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 →

Joseph Gosnell, 1998, Nisga’a Treaty

The Nisga’a have lived in what is now northwest British Columbia since time immemorial. They never signed a treaty or ceded their territory, but the province denied that Aboriginal title ever existed. The stalemate lasted for more than a century until in 1973 the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Aboriginal title did exist, had... Continue Reading →

Aaron Sapiro, Prairie wheat pools, August 1923

By the early 1900s Western Canadian farmers believed they were being exploited by private grain companies. Aaron Sapiro, an American lawyer from California, had helped to set up marketing cooperatives among farmers in the US.  In 1923, he did a speaking tour in the Prairies promoting cooperatives as a vehicle for farmers to buy and... Continue Reading →

Wilfrid Laurier, Canada’s century, 1904

Wilfrid  Laurier was campaigning for reelection when he made the following speech before a packed house in Toronto’s Massey Hall on 14 October 1904. The speech, while not one of his best, was vintage Laurier -- suave, playing to the audience, and discreetly undermining his political opponents. Near its end, he provided his grand vision... Continue Reading →

Dr. Norman Bethune, Spanish civil war, 1937

Dr. Norman Bethune left his medical practice in Montreal in 1936 to join the Republican forces fighting the fascists under General Franco in Spain. There Dr. Bethune pioneered a portable blood transfusion unit that was used at or near the front and it saved thousands of lives. In 1937, he was asked by the Republicans... Continue Reading →

Thomas Homer-Dixon, system failure, 2002

Thomas Homer-Dixon is a professor in the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo, Ontario. His research, writing and speaking is focused on threats to global security including economic instability, climate change, and energy scarcity. He believes that human society and ecological systems are under multiple stresses occurring at a rate that is too... Continue Reading →

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