Pierre Trudeau, no to Quebec sovereignty, 1980

Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau Early in 1980, Premier René Lévesque and the Parti Quebecois launched a referendum on sovereignty association. Lévesque wanted voters to say yes to a sovereign Quebec that would form a commercial and trade association with the rest of Canada. Trudeau made only three campaign appearances, his last in the crowded, steaming... Continue Reading →

Stephen Lewis and HIV/AIDS, 2002

Stephen Lewis is a consummate speaker who rarely uses scripts or even notes. A politician earlier in life, he later served as Canada’s ambassador to the UN, and later still as the UN’s unofficial ambassador to combat the spread of HIV/Aids in Africa. He gave this speech to a citizens’ forum in Calgary during the... Continue Reading →

Joe Clark, community of communities, 1979

Joe Clark Joe Clark had been involved in Progressive Conservative politics since childhood, and he won party leadership in 1976. He proposed a federation much more decentralized than that of Pierre Trudeau. Clark defined his concept of Canada as a “community of communities” in this speech during the federal election campaign in April 1979. “We... Continue Reading →

René Lévesque, Quebec sovereignty, 1980

René Lévesque The separatist Parti Quebecois won the 1976 election on a platform of Quebec sovereignty. Premier René Lévesque soon announced that there would be a referendum on sovereignty association in May 1980. He made this major speech in the Quebec Assembly on March 4, 1980. “The time has come to choose the path to... Continue Reading →

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 →

Nelson Mandela thanks Canada, 1998

Nelson Mandela 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... Continue Reading →

Muriel Kitagawa on Japanese internment, 1945

Muriel Kitagawa 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... Continue Reading →

Moses Coady on economic equality, 1950

Rev. Moses Coady 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... Continue Reading →

William Aberhart on Social Credit, 1934

William Aberhart 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... Continue Reading →

Shirley Carr on unions, 1986

Shirley Carr, CLC 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,... Continue Reading →

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑