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 →

Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech

While this website highlights Canadian speeches and rhetoric, this posting commemorates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., one of history’s great orators, who was murdered fifty years ago, on April 4, 1968. King was the son of an American Baptist minister and he, too, became a minister in Montgomery, Alabama. Inspired by Scripture and Mahatma Gandhi,... Continue Reading →

Romeo Saganash on Indigenous rights, 2017

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted in 2007. Its recurring theme is that Indigenous peoples have the right to dignity and self-determination, and that no actions regarding their persons or lands should be taken without their “free, prior and informed consent.” Canada became a signatory in 2014, but the... Continue Reading →

Nellie McClung on women and the vote, January 1914

Activist Nellie McClung was prominent among those advocating for women to get the vote in Manitoba. When she and others met with Premier Rodmond Roblin in 1914, he flatly refused their request. The following evening that meeting was turned into a piece of guerrilla theatre. McClung played the premier’s role and mimicked his inflated rhetoric in a... Continue Reading →

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