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 →

John Diefenbaker, a new national policy, 1957

John Diefenbaker, Canada’s 13th prime minister died this month in 1979. He was one of Canada’s finest political orators and election campaigners. He became leader of the Progressive Conservatives in 1956, and six months later the governing Liberals called an election. A young economist named Merril Menzies sent Diefenbaker a series of memos proposing a... Continue Reading →

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