Category Archives: Law and History

Won Alexander Cumyow and the Fight for Democratic Rights

      1 Comment on Won Alexander Cumyow and the Fight for Democratic Rights

Editor’s Note: This post is the second in our special election series.  Timothy J. Stanley  The photograph of Won Alexander Cumyow voting in the 1949 federal election marks an important landmark in the struggle for democratic rights in Canada. Although born in Canada before the country existed, Cumyow had to wait 88 years to have the unfettered right to vote…. Read more »

The Historical Reality of Queer Families

      No Comments on The Historical Reality of Queer Families

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 »

Canada’s First Medical Malpractice Crisis

By R. Blake Brown Two CBC journalists, Habiba Nosheen and Andrew Culbert, recently reported on the challenges faced by patients trying to sue doctors for medical malpractice. Their story adopts the tone of an exposé. They note that several factors make securing compensation for serious errors difficult, including that most doctors are members of the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA), an… 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 »

Remember/Resist/Redraw #17: Canada’s Internment of Ukrainians, 1914–1920

Black and white poster that depicts police officers arresting and detaining people of Ukranian descent in Canada

In the spring, the Graphic History Collective re-launched Remember / Resist / Redraw: A Radical History Poster Project as an ongoing series. Last month we released RRR poster #17 by Orion Keresztesi and Kassandra Luciuk that looks at Canada’s internment of Ukrainians, 1914-1920. The poster makes connections between the past and present and grapples with timely issues such as immigration,… Read more »

You Can Blame Mackenzie King for Ford

      1 Comment on You Can Blame Mackenzie King for Ford

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 »

The Treaty of Cession: Historical Origins of a Very British Instrument of Dispossession

By Allan Greer The crucial passage in the written texts of each of the “numbered treaties” passed in the Prairie West states that the Indigenous signatories “cede, release, surrender, and yield up to the Government of Canada for Her Majesty the Queen” a designated region.  (Carter, 121). If the language sounds a little like a real estate transaction, earlier treaties… Read more »

History on Appeal: Originalism and Evidence in the Comeau Case

This essay is being jointly posted today with Acadiensis and Borealia. By Bradley Miller The Supreme Court declined this month to radically change the way that Canada works. In R v Comeau, lawyers for a New Brunswick man ticketed for bringing too many bottles of beer into the province from Quebec urged the justices to use the history of the… Read more »

Jury Selection and the Gerald Stanley decision

      1 Comment on Jury Selection and the Gerald Stanley decision

By R. Blake Brown A jury’s decision to acquit farmer Gerald Stanley for second-degree murder in the death Colten Boushie, a Cree man, has brought jury selection issues to public attention in Canada. Press reports note that the jury lacked any Indigenous members, a composition achieved at least in part by the defendant’s use of ‘peremptory’ challenges. The Criminal Code… Read more »