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Editorial

Colonel By and the Construction of the Rideau Canal

The following article is an editorial written by The Canadian Encyclopedia staff. Editorials are not usually updated.

On September 29th of 1826 the governor of Canada, the Earl of Dalhousie, turned the first sod for construction of the lowest lock of the Rideau Canal. Later that day the participants gathered at Philemon Wright's tavern in Hull, where they indulged in a lavish dinner and the drinking of numerous toasts. One of the great engineering feats of its time was underway.

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King-Byng Affair (Plain-Language Summary)

The King-Byng Affair was a constitutional crisis that happened in 1926. It pitted the powers of a prime minister against the powers of a governor general. It began when Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King asked Governor General Lord Julian Byng to dissolve Parliament and call a new election. Byng refused. It ended with King winning another election. Since then, no governor general has publicly refused the advice of a prime minister.

This article is a plain-language summary of the King-Byng Affair. If you are interested in reading about this topic in more depth, please see our full-length entry: King-Byng Affair.

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Canada and the Holocaust

The Holocaust is defined as the systematic persecution and murder of 6 million Jews and 5 million non-Jews, including Roma and Sinti, Poles, political opponents, LGBTQ people and Soviet prisoners of war (POWs), by Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. Jews were the only group targeted for complete destruction. Nazi racial ideology considered them subhuman. Though Jewish Canadians did not experience the Holocaust directly, the majority endured anti-Semitism in Canada. Jewish Canadians were only one generation removed from lands under German occupation from 1933 to 1945. They maintained close ties to Jewish relatives in those lands. These ties affected the community’s response to the Holocaust. There was, for instance, a disproportionate representation of Jews in the Canadian armed forces. Jewish Canadians were also heavily involved in postwar relief efforts for displaced persons and Holocaust survivors in Europe.

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Ukrainian Music in Canada

Towards the end of the 19th century large numbers of Ukrainians began to arrive in Canada; the majority settled in the Prairie provinces. By the late 1980s there were over 950,000 Ukrainian Canadians, the largest concentrations in Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, and Montreal.

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Slavery Abolition Act, 1833

An Act for the Abolition of Slavery throughout the British Colonies; for promoting the Industry of the manumitted slaves; and for compensating the Persons hitherto entitled to the Service of such Slaves (also known as the Slavery Abolition Act) received Royal Assent on 28 August 1833 and took effect 1 August 1834. The Act abolished enslavement in most British colonies, freeing over 800,000 enslaved Africans in the Caribbean and South Africa as well as a small number in Canada.

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American Revolution and Canada

In 1775 at the start of the American Revolution, rebel forces invaded Canada, occupying Montreal and attacking the town of Quebec. American privateers also raided Atlantic ports, and revolutionary sympathizers in Nova Scotia attempted a rebellion in that colony. Although the rebel forces were defeated in Canada, the 13 American colonies won their war for independence from Britain, sparking another kind of invasion – a wave of Loyalist emigration that would change the make-up of Canada.

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Consumer Price Index

Consumer Price Index, a monthly measure of changes in the retail prices of goods and services purchased by Canadians in communities of 30 000 or more across the country.

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Welfare State

The welfare state in Canada is a multi-billion dollar system of government programs that transfer money and services to Canadians to deal with an array of societal needs.

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North-West Resistance

The North-West Resistance (or North-West Rebellion) was a violent, five-month insurgency against the Canadian government, fought mainly by Métis and their First Nations allies in what is now Saskatchewan and Alberta. It was caused by rising fear and insecurity among the Métis and First Nations peoples as well as the white settlers of the rapidly changing West. A series of battles and other outbreaks of violence in 1885 left hundreds of people dead, but the resisters were eventually defeated by federal troops. The result was the permanent enforcement of Canadian law in the West, the subjugation of Plains Indigenous Peoples in Canada, and the conviction and hanging of Louis Riel.

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Fenian Raids

The Fenians were a secret society of Irish patriots who had emigrated from Ireland to the United States. Some members of this movement tried to take Canadian territory by force, so they could exchange it with Britain for Irish independence. From 1866 to 1871, the Fenians launched several small, armed attacks. Each raid was put down by government forces. Dozens were killed and wounded on both sides. The raids revealed shortfalls in the leadership, structure and training of the Canadian militia, and led to improvements in these areas. The raids also took place at a time of growing concern over the threat posed by American military and economic might. This led to increased support for Confederation.

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Privateering During the War of 1812

Privateering refers to government licensing of private vessels to wage war. In Canada, privateering dated back to Samuel Argall's attack in 1613 on PORT-ROYAL, Acadia. From 1756 to 1815 British privateers sailed from Halifax, Liverpool and other Atlantic ports, cruising as far south as Venezuela.

timeline

The Law

This timeline includes moments related to law, crime and legal reform in Canada.