Category Archives: History and Policy

“Symbol of the IGA”: The International Grenfell Association hospital ship Strathcona and the 1970 mass tuberculosis survey of northern Labrador

John R.H. Matchim Since the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Amundsen was reactivated in 2004 it has conducted multiple mass health surveys of Inuit communities across the Canadian Arctic. In 2004 and 2017 surveys organized by the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services and Laval University’s Population Health Unit asked some 2,000 residents questions about housing, family violence, addictions,… Read more »

Who speaks? Who tells? Who listens? – Part 1

By Victoria Freeman In 1960, my twenty-month-old sister Martha was admitted to the Rideau Regional Centre, an institution for people with developmental disabilities located on the outskirts of Smiths Falls, Ontario. For the next thirteen years she would live in this isolated and overcrowded complex of 50 buildings that at its peak housed 2,600 inmates. I use the word ‘inmate’… Read more »

Making the Best of It, Then and Now

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Sarah Glassford and Amy Shaw A week or two into our respective COVID-19 isolations at home in Alberta and Ontario, we (colleagues Amy and Sarah) each received, by mail, fresh from the printer, our copies of our new edited collection about female Canadians’ and Newfoundlanders’ experiences of the Second World War. The title – a last minute substitution at the… Read more »

Congress 2020, Interrupted: Racism, Academic Freedom, and the Far Right, 1970s-1990s

Will Langford In 1989, psychology professor Philippe Rushton inflamed debates over discrimination at Western University (then known as the University of Western Ontario (UWO)) by outlining his racist theories at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. For some, Rushton’s academic racism made him unfit to teach at UWO. For others, protecting academic freedom was… Read more »

Revisiting “Was Laurier Canada’s Obama?”

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Of course, the real interest in the piece, as in the book manuscript I had just completed, wasn’t what happened in 1911 but what happened at the next election in 1917, namely, the most racially polarizing campaign in Canadian history.

Plagues and Social Change: Putting Covid-19 in Historical Context

Alvin Finkel After the Black Death of 1347-52, which cut the population of Europe in half and accounted for some 75 million deaths globally, the feudal system faced challenges from peasant uprisings while labour shortages resulted in large wage increases for day workers. Orphanages and hospitals, run by churches and wealthy lay people, sprang up in towns across the continent…. Read more »

Congress 2020, Interrupted: A Brief History of University Codes of Conduct

Will Langford Congress 2020 is cancelled. But before the conference is forgotten, let’s ponder the anti-racism Congress that never was. At last year’s gathering, in a brazen act of racial profiling, a participant harassed political scientist Shelby McPhee and falsely accused the Black graduate student of theft. Following an investigation, the perpetrator was issued a ban for violating the Congress… Read more »

A Reluctant Steward: Alberta and Its Parks

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By Jessica DeWitt [We are publishing this in partnership with the Network in Canadian History & Environment.] This past week the Alberta Provincial Government announced it’s plan to ‘optimize’ its park system. This includes: The full or partial closure of twenty parks. Shortened operating seasons. Fewer groomed cross-country tracks Closures of a few visitor information centres Service fee increases A proposal to partner… 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 »

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 »