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Article

Fred Christie Case (Christie v York)

The Fred Christie Case (Christie v York, 1939) is a decision of the Supreme Court of Canada that allowed private businesses to discriminate on the basis of freedom of commerce. In July 1936, Fred Christie and two friends went to the York Tavern attached to the Montreal Forum to have a beer. The staff refused to serve them because Christie was Black. Christie sued, eventually bringing his case to the Supreme Court, which ruled that the York Tavern was within its rights to refuse to serve people on the basis of race. The case reveals an era of legalized racism, while its facts hide the subtle ways that racism operated in early 20th-century Canada.

Article

Métis Scrip in Canada

Scrip is any document used in place of legal tender, for example a certificate or voucher, where the bearer is entitled to certain rights. In 1870, the Canadian government devised a system of scrip — referred to as Métis (or “half-breed”) scrip — that issued documents redeemable for land or money. Scrip was given to Métis people living in the West in exchange for their land rights. The scrip process was legally complex and disorganized; this made it difficult for Métis people to acquire land, yet simultaneously created room for fraud. In March 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the federal government failed to provide the Métis with the land grant they were promised in the Manitoba Act of 1870. Negotiations between various levels of government and the Métis Nation concerning the reclamation of land rights continue.

Article

Canada’s Cold War Purge of LGBTQ from the Military

For much of its history, the Canadian military had a policy of punishing or purging LGBTQ members among their ranks. During the Cold War, the military increased its efforts to identify and remove suspected LGBTQ servicemen and women due to expressed concerns about blackmail and national security. In 1992, a court challenge led to the reversal of these discriminatory practices. The federal government officially apologized in 2017.

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Book Reviews: Bernardo Case

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on October 9, 1995. Partner content is not updated.

Most of the gaps have been filled by the publication of Deadly Innocence (Warner, 564 pages, $6.99), written by Toronto Sun reporters Scott Burnside and Alan Cairns, and Lethal Marriage (Seal, 544 pages, $7.99), by The Toronto Star's Nick Pron.

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Keegstra's Conviction Confirmed

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on March 11, 1996. Partner content is not updated.

"Moles only come out in the dark when no one is watching. Jews only do their deeds when no one is watching. A mole when mad, will strike back and have no mercy when disturbed. Jews strike at any time and have NO mercy." That excerpt from an examination answer penned by an Eckville, Alta.

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Latimer Convicted, Again

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on November 17, 1997. Partner content is not updated.

Robert Latimer watches in detached amusement as a kitten plays with his shoelaces. It is the day after a second jury has found him guilty of second-degree murder, and he is relaxing with half a dozen relatives on the deck in front of his modest farmhouse in Wilkie, Sask.

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Faint Hope: Background

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on August 18, 1997. Partner content is not updated.

Danny Homer’s calm, detached tone belies the fact that he is talking about the murder that put him behind bars for life. The prisoner, now 38, explains that he was a teenager living in Regina in January, 1977, when he killed Ira McDonald, a 23-year-old partner in crime.

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Girls Kill Teenage Schoolmate

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on December 8, 1997. Partner content is not updated.

The waterfront park where Reena Virk was viciously beaten and left to drown looks like a Canadian dream: clumps of trees dot one shore, while attractive middle-class homes line the opposite bank.

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Regan Faces Sex Charges

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on March 27, 1995. Partner content is not updated.

Back in his heyday he was known as Gabby Regan - a fast-talking politician who had honed his verbal skills as a sports promoter, radio sportscaster and labor lawyer in Nova Scotia during the late 1950s.

Article

Air India Flight 182 Bombing

The bombing of an Air India flight from Toronto to Bombay on 23 June 1985 — killing all 329 people on board — remains Canada’s deadliest terrorist attack. A separate bomb blast the same day at Tokyo’s Narita Airport killed two baggage handlers. After a 15-year investigation into the largest mass murder in the country's history, two British Columbia Sikh separatists were charged with murder and conspiracy in both attacks. They were acquitted in 2005. A third accused, Inderjit Singh Reyat, was convicted of manslaughter for his role in building the two bombs.

Article

Canada’s Cold War Purge of LGBTQ from Public Service

Between the 1950s and the 1990s, the Canadian government responded to national security concerns generated by Cold War tensions with the Soviet Union by spying on, exposing and removing suspected LGBTQ individuals from the federal public service and the Canadian Armed Forces. They were cast as social and political subversives and seen as targets for blackmail by communist regimes seeking classified information. These characterizations were justified by arguments that people who engaged in same-sex relations suffered from a “character weakness” and had something to hide because their sexuality was considered a taboo and, under certain circumstances, was illegal. As a result, the RCMP investigated large numbers of people. Many of them were fired, demoted or forced to resign — even if they had no access to security information. These measures were kept out of public view to prevent scandal and to keep counter-espionage operations under wraps. In 2017, the federal government issued an official apology for its discriminatory actions and policies, along with a $145-million compensation package.

Article

Patriation Reference

The Patriation Reference, formally known as Re: Resolution to Amend the Constitution, was a reference case of the Supreme Court of Canada. On 28 September 1981, the court decided that it was legal for the federal government to patriateand amend Canada’s Constitution without the consent of the provincial governments. But it also found that to do so in areas that affect provincial powers would be a breach of constitutional convention. The court’s decision concluded that such conventions are of great significance. In the words of the court, “Constitutional convention plus constitutional law equal the total constitution of the country.”

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Parrott's Killer Convicted

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on April 26, 1999. Partner content is not updated.

The porch at Peter and Lesley Parrott's farm northwest of Toronto overlooks rolling hills, a lawn of scattered daffodils and a heart-shaped flower bed adorned by a weeping crab-apple tree. The tree was planted on Sept. 28, 1995 - what would have been their daughter Alison's 21st birthday.