Politics & Law | The Canadian Encyclopedia

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  • Article

    Tommy Douglas

    Thomas "Tommy" Clement Douglas, CC, premier of Saskatchewan, first leader of the New Democratic Party, Baptist minister and politician (born 20 October 1904 in Falkirk, Scotland; died 24 February 1986 in Ottawa, Ontario). Tommy Douglas led the first socialist government elected in Canada and is recognized as the father of universal health care in Canada. He also helped establish democratic socialism in mainstream Canadian politics.

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  • Article

    Tommy Douglas and Eugenics

    Tommy Douglas — the father of socialized medicine in Canada and one of the country’s most beloved figures — once supported eugenic policies. In 1933, he received a Master of Arts in sociology from McMaster University for his thesis, “The Problems of the Subnormal Family.” In the thesis, Douglas recommended several eugenic policies, including the sterilization of “mental defectives and those incurably diseased.” His ideas were not unique, as two Canadian provinces (and 32 American states) passed sexual-sterilization legislation in the 1920s and 1930s. However, by the time Douglas became premier of Saskatchewan in 1944, he had abandoned his support for eugenic policies. When Douglas received two reports that recommended legalizing sexual sterilization in the province, he rejected the idea.

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  • Article

    Tony Whitford

    Anthony (Tony) Wilfred James Whitford, ONWT, Commissioner of Northwest Territories 2005-2010, politician (born 11 June 1941 in Fort Smith, NWT). Throughout his life, Tony Whitford has held multiple political positions, including on the town council of Fort Smith and in the Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly. In 2005, Whitford was named commissioner of the Northwest Territories.

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  • Article

    Toronto Feature: George Brown

    This article is from our Toronto Feature series. Features from past programs are not updated.

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  • Article

    Truth and Reconciliation Commission (Plain-Language Summary)

    The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) started working in 2008. It was a result of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA). The IRSSA recognized the suffering and trauma experienced by Indigenous students at residential schools. It also provided financial compensation (money) to the students. The TRC performed many tasks. It created a national research centre. It collected documents from churches and government. It held events where students told their stories. Also, it did research about residential schools and issued a final report. (See also  Reconciliation in Canada.)

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  • Editorial

    Vancouver Feature: The Milkshake Murder

    The following article is a feature from our Vancouver Feature series. Past features are not updated. The Bowmac sign on Broadway was the largest freestanding electric sign in the world. It could be seen all the way from Burnaby, miles away. For a short while in 1965 it also helped a promoter hide the slow murder of his wife by arsenic-laced milkshakes.

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  • Article

    Queen Victoria

    Victoria, queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Empress of India (born 24 May 1819 at Kensington Palace, London; died 22 January 1901 at Osborne House, Isle of Wight).

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  • Article

    Viola Desmond

    Viola Irene Desmond (née Davis), businesswoman, civil rights activist (born 6 July 1914 in Halifax, NS; died 7 February 1965 in New York, NY). Viola Desmond built a career and business as a beautician and was a mentor to young Black women in Nova Scotia through her Desmond School of Beauty Culture. In 1946, Viola Desmond challenged racial discrimination when she refused to leave the segregated Whites-only section of the Roseland Theatre in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. Viola Desmond was arrested, jailed overnight and convicted without legal representation for an obscure tax offence as a result. Despite the efforts of the Nova Scotian Black community to assist her appeal, Viola Desmond was unable to remove the charges against her and went unpardoned in her lifetime. Desmond’s courageous refusal to accept an act of racial discrimination provided inspiration to later generations of Black persons in Nova Scotia and in the rest of Canada. In 2010, Lieutenant-Governor Mayann Francis issued Desmond a free pardon. In December 2016, the Bank of Canada announced that Viola Desmond would be the first Canadian woman to be featured by herself on the face of a banknote — the $10 note released on 19 November 2018. Viola Desmond was named a National Historic Person by the Canadian government in 2018.

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  • Article

    Viola Léger

    Viola P. Léger, OC, ONB, senator, actor, director, teacher (born 29 June 1930 in Fitchburg, Massachusetts; died 28 January 2023 in Dieppe, NB). Viola Léger served in the Senate from 2001 to 2005. She is perhaps best known for her career as an actor and for her performance as La Sagouine in Antonine Maillet’s play of the same name. Léger performed the role 3,000 times between 1971 and 2016. Widely considered the greatest Acadian actress of all time, she was also a prominent advocate and global ambassador for Acadian people and Acadian culture. She was made a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres de la France and a Member of the Ordre des Francophones d’Amérique. She also received the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement in theatre.

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  • Article

    Vivienne Poy

    Vivienne May Poy (née Lee), fashion designer, author, philanthropist, entrepreneur, senator (born 15 May 1941 in Hong Kong). Vivienne Poy is a fashion designer who founded Vivienne Poy Mode in 1981. In 1998, she became the first Canadian of Asian descent to be appointed to the Senate. She is an accomplished author and publisher of histories and biographies. She was also governor of McGill University and chancellor of the University of Toronto, and played a key role in founding Asian Heritage Month in Canada.

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    https://d3d0lqu00lnqvz.cloudfront.net/media/new_article_images/ViviennePoy/Vivienne_Poy.jpg Vivienne Poy
  • Article

    Wade MacLauchlan

    H. Wade MacLauchlan, CM, OPEI, MLA, 32nd premier of Prince Edward Island (2015–19), president of University of Prince Edward Island (1999–2011), lawyer, academic (born 10 December 1954 in Stanhope, PEI). MacLauchlan was sworn in as premier of Prince Edward Island on 23 February 2015, becoming the province’s first openly gay premier. The former law professor and university president received the Order of Canada in 2008 and the Order of Prince Edward Island in 2014. He is the author of Alex B. Campbell: The Prince Edward Island Premier Who Rocked the Cradle (2014).

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    https://d3d0lqu00lnqvz.cloudfront.net/media/new_article_images/WadeMacLauchlan/dreamstime_xl_50962464.jpg Wade MacLauchlan
  • Article

    Brad Wall

    Brad Wall, businessman, politician, 14th premier of Saskatchewan 2007–18 (born 24 November 1965 in Swift Current, SK). Wall led the new Saskatchewan Party to power, presided over a time of stunning economic prosperity for his province, and became one of Canada's leading conservative voices in the early 21st Century.

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  • Article

    Walter Deiter

    Walter Deiter, OC, Chief, Indigenous rights advocate (born 31 May 1916 on Peepeekisis Reserve, SK; died 7 September 1988 in Regina, SK). Walter Deiter was active in the development of Indigenous political organizations in the 1960s. His work helped to establish the National Indian Brotherhood (now Assembly of First Nations) and has resulted in him being appointed to the Order of Canada.

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  • Article

    Wayne Adams

    F. Wayne Adams, CM, ONS, politician, activist, journalist, entrepreneur (born 1943 in Halifax, NS). Wayne Adams has been an entrepreneur, a broadcast journalist, a municipal and provincial politician, and an environmental activist. He was the first Black Canadian elected to the Nova Scotia legislature and to serve in its cabinet. He was made a Member of the Order of Canada and has received the Order of Nova Scotia.

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  • Article

    W.A.C. Bennett

    William Andrew Cecil Bennett, PC, OC, premier of British Columbia 1952-72, merchant, politician, (born 6 September 1900 in Hastings, NB; died 23 February 1979 in Kelowna, BC). Bennett led his province during a period of unparalleled economic expansion and is the longest serving premier in BC history.

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