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

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 →

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 →

George Brown on Confederation, 1865

George Brown was the founder and editor of the Toronto Globe and leader of the Reform Party. Brown was a fierce opponent of John A Macdonald and the Conservatives and he advocated free trade and representation by population. Brown also believed that any close union with Lower Canada (Quebec) was an obstacle to the future... Continue Reading →

Chrystia Freeland on trade and democracy, June 2018

Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland was named “diplomat of the year” at a forum hosted by the Washington, D.C.-based Foreign Policy magazine in June 2018. In her acceptance speech, Freeland talked about both the strengths of democratic societies and the threats to them. She also defended a globalized, free-trade order against the protectionist measures being taken... Continue Reading →

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