Category Archives: History and Policy

What Makes Oshawa So Special?

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Steven High Most mills and factories close with a whimper and not a bang. Few were therefore prepared for the media fire-storm sparked by General Motor’s (GM) decision to close its auto-assembly plant in Oshawa, putting 2,500 Canadians out of work. What makes this closure so special? For starters, there is the historic centrality of the auto industry in Southern… Read more »

200 Years of Treaty Annuities

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Betsey Baldwin Indigenous people have received treaty annuities in Canada for 200 years (1818-2018). These annuities are annual payments made to Indigenous people in fulfilment of treaties. They were promised for all time, are still paid now and will be paid in future. The amount is not indexed to inflation. For example, this photo shows a Treaty 8 payment made… Read more »

Queen’s Park Looks to the North: Mining, Treaties & Transportation

Thomas Blampied In the run up to the 2018 Ontario provincial election, Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford spoke about his party’s plans for the Ring of Fire mining development in Northern Ontario. The project, which experts claimed could be worth billions of dollars, was stalled as the federal and provincial governments negotiated with mining companies over who would pay for… Read more »

When to Speak, When to Act: Reflections on the Recent MS St. Louis Apology

Andrea Eidinger and Laura Madokoro On November 7th, 2018, Justin Trudeau stood up in the House of Commons and issued a formal apology to the families of passengers of the MS St. Louis as well as the entire Jewish Canadian community for the Canadian government’s decision to refuse to allow the ship to dock in 1939. As historians with expertise… Read more »

From Trudeau to Trudeau:  A Violation of the Right to Strike and Bargain Collectively

by Christo Aivalis At the time of writing, Justin Trudeau’s federal Liberal government is quickly going through the procedural motions to legislate Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) members back to work. While the Liberals’ strong parliamentary majority—along with support from the Conservative opposition on this issue—means such legislation will likely pass, it may be delayed slightly by concerns in… Read more »

Caucasian Complexities: White Ethnicity and the Politics of Ultimate Fighting

Travis Hay & Angie Wong On the 6th of October, the trash-talking Irish superstar and mixed martial artist Conor McGregor was handed a very one-sided loss in his fight with Khabib ‘The Eagle’ Nurmagomedov – a white Muslim man raised in the Dagestani mountains of the Caucus region. When the match was stopped in the fourth round to save McGregor… Read more »

Liberation from “That Vicious System”: Jim Brady’s 20th Century Métis Cooperatives and Colonial State Responses

Molly Swain James (Jim) Brady (1908-1967) was a Métis communist community organizer active primarily in northern Alberta and Saskatchewan in the mid-20th century.[i] He played an instrumental role in the formation of the Métis Association of Alberta (now the Métis Nation of Alberta) and the Alberta Métis Settlements. Over nearly four decades, Brady was also involved in organizing resource cooperatives… Read more »

You Can Blame Mackenzie King for Ford

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By Adam Coombs Doug Ford invoking the Notwithstanding Clause to slash the size of Toronto City Council generated fiery responses from both supporters and detractors. Regardless of where one stood on the issue, all commentators were quick to argue that their side was the one protecting democratic norms and practices while their opponents were undermining them. Premier Ford made this… Read more »

Not so Accidental: Farmworkers, Car Crashes, and Capitalist Agriculture

By Edward Dunsworth  Early last month, near the southern Italian city of Foggia, sixteen migrant farmworkers from various African countries were killed in two separate car accidents. In both cases, vans taking migrants back to camp after work collided with trucks carrying tomatoes from the very fields they had spent the day toiling in. The tragedy brought international media scrutiny… Read more »

Trans Mountain and the Trudeau Legacy

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By James Cullingham In 1973 the Supreme Court of Canada sent a fundamental challenge to Canadian governments in its Calder decision. The case focused on the Aboriginal rights of Frank Calder as a representative of the Nisga’a people. The case was argued by Thomas Berger. While the court was split and the decision did not represent an outright victory, the… Read more »