Nelson Mandela thanks Canada, 1998

In February 1990, Nelson Mandela was released after 27 years in a South African prison. He was later to become president of that nation. He is also one of only five people ever to have been granted honourary Canadian citizenship. He first addressed the Canadian Parliament in 1990, not long after his release from prison.... Continue Reading →

Stephen Harper, residential schools apology, 2008

On June 11, 2008 Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized for the Canadian government’s removing Indigenous children from their parents and homes and placing them in residential schools. Also in 2008, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) began its work, documenting the history and lasting impact on students and their families, and telling that... Continue Reading →

Muriel Kitagawa on Japanese internment, 1945

During the second World War, the government considered Canadians of Japanese origin to be security risks. Beginning in 1942, the government forcibly moved 22,000 men, women and children away from coastal areas in British Columbia and interned them in camps in the interior. The Japanese had few public defenders as wartime opinion formed against them.... Continue Reading →

Moses Coady on economic equality, 1950

Moses Coady was a Roman Catholic priest who was born in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and lived there for most of his life. Coady taught at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish and chaired its department of extension. He was fervent believer in using adult education to encourage people to improve their lot by organizing... Continue Reading →

William Aberhart on Social Credit, 1934

The Great Depression dealt a cruel blow to Canada’s prairie provinces, which suffered a prolonged drought at the same time. Desperation led to agitation and a search for alternatives to the traditional parties. In Alberta, William Aberhart embraced the theories of social credit and used his radio show to promote the doctrine. In this speech... Continue Reading →

Roy Romanow on Medicare, 2002

Former Saskatchewan Premier Roy Romanow was appointed by Prime Minister Jean Chretien in 2001 to lead a one-man royal commission into health care in Canada. Romanow had been a youthful confidant of Saskatchewan premier Tommy Douglas, whose government introduced Canada’s first public, tax-financed, medical care insurance plan. After eighteen months of consultation and research, Romanow... Continue Reading →

Shirley Carr on unions, 1986

Shirley Carr was the first woman to lead the Canadian Labour Congress. She could be blunt,as indicated in this speech made to a Canadian Club audience in 1986, shortly after her becoming CLC president. Employers and governments, she said, must recognize that unions are legitimate representatives of the interests of working people, and should be... Continue Reading →

Jean Chretien, Quebec referendum, 1995

The Parti Quebecois called a sovereignty referendum for October 1995, and polls indicated the PQ might win. Belatedly, Prime Minister Jean Chretien joined the fray, and on October 25 he made this televised address to Canadians. He played on love of country, and the serious economic consequences for Quebec if it chose to separate. "What... 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 →

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