Frédéric Bastien is a journalist, historian, and professor of history at Dawson College in Montreal. He holds BAs in history and political science from the University of Montreal and a PhD in international relations from the Institute of International Studies in Geneva. He lives in Montreal.
The Battle of London
A bestseller in Quebec that describes the horse-trading, intrigue and unrest behind Trudeau’s quest to repatriate the Constitution.
After the referendum in 1980, Pierre Elliott Trudeau turned his sights on repatriating the Constitution in an effort to make Canada fully independent from Britain. What should have been a simple process snowballed into a complicated intrigue.
Quebec, which thought its prerogatives would be threatened if the Constitution were repatriated, mounted a charm offensive, replete with fine dining and expensive wines in order to influence key British MPs. Not to be outdone, Canada’s native leaders, who felt betrayed by the British Crown, decided to enter the fray, determined to ensure that their cause would triumph. The English Labour Party had a view on the matter as well, which chiefly involved embarrassing Prime Minister Thatcher as thoroughly as possible.
Historian Frédéric Bastien describes with great flair how the maverick Trudeau and the uncompromising Thatcher entered into one of history’s most unlikely marriages of convenience in order to repatriate the Canadian Constitution.
Born in Montreal, Jacob has translated or collaborated in the translation of a number of works, including Hysteric, The Last Genêt, and The Weariness of the Self. In 2012, he won the JI Segal Translation Prize for his translation of A Pinch of Time. He splits his time between Montreal and Asia.