Browse "Politics & Law"

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Bedard Case

R v. Bedard (1971) challenged section 12(1)(b) of the Indian Act, which concerns the rights of Status Indian women in Canada. The appellant in the case, Yvonne Bedard, took the federal government to court after losing her rights as a Status Indian because of her marriage to a Non-Status man. In 1973, before the Supreme Court of Canada, the Bedard case merged with AG v. Lavell, another case concerning gender discrimination (see Status of Women) in the Indian Act. Although Bedard ultimately lost her reinstatement claims, her case inspired future legal battles regarding women’s rights and the Indian Act, including Lovelace v. Canada (1981) (see Sandra Lovelace Nicholas) and the Descheneaux case (2015).

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Bennett's New Deal

In the mid-1930s, at the height of the Great Depression, Prime Minister R.B. Bennett’s political demise seemed inevitable. He sought to reverse the tide running against his Conservative Party. In January 1935, he began a series of live radio speeches outlining a “New Deal” for Canada. He promised a more progressive taxation system; a maximum work week; a minimum wage; closer regulation of working conditions; unemployment insurance; health and accident insurance; a revised old-age pension; and agricultural support programs. But Bennett’s 11th-hour proposals were seen as too-little, too-late. He lost the 1935 election to William Lyon Mackenzie King and the Liberals.

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Berger Commission

In 1974, the federal government formed a royal commission to consider two proposals for natural gas pipelines in the North. Thomas Berger, a judge, led the inquiry. Over the next two years, the Berger Commission assessed the potential impacts of the proposed pipelines. Berger held formal and informal hearings. These included 45 community hearings from the Northwest Territories and Yukon to Southern Canada. His 1977 report made several recommendations. He called for further study and the settlement of Indigenous land claims. He also called for a 10-year ban on pipeline construction in the Mackenzie Valley. Berger opposed building any pipeline across the sensitive caribou habitat of the northern Yukon. The Berger Commission involved the public and included Indigenous views more than any resource-related consultation had done before in Canada.

Click here for definitions of key terms used in this article.

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Bering Sea Dispute

During the 1880s, while Americans hunted seals on the Pribilof Islands, which the US had acquired from Russia in 1867, Canadians conducted sealing in the open waters. In 1886 US government revenue cutters, claiming to protect "American property," began seizing Canadian sealing vessels.

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Biculturalism

This neologistic term came into public consciousness with the appointment of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism in 1963. On examining its terms of reference the commission could not find the word in a dictionary.

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Bill 178

In December 1988 the Liberal government of Québec introduced Bill 178, an Act to amend Bill 101, Charte de la langue française.

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Bill 22

Bill 22, the Official Language Act, sponsored by the Québec Liberal government of Robert Bourassa and passed by the legislature July 1974. It made French the language of civic administration and services, and of the workplace.

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Bill 63

Bill 63, (Nov 1969), required children receiving their education in English to acquire a working knowledge of French and required everything to be done so that immigrants acquired the knowledge of French upon arrival in Québec.

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Bill 86

In December 1988, Bill 178 was adopted by the Québec government after the Supreme Court found provisions of Bill 101, those regarding commercial signs and advertising, contrary to the guarantee of freedom of expression in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

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Bloc populaire canadien

The Bloc populaire canadien is an anti-conscription and nationalist political party of the 1940s. The party participated in federal elections and in Quebec provincial elections. The Bloc received some minor electoral successes, but, by 1948, its influence had drastically diminished and the party faded away.

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Bloc Québécois

The Bloc Québécois is a federal political party that was created officially on 15 June 1991 (registered by Elections Canada on 11 September 1993). It was founded as a parliamentary movement composed of Quebec MPs who left the Conservative and Liberal parties after the failure of the Meech Lake Accord. The party promotes Quebec's interests and Quebec sovereignty in the House of Commons. The party only runs candidates in the province of Quebec.

Yves-François Blanchet became leader of the party in January 2019. Under Blanchet, the Bloc won 32 seats in the October 2019 federal election, returning it to official party status.

See Canadian Electoral System; Voting Behaviour in Canada.

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Bloody Sunday

Bloody Sunday was a violent confrontation between protesters and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Vancouver police in Vancouver on Sunday 19 June 1938.

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Bomarc Missile Crisis

The CIM-10B Bomarc was the world’s first long-range, nuclear capable, ground-to-air anti-aircraft missile. Two squadrons of the missile were purchased and deployed by the Canadian government in 1958. This was part of Canada’s role during the Cold War to defend North America against an attack from the Soviet Union. Prime Minister John Diefenbaker’s refusal to equip the missiles with nuclear warheads led to a souring of Canada’s relationship with the United States, especially once the Cuban Missile Crisis brought the issue to the fore. The issue split Diefenbaker’s Cabinet and contributed to his party losing the 1963 election.

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Bond-Blaine Treaty

In the 1880s, parts of Newfoundland's government and mercantile community felt that RECIPROCITY with the US would solve growing economic problems by providing new markets for dried cod.