By Thomas Peace

This post is a little late in coming, but hopefully it will be useful for those of us working in pre-twentieth century North American history or with online resources. About a year ago, I discovered that one of the most useful reference resources I use, Statistics Canada’s E-Stat tables of the Censuses of Canada, 1665-1871 had been removed from their website. Living in a country where the current federal government has a bit of a history mucking around with censuses and data collection (for good examples see here, here and here), the removal of this resource upset me. Why had I not heard about E-Stat’s impending demise? Where could I retrieve the valuable and accessible data formerly available for download through this website? And (of course) what type of subtle political purpose could be behind the removal of data from Canada’s early censuses?

Stats Can - 2014
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The Lethbridge Birth Control and Information Centre Photo

The Lethbridge Birth Control and Information Centre, 1974. 542 7th Street South, Lethbridge, Alberta. Photo courtesy of the Galt Museum and Archives, 19901067001.

By Karissa Patton, MA Student, University of Lethbridge

The struggle for reproductive rights and justice are often associated with women’s activisms of the past, specifically the activism of the late 1960s, the 1970s, and the 1980s, leading to the 1988 Supreme Court decision that fully decriminalized abortion in Canada.[1] Authors such as Catherine Redfern and Kristine Aune have highlighted a post-feminist argument that claims that feminism does not exist anymore or that feminism is no longer needed. This is based on the premise that we have achieved reproductive justice. With several birth control options widely available, the decriminalization of abortion, and sex education required by provincial curricula, those downplaying the relevance of feminism argue that victory was achieved in the fight for reproductive rights. This argument that we live in a “post feminist society” stems from a lack of understanding, or misunderstanding, of feminism and reproductive rights.[2] The misconception that reproductive rights have been achieved is concerning, as it encourages society to ignore the social barriers and the issues of access that remain prevalent today.

Technological and legal strides have been made since the 1960s and 1970s and yet social, economic and political barriers remain, or are reinvented, based on changing political contexts. Today, we are witnessing important similarities with the 1970s in the social barriers to education about sex, birth control, and abortion. Specifically, with the moral panic around youth’s sexuality, we have seen significant retrenchments in the adult control of sex, birth control, and abortion education.

While I use contemporary examples to illuminate a current need for reproductive rights and justice on a national scale, my research focuses on the history of reproductive rights activism in Southern Alberta during the 1960s and 1970s. Therefore, this essay examines one contemporary and one historical case study of adults’ attempts to control youth’s sexuality via youth’s access to sex education as well as birth control and abortion information. [click to continue…]


Abortion: The Unfinished Revolution comes to PEI because of unsafe abortion practices

July 24, 2014

Colleen MacQuarrie, Associate Professor and Chair Psychology Department, UPEI A surgical abortion is a simple 10-minute procedure that once was available to women on Prince Edward Island. In 1986, a strong anti-choice lobbying group shut down this service and for the past 28 years their actions have continued to deny women access to this health […]

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November 8, 1994

July 23, 2014

Jessica Shaw, PhD candidate, University of Calgary Abortion evokes strong political and emotional reactions, and tends to be framed around arguments of morality and legality. However, women have had and will continue to have abortions regardless of their morality, regardless of their legality, regardless of what the foetus may or may not be, and regardless […]

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Scientific Reasoning in the Canadian Anti-Abortion Movement

July 22, 2014

Katrina Ackerman, PhD Candidate, University of Waterloo Recent media coverage of an Alberta doctor’s refusal to prescribe birth control to walk-in clinic patients indicates the medical profession’s ongoing struggle to balance personal morality and professional ethics. Whether a doctor should be able to deny birth control prescriptions or abortion referrals based on moral or religious […]

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Abortion: The Unfinished Revolution Conference, August 7-8, 2014, Charlottetown, PEI

July 21, 2014

Dr. Shannon Stettner, Special Series Guest Editor It’s hard to study abortion without being an activist.  Reading about or hearing women’s experiences with unplanned pregnancies, past and present, and the challenges they encounter and overcome – or don’t – in their efforts to end those pregnancies is politicizing. When you study abortion experiences from the […]

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Podcast: 2014 CHA Annual Meeting Keynote Address by Ian McKay

July 18, 2014

Podcast: Play in new window | Download On May 26th, historian Ian McKay presented the keynote address of the 2014 Canadian Historical Association Annual Meeting, held in St. Catharines, Ontario. is pleased to feature a recording of his talk: “A Half-Century of Possessive Individualism: C.B. Macpherson and the Twenty-First Century Prospects of Liberalism”.

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History Slam Episode Forty-Seven: Sensationalism, the Donnelly Massacre, and Small-Town Canada

July 16, 2014

Podcast: Play in new window | Download By Sean Graham Factionalism tends to be viewed negatively – particularly when examined through a political lens – but for storytellers, factionalism can be a very effective tool. The conflict created by these factions has led to some of the best cultural material ever made. The Capulets and […]

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Urban Transformations: An Avenue For Academic Work in the Community

July 14, 2014

By Jay Young and Daniel Ross Toronto’s St. Clair Avenue West is an important transit and economic artery as well as the hub for several of the city’s most diverse and dynamic neighbourhoods. Historically it was a key east-west axis for development in Toronto northof Bloor Street, and today the street continues to grow and […]

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Situating War Resistance within Canadian History

July 10, 2014

By Jessica Squires At this year’s Canadian Historical Association meeting in St. Catharines, I participated in a round table discussion about war resistance. As the panel showed, war resistance history is a growing area of research, offering a different perspective on traditional histories of war, politics, international relations, and social movements. The panelists included Bruce […]

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