The History of Canada Series - The Last Act: Pierre Trudeau | Penguin Random House Canada

The History of Canada Series - The Last Act: Pierre Trudeau

The Gang Of Eight And The Fight For Canada

Publisher: Penguin Canada
In November 1981, in what has been called the most important conference since the Fathers of Confederation got together in Quebec City in 1864, Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau met behind closed doors in Ottawa with the ten premiers. It was the culmination of more than five decades of political wrangling, one last attempt to renew the constitution with the consent of the provinces. Given the threat of Quebec independence, the ambitions of Western Canada, and the provinces’ demands for more power, failure seemed the most likely result. But Trudeau was determined to make Canadians fully independent and to entrench a Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

What happened that day still reverberates. It severed the last important link to Canada’s colonial past. It guaranteed individual liberty and minority rights in the future. It gave ownership of the constitution to Canadians. But it came at a price.

In The Last Act, Ron Graham delivers a vivid account of the fractious debates and secret negotiations, based on newly uncovered documents and the candid recollections of many of the key participants.



Alberta also stepped forward to take Quebec ’s side in combating Ottawa. Politics has seldom seen stranger bedfellows than the stiff conservative from Calgary and the slovenly social democrat from the Gaspé. Circumstances made them as tight as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. They had a...

Read More


"A spirited and judicious account ... Ron Graham is ... one of the finest long-form journalists of his generation." - The Globe and Mail

“Gripping ... authoritative ... a superb job ... a fine work of scholarship that is also a wonderful read for anyone interested in understanding the political forces in play during those turbulent four days.” - Literary Review of Canada