Category Archives: History and Policy

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 »

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 Missing History of Disappearance in Vancouver: The Rise and Fall of the Neighbourhood Safety Office

  James FitzGerald The Downtown Eastside (DTES) of Vancouver has been described as Canada’s Poorest Postal Code and one of the country’s densest populations of substance-using and low-income communities. Largely due to the disappearances and murders of so many of its women and girls, the DTES has also become known as ground zero for disproportionate violence against Indigenous women, as… Read more »

The Murder of Constable David Dunmore & the Long Debate over whether to Ban ‘Military-Style’ Rifles

Less than two months before the murder of fourteen women at the Montreal Massacre, Minister of Justice Doug Lewis told the House of Commons that the government had “absolutely no intention of banning the importation of semi-automatic weapons, none whatsoever.”

REJECTED: Border Crossing Records and Histories of Exclusion

By Edward Dunsworth Mollee West’s weekend was a total disaster. On a Saturday afternoon late in the summer of 1929, the 25-year old New Yorker put the finishing touches on preparations for the trip she and her two young sons were about to embark on. Kids dressed, bags packed, and train tickets tripled-checked, Mollee, her husband Jack, and the boys… Read more »

The Historical Reality of Queer Families

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Erin Gallagher-Cohoon In this morning’s post, I focused on how parliamentarians were invoking a sense of history and nationalism to argue both for and against legalizing same-sex marriage. In this post, I explore the history that is often left unsaid in this debate: the history of queer parenting. By 2005, when many parliamentarians were arguing that marriage rights should not… Read more »

“We as parliamentarians can feel the gaze of history upon us”: Historical Consciousness and Bill C-38, the Civil Marriage Act (2005)

Erin Gallagher-Cohoon In 2005, Canada became the fourth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. During the House of Commons’ debates on Bill C-38, an act respecting certain aspects of legal capacity for marriage for civil purposes, parliamentarians on both sides argued that what they were contemplating doing was unprecedented; whether a brave or a reckless act, it was… Read more »

University Donations and the Legitimization of Far-Right Views

by Asa McKercher In 2016, Western University’s Department of History announced the establishment of a variety of graduate awards and scholarships named for Kenneth Hilborn, who had bequeathed $1 million to the university in his estate. A faculty member at Western from 1961 to 1997, Hilborn (PhD, Oxford) was of a generation where one could apparently secure tenure without having… Read more »

Teaching Life and Death Stories in University Classrooms – Part 4

Today’s post is the final essay in a four part series that began as different conversations about teaching Mary Jane Logan McCallum and Adele Perry’s Structures of Indifference, winner of The Indigenous History Book Prize, awarded by the Indigenous History Group of the Canadian Historical Association. Each week will will focus on one professor’s experiences teaching the book to undergraduate… Read more »

Teaching Life and Death Stories in University Classrooms – Part 3

Today’s post is the third in a four part series that began as different conversations about teaching Mary Jane Logan McCallum and Adele Perry’s Structures of Indifference, winner of The Indigenous History Book Prize, awarded by the Indigenous History Group of the Canadian Historical Association. Each week will will focus on one professor’s experiences teaching the book to undergraduate students… Read more »