints afterwards or to… to that… to the representative who’s from the government.
RES.: Before Trudeau… before Trudeau this was much more difficult, right?
P.Ν.: It was very, very difficult.
RES.: Ah, very, very difficult?
P.Ν.: Yes. I’m telling you, he gave us the opportunity to say that we’re equal members in the community to everyone else.
P.Ν.: And this did good to Canada, because he tells you “Sir, when…”.
RES.: That’s what we want to include in the museum! Why did it do good to Canada that he made you equal? This! For everyone to hear!
P.Ν.: Because… because you feel that it’s your home. You feel that… that, that eh… you have your rights like the other citizen does and therefore you feel like you’re not being wronged.
RES.: Therefore you also strive more for Canada.
P.Ν.: Of course you strive! He tells you that I, my state, I’m going to support my state however I can. I’m here! I’m not leaving! I’m going to contribute in order to help this state and society. It’s good for the whole society.