Category Archives: Canadian history

Harry Hardy and Recovering the Ghosts of the Tiffy Boys

This is the first of several posts marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the end of the Second World War as part of a partnership between Active History and the Juno Beach Centre. If you would like to contribute, contact series coordinator Alex Fitzgerald-Black at alex@junobeach.org. By Anne Gafiuk Flight Lieutenant Harry Hardy, 440 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force,… Read more »

‘The Best Version of the Liberal Party’: One Feminist Lineage

Veronica Strong-Boag[1] Political parties are contested spaces. Few know this better than Canada’s Liberals. Regularly derided as the party that campaigns on the left and governs on the right, that aphorism captures a long-standing split in its zeitgeist and membership. Since at least the days of Laurier and Mackenzie King, the party’s ‘left’ and ‘right’ wings have been regularly at… Read more »

The 1934 British Columbia Penitentiary Strike and Prisoners’ Wages in Canada    

By Jordan House The early 1930s were marked by considerable labour unrest in Canada. Over this period, workers developed new, more expansive forms of trade unionism, as well as new tactics such as sit-down strikes and flying pickets. In the context of the great depression, this unrest was not only evident in the country’s factories, mines, and ports; workers and… Read more »

We need to stop talking about Vimy

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Jonathan Weier As a historian of Canada’s involvement in the First World War I get awfully tired of talking and writing about the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Especially tiresome is the intellectual work of critiquing the reification of Vimy’s nationalist mythology, a topic that seems to come up annually when its anniversary rolls around. The Vimy mythology has an enduring… Read more »

The limits of tax privacy

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By Shirley Tillotson Party politics made the privacy of the prime minister’s income tax return a sensitive topic in mid-July 1931. On July 16, Prime Minister R.B. Bennett stood up in parliament and declared that the income tax measures proposed in his budget would not benefit him personally, as his Liberal opponents had alleged. If that were so, he bridled… Read more »

Confronting Canadian Migration History

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Daniel Ross Today we are pleased to announce the publication of the second volume in the Active History ebook series, Confronting Canadian Migration History. This open-access ebook collects some of the best writing on the topics of refugees, immigration, and nativism published on the site over the last four years. Although they vary in form and respond to different contexts… Read more »

Welcome to Canada: A Story from the First Year of the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program

Edward Dunsworth It started as the most mundane of requests. One evening in late September, after a long day’s work, a light bulb flickered out in the dormitory that housed Carlton Robinson[i] and twelve other Jamaican men for the duration of their contract work on a farm in Vanessa, Ontario, about 65 kilometers southwest of Hamilton. For unclear reasons, it… Read more »

The Never-ending History Wars

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Allan Greer How can we understand the past and what lessons does it hold for the present? This is an issue that has always been contested with different approaches coming to the fore.  From Plutarch in ancient times to Machiavelli in the Renaissance, the predominant idea was that stories of great men from earlier times would guide and inspire elite… Read more »

Remembering Richard Allen

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By Christo Aivalis A couple weeks ago, historian of the Canadian Christian left Richard Allen passed away at the age of 90. This piece is not meant to be an obituary, nor a reflection of the deep impact he had upon Hamilton, which he represented as an Ontario NDP Member of Provincial Parliament during much of the 1980s and 1990s…. Read more »

A Narrow Vision: Politics in Canada in Historical Perspective

By James Cullingham As the imbroglio concerning Jody Wilson-Raybould, Jane Philpott and the Liberal government emerged, an immediate wave of sentiment broke across social media. The panicky message can be summed up:  “In light of this scandal, Canadians will inevitably end up with an Andrew Scheer government.” This type of thinking reflects a reductive historical and political fallacy that assumes… Read more »