Speeches That Changed Canada, history from the podium

In Speeches That Changed Canada author and former MP Dennis Gruending has created a book that will be of interest to anyone who loves Canadian history, politics, literature and rhetoric. The book, released in April 2018 by Fitzhenry and Whiteside, will also be useful as a source and guide for teachers and students, and for... Continue Reading →

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Agnes Macphail on women’s equality, 1925, 1930

Agnes Macphail was the first woman elected to Canada’s House of Commons, and after taking her seat early in 1922 she encountered many taunts and inappropriate treatment. Undaunted, she demanded the full equality of women. These are brief excerpts from speeches Macphail made in the House of Commons regarding existing divorce laws. "I want for... Continue Reading →

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Roy Romanow on Medicare, 2002

Roy Romanow, Medicare Commissioner Former Saskatchewan Premier Roy Romanow was appointed by Prime Minister Jean Chretien in 2001 to lead a one-man royal commission into health care in Canada. Romanow had been a youthful confidant of Saskatchewan premier Tommy Douglas, whose government introduced Canada’s first public, tax-financed, medical care insurance plan. After eighteen months of... Continue Reading →

Shirley Carr on unions, 1986

Shirley Carr, CLC Shirley Carr was the first woman to lead the Canadian Labour Congress. She could be blunt,as indicated in this speech made to a Canadian Club audience in 1986, shortly after her becoming CLC president. Employers and governments, she said, must recognize that unions are legitimate representatives of the interests of working people,... Continue Reading →

Jacques Parizeau, Quebec referendum, 1995

Jacques Parizeau, Quebec referendum Early in the 1995 referendum campaign on Quebec sovereignty, it appeared that the federalist NO side would win easily. But on October 30, the NO side won by a razor thin majority with 50.6 per cent of the vote. Premier Jacque Parizeau created controversy in his concession speech by blaming the... Continue Reading →

Jean Chretien, Quebec referendum, 1995

The Parti Quebecois called a sovereignty referendum for October 1995, and polls indicated the PQ might win. Belatedly, Prime Minister Jean Chretien joined the fray, and on October 25 he made this televised address to Canadians. He played on love of country, and the serious economic consequences for Quebec if it chose to separate. Prime... Continue Reading →

Tommy Douglas, October crisis, 1970

NDP leader Tommy Douglas, circa 1970 Most Canadians supported Pierre Trudeau when he implemented the War Measures Act in October 1970, and an overwhelming majority of MPs supported him as well. But NDP leader Tommy Douglas and most of his caucus were opposed. Douglas said he was appalled by the kidnappings, but he believed that... Continue Reading →

Pierre Trudeau, October crisis, 1970

In October 1970, the Front de Libération du Quebec, a separatist group, kidnapped Pierre Laporte, the province’s labour minister, and James Cross, a British diplomat. Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau invoked the War Measures Act. On 16 October 1970, a sombre Trudeau appeared on national television to explain and defend his decision to citizens of the... Continue Reading →

Mary Eberts, Persons Case anniversary, 1990

Mary Eberts, the Persons Case. Lawyer and legal scholar Mary Eberts was a founder of LEAF ( Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund). The organization was created in 1985 to ensure Canadian courts protect the equality provisions Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. LEAF has often appeared in courts to advance equality for women and... Continue Reading →

Paul Martin, hell or high water budget 1995

Paul Martin became the Liberal government's finance minister in 1993 and was soon convinced that Canada’s deficit and debt were unmanageable. On February 27, 1995, he introduced a budget that chopped social programs, unemployment insurance, and transfers to the provinces for health care, education, and social assistance. The battle for public opinion was fierce. Martin... Continue Reading →

Lionel Groulx, no to bilingualism, 1943

Abbé Lionel Groulx was a priest, an historian and a leading Quebec intellectual until his death in 1967. He was described by some as the spiritual father of Quebec and by others as a messianic nationalist. Groulx preferred isolation to closer French-English relations and was opposed to bilingualism. He gave this speech in Montreal in... Continue Reading →

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