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Essay about Pierre Elliott Trudeaus War Measures Act Statement

Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s War Measures Act Statement Pierre Elliott Trudeau served as the 15th Prime Minister of Canada, from 1968–1979 and 1980–1984. His charismatic personality dominated the Canadian political scene, one that had never been witnessed before. On October 5th, 1970, British trade commissioner, James Cross was kidnapped in Montreal by members of a terrorist group called, the Front de Liberation du Quebec or FLQ (The Canadian Encyclopedia).

Soon after, provincial cabinet minister Pierre Laporte was kidnapped. This crisis led Prime Minister Trudeau, on October 16th, 1970, to eclare through a televised broadcast, the only invocation of the War Measures Act during a time of peace in Canadian history. The War Measures Act gives sweeping powers to the Canadian Government and also suspends the operation of the Canadian Bill of Rights (The Canadian Encyclopedia).

Even though the act is considered to be a violation of privacy and other fundamental rights, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau uses clear, precise diction, Aristotelian appeals and repetition to convince his audience that the War Measures Act is a necessary action to protect the lives f Canadian citizens, specifically from the Province of Quebec. The author uses clear, precise diction to reveal the meaning to the audience rather than to conceal it in order to justify his actions.

Prime Minister Trudeau begins his explanation of the crisis early in his speech saying: “Because the kidnappings and the blackmail are most familiar to you, I shall deal with them first” (Trudeau par. 5). Prime Minister Trudeau is open and does not lie to his audience. He uses simple language to allow further and deeper comprehension of the current situation as well as to upport his purpose to persuade the Canadian people who do not agree with him.

Rhetorical devices such as euphemisms could have easily been used to conceal the true details of the tragedies that occurred but instead, the Prime Minister is precise and directly acknowledges how the proclamation of the War Measures Act is a serious action. He does not try and hide behind fancy words and false hope, allowing him to be trusted and taken more seriously by his audience. During his speech, Prime Minister Trudeau also explains all the planning that was involved in the implementation of the War Measures Act.

He explains that, “during the past 12 days, the government of Canada and Quebec have been engaged in constant consultations” (Trudeau par. 17) and that the government “decided to proclaim the War Measures Act at 4:00 a. m. this morning” (Trudeau par. 21). This explanation allows the audience to observe all the effort, deliberation and hard work that was placed into the decision making process. Prime Minister Trudeau’s sentences are not composed of complicated syntax and do not contain difficult words.

The simplicity of his explanations help the Canadian citizens accept their leaders’ ctions and give them justification for the invocation of the War Measures Act. Secondly, the author uses the Aristotelian appeals, pathos, to evoke an emotional connection with his audience and logos, to factually prove the importance of his actions. When speaking about the two kidnapped victims, James Cross and Pierre Laporte, Prime Minister Trudeau uses pathos saying: “To the victims’ families they are husbands and fathers. To the kidnappers their identity is immaterial” (Trudeau par. ).

This appeals to the close ties between the victims and their amilies, which allows the people in the audience to relate this experience to their own family members. They begin to imagine a scenario in which these actions could have occurred to someone in their own lives. Also, using words such as: “two innocent men” (Trudeau par. 1), “in their grip you or me, or perhaps some child” (Trudeau par. 7) and “the nightmare to which they (the wives) have been subjected” (Trudeau par. 17) further enhances an emotional response from the audience.

It convinces them that the actions being taken by the Canadian Government are for the good and are only occurring to help hese innocent people and their families. Prime Minister Trudeau also uses the Aristotelian appeal logos to persuade his audience with logic and reason. He begins to describe all the kidnappers’ demands, in return for the two men: “they want their grievances aired by force in public” (Trudeau par. 8), “They also want money. Ransom money” (Trudeau par. 10) and lastly, “they demand the release from prison 17 criminals and the dropping of charges against 6 other men” (Trudeau par. 1).

Stating all these demands shows concrete evidence to the audience of the severity of the situation. These statements allow the audience to realize that the terrorists’ actions are being taken extremely seriously and that the War Measures Act is being implicated to solve a very pressing problem. These appeals both try to further convince the audience that the Prime Minister and his government are making the best decisions for the safety of Canadian citizens as well as to combat the crimes being committed by the members of the FLQ.

Lastly, Prime Minister Trudeau uses repetition of keywords and phrases throughout his speech to promote clarity, evoke hope and to ncourage the audience’s acceptance of the invocation of the War Measures Act. The use of the word society is repeated on numerous occasions, such as: “I am confident that those persons who unleashed this tragic sequence of events with the aim of destroying our society and dividing our country will find that the opposite will occur.

The result of their acts will be a stronger society in a unified country” (Trudeau par. 37). The repetition of the particular word in this statement demonstrates the unity of the country and how the entire Canadian population should stand together against the terrorists. This, “democratic society” (Trudeau par. 4), one that cannot be destroyed, provides hope to the audience and allows them to further comprehend the extent to which agreeing and supporting the government’s actions is important.

When the Prime Minister repeats the word society, he is trying to evoke a feeling of unity and is also trying to bring together a country that might disagree with him. The repetition allows him to try and convince the citizens that he is prioritizing their best intentions and that the War Measures Act is the correct solution. The word overnment is also repeated over 30 times, to describe to the audience what the authorities are doing as well as to show that the Canadian government is trying to help its own citizens.

Pierre Trudeau uses this word in statements such as, “the government promises unceasing pursuit of those responsible” (Trudeau par. 16), “This government is not acting out of fear. It is acting to prevent fear from spreading” (Trudeau par. 34) and that “Everything that needs to be done is being done; every level of government in this country is well prepared to act in your interests” (Trudeau par. 8). The use of this word shows that the government is doing everything in it’s power to help the people of Canada but that it ultimately has all the control and makes the final decisions.

The repetition of this word asserts dominance while still appealing to Canadian citizens and helping to diminish their fears. The October Crisis is an event that has forever changed the Canadian government and its people. The declaration of the War Measures Act by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau is a safety precaution that was implemented to try and protect the lives of millions of Canadian citizens. The Prime Minister uses clear, precise diction, Aristotelian appeals and repetition, to gain support from his audience for the invocation of the War Measures Act.

The proclamation of the act has, to this day, tremendous impact on Canada. It has caused the implementation of stricter laws and increased the importance of protection from terrorist acts. Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s televised statement convinced many people across the country to support him, made them feel safe from violence, gave them hope, and inspired them to be brave, which are the ultimate successes any good leader wants to achieve.

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