Category Archives: Canadian history

End of the Line? The History of Canada’s Precarious Passenger Rail Network

By Thomas Blampied The saying goes that we don’t really see infrastructure until it fails. Over the past week, thousands of Canadians have seen their travel plans disrupted by Indigenous demonstrations blocking both Canadian National (CN) and Canadian Pacific (CP) railway tracks in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Quebec. The actions are in support of the Wet’suwet’en fight against the… Read more »

Debating Hate Speech Regulations in Canada: A History

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Jennifer Tunnicliffe On December 13, 2019, Justin Trudeau sent out a series of mandate letters to his newly appointed Cabinet ministers, outlining their policy objectives for the upcoming session of Parliament. In several of these letters, Trudeau urged initiatives to combat online hate and counter hate speech.[1] Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault was instructed to develop new social media guidelines requiring… Read more »

The Settler Playbook: Understanding Responses to #ShutDownCanada in Historical Context

Sarah Rotz, Daniel Rück, and Sean Carleton On February 7, militarized RCMP arrested and removed Wet’suwet’en land defenders from their unceded territories, triggering demonstrations and blockades across the country. With large parts of the country’s rail traffic at a standstill, and shipping vessels unable to move goods, people are seeing that peaceful civil disobedience can #ShutDownCanada. As solidarity actions spread,… Read more »

If we had only known… whistle blowers, Florence Nightingale, and residential schools

We like to think that the abuses of the past might have been avoided if only decision makers and the public had known about them. In these cases, the information was available, and change did not come.

Remember/Resist/Redraw #21: The 2018 Hamilton Rent Strike and the Fight for Affordable Housing

With the fight for safe and affordable housing becoming a central struggle of our times, the Graphic History Collective has released RRR #21 that looks at the lessons of the 2018 Hamilton Rent Strike. The poster, by Simon Orpana, Rob Kristofferson, and Bjarke Skærlund Risager, situates the 2018 strike in the longer history of housing struggles in Hamilton, Ontario and… Read more »

Stand! Show and Tell (and Sing)

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David Frank The catalogue of labour history films in Canada is a small one. There is a very good body of work in the documentary tradition, but you will not need a long weekend to screen all of the dramatic films related to this country’s labour and working-class history.[1] To this shelf, we can now add a new film based… Read more »

Language Remediation at the WDM: Answering TRC Calls to Action #43 and #67

Kaiti Hannah Author Note: Portions of this blog post were originally published on WDM.ca. They are reproduced with permission from the authors and the Western Development Museum (WDM). The WDM is the provincially mandated human history museum of Saskatchewan. Language is important. The words we choose to use in our historical interpretation must be inclusive, accurate, respectful, current, and meaningful…. Read more »

Remembering Air India Flight 182

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By Laura Madokoro Dear readers, Sometimes the present appears in the history classroom. And so, this post is a reflection about being sad and being a historian more than anything else (though I have a few words to say about pedagogy), and so I thank you in advance for your indulgence. Like many others, I was deeply saddened to learn… Read more »

Half Oil and Half Green: The Southern Roots of the Prairie West’s Anti-Environmental Rhetoric

Louis Reed-Wood This past autumn, Aatash Amir, a Vancouver man concerned about emissions caused by gas-powered leaf blowers, circulated an online petition to have them banned in his hometown of Saskatoon. Upon posting the petition to a local Facebook group, he quickly received a flood of hateful comments, ranging from racist remarks, threats of violence, and calls for Amir to… Read more »

The Last Ten Years: Active History & the Teaching of Canadian History since 2008

Editor’s Note: In 2019, Active History celebrated its 10th anniversary by posting some of our most popular pieces from each of the previous ten years. To reflect on ten years of Active History at the start of this new year, we asked Dr. Adele Perry, former president of the Canadian Historical Association (CHA), to share some of her thoughts. The… Read more »