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Munsinger Affair

Between 1958 and 1961 Pierre SÉVIGNY , John DIEFENBAKER's associate minister of national defence, had an affair with Gerda Munsinger, a German immigrant. Acting on information from American sources, the RCMP warned

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Québec Provincial Police

In 1838 Lord DURHAM established a municipal police force for Montréal and Québec, and a rural force with jurisdiction over the rest of the province. Its structure was reorganized in 1938 by Maurice Duplessis, who at the time was both premier and solicitor general of the province.

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Quiet Revolution (Plain-Language Summary)

The Quiet Revolution transformed Quebec in the 1960s. The Quiet Revolution refers to a series of drastic political, societal and cultural changes. The Quiet Revolution was led by the Quebec Liberal Party under Premier Jean Lesage. The slogan was “Maîtres chez nous” (Masters of our own house). The goal was for francophones to take leadership positions in Quebec and to guide Quebec into the future. The goal was met. The Quiet Revolution contributed to changing Quebec, and Canada, forever.

(This article is a plain-language summary of the Quiet Revolution. If you are interested in reading about this topic in more depth, please see our full-length entry, Quiet Revolution.)

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Canada First

Canada First, nationalist movement founded 1868 by Ontarians George Denison, Henry Morgan, Charles Mair and William Foster and by Robert Grant Haliburton, a Nova Scotian living in Ottawa.

Macleans

Tobin Fights Fish War at the UN

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on April 10, 1995. Partner content is not updated.

The year was 1980 and a 25-year-old Brian Tobin badly needed advice. Grit organizers wanted Tobin, a cocky former radio disc jockey, television newscaster and provincial Liberal party operative, to run in a traditionally Tory riding on Newfoundland's west coast.

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Great Coalition of 1864

The politics of the Province of Canada in the early 1860s were marked by instability and deadlock. The Great Coalition of 1864 proved to be a turning point in Canadian history. It proved remarkably successful in breaking the logjam of central Canadian politics and in helping to create a new country. The coalition united Reformers and Conservatives in the cause of constitutional reform. It paved the way for the Charlottetown Conference and Confederation.  

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Naval Aid Bill

As early as 1909 the Conservative Party believed that Canada should contribute "emergency" funds to help the Royal Navy maintain its superiority over the German navy. In March 1912 the RN required more "dreadnought" battleships.

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Saskatchewan Party

The Saskatchewan Party is a provincial political party formed in 1997 by a coalition of Liberals and Progressive Conservatives seeking to offer a viable governing alternative to the New Democratic Party (NDP). Since 2007, the Saskatchewan Party has won three straight elections, holding power in the province under leader and Premier Brad Wall. In 2018, Wall stepped down and was replaced as premier and party leader by Scott Moe, who served in Wall’s executive council from 2014 to 2017.

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Parti Québécois

The Parti Québécois (PQ) is a nationalist (see Francophone Nationalism in Quebec) political party formed in Quebec in 1968 through the merger of the Mouvement souveraineté-association (see Sovereignty-Association) and the Ralliement national. René Lévesque was the PQ’s first leader and held that position until 1985. The party was elected to its first term in office in 1976 and went on to hold two referendums on Quebec sovereignty: one in 1980 and the other in 1995. (See Quebec Referendum (1980); Quebec Referendum (1995).) Since October 2020, the party leader is Paul St-Pierre Plamondon.

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RJR-MacDonald Case

In the RJR-MacDonald case (1995), a 7-2 majority of the Supreme Court of Canada concluded that the federal law regulating the use of tobacco products rested on Parliament's jurisdiction in the criminal law area, in the division of powers sector, as set out in section 91 (27) of the Constitution Act, 1867.

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Somalia Affair

In 1992–93, Canada contributed military forces to UNITAF, a United Nations–backed humanitarian mission in the African nation of Somalia. In 1993, Canadian soldiers from the now-defunct Airborne Regiment tortured and killed a Somali teenager named Shidane Arone. These and other violent abuses during the mission shocked Canadians and damaged the country’s international reputation. They also led to a public inquiry that revealed serious failures of leadership at the highest levels of the Canadian Armed Forces, kick-starting reforms aimed a professionalizing the officer corps.

This article contains sensitive material that may not be suitable for all audiences.

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Québec Referendum (1980)

The Québec referendum of 1980, on the Parti Québécois government’s plans for sovereignty-association, was held in fulfilment of a promise that the party had made to do so, during the 1976 election campaign that brought it to power. In this referendum, the government asked the people of Québec to give it a mandate to “negotiate a new constitutional agreement with the rest of Canada, based on the equality of nations.” When the votes were counted, nearly 60% of Quebecers had voted against this plan, and it was thereby rejected. If the “Yes” side had won, the results of the negotiations would have been submitted to a second referendum. The 1980 referendum was followed by constitutional negotiations that have left an indelible mark on the Canadian political scene.

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Quiet Revolution

The Quiet Revolution (Révolution tranquille) was a time of rapid change experienced in Québec during the 1960s. This vivid yet paradoxical description of the period was first used by an anonymous writer in The Globe and Mail.

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Green Party of Canada

The Green Party of Canada is a federal political party that advocates environmentalism as the key to a sustainable society. Annamie Paul was elected in 2020 to become the party’s leader, replacing Elizabeth May. Paul became the first Black Canadian and the first Jewish Canadian woman to permanently lead a federal political party. She resigned as leader after the party’s poor performance in the September 2021 federal election.

Two Green Party candidates were elected to the House of Commons in the 2021 election. (See Member of Parliament.)

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History Since Confederation

The story of Canada since 1867 is, in many ways, a successful one: For a century and a half, people of different languages, cultures and backgrounds, thrown together in the vast, northern reaches of a continent, built a free society where regional communities could grow and prosper, linked by the common thread of an emerging national identity. There were false steps along the way, including the struggles of Indigenous people for survival, and the ever-present tensions over federal unity. But for the most part, Canada became an example to the world of a modern, workable nation state. 

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Elections of 1979 and 1980

Calling elections is like Goldilocks visiting the three bears — which political stew will turn out to be too soon, too late, or just right? The elections of 1979 and 1980 illustrate the perils of too late, followed by too soon.

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Political Party Financing in Canada

The financial activities of political parties in Canada were largely unregulated until the Election Expenses Act was passed in 1974. Canada now has an extensive regime regulating federal political party financing; both during and outside of election periods. Such regulation encourages greater transparency of political party activities. It also ensures a fair electoral arena that limits the advantages of those with more money. Political parties and candidates are funded both privately and publicly. Election finance laws govern how parties and candidates are funded; as well as the ways in which they can spend money. (See also Canadian Electoral System.)