Canada's new maple leaf flag was adopted in late 1964 after months of bitter political debate between Prime Minister Lester Pearson and Here is Diefenbaker's speech, which followed that of Pearson to kick off the flag debate in June 1964.
Lester Pearson on a new flag, 1964
Canada's new maple leaf flag was adopted in late 1964 after months of bitter political debate between Prime Minister Lester Pearson and Opposition leader John Diefenbaker. Here is Pearson's speech to launch the flag debate in June 1964.
Preston Manning, farewell, January 2001
Preston Manning founded the Reform Party of Canada in 1987. The party was reorganized as the Canadian Alliance in 2000. Manning lost the leadership contest to Stockwell Day but remained in parliament until his retirement in January 2002. This is his farewell speech.
Henri Bourassa, Francophone rights, 1905
Quebec politician Henri Bourassa was angered in 1905 when when it was proposed that existing French language rights should not be applied to the new provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta. He made this speech in the House of Commons.
Agnes Macphail, agrarian populism, 1928
In 1921, Agnes Macphail became the first woman elected to the House of Commons. She represented the United Farmers of Ontario, an agrarian populist group which refused to become a political party or to ally with any of the existing ones. Macphail believed that agriculture was the economic bedrock of the country but that farmers... Continue Reading →
Tommy Douglas, October crisis, 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 the government had enough powers to... 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 →
Jean Chrétien, trade tower attacks, September 2001
On September 11, 2001 terrorists crashed two hijacked jetliners into the twin World Trade Center Towers in New York City. On September 17, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien was the first of many MPs to speak in the Canadian House of Commons to a motion of condolence to the families of victims and to the American people.
John Turner, Brian Mulroney debate free trade, Oct. 1988
The mother of all election debates occurred in 1988 over free trade between Canada and the US. Brian Mulroney had defeated John Turner and the Liberals in the 1984 election. Mulroney scored a coup in the televised debate that year by attacking Turner for making a series of patronage appointments left him by the departing... Continue Reading →
J. S. Woodsworth, no to war with Germany, Sept., 1939
James Shaver Woodsworth had an almost prophetic status among members of his CCF caucus and party. Woodsworth was also a pacifist. When Hitler invaded Poland on September 1, 1939 and it became obvious that Canada would likely soon be at war, the caucus held a wrenching internal discussion in which most members disagreed with Woodsworth,... Continue Reading →