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 government provided no legislative machinery to implement the declaration’s principles. MP Romeo Saganash, formerly an Indigenous leader from northern Quebec, drafted Bill C-262, which he says would ensure that Canada’s laws are consistent with the UN declaration. Saganash’s bill was debated in the House of Commons on December 5, 2017 and he spoke to it.
As Hitler attacked the Jews in the 1930s many of them sought refuge in other countries, including Canada. This country turned them away. That was deeply painful to A. A. Heaps, a CCF MP from Winnipeg, who rose to criticize the government’s inaction. Heaps was one of the few Jewish Members of Parliament.
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 mock speech which she made to a fictitious group of men appearing before women legislators asking for the right to vote.