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Article

Obscenity

Obscenity became an offence in 1663 when Sir Charles Sidley was convicted for his behaviour after a drinking orgy. He appeared naked on a balcony and threw bottles filled with his own urine down among the people in Covent Garden.

Editorial

Editorial: John Humphrey, Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

In 1946, John Humphrey became director of the United Nations Division on Human Rights, and Eleanor Roosevelt was named the United States representative to the UN’s Commission on Human Rights. Humphrey was an obscure Canadian law professor. Roosevelt was the world’s most celebrated woman. For two years, they collaborated on the creation of one of the modern world’s great documents: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It was adopted on 10 December 1948.

Macleans

Ontario to Ban Pit Bulls

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on November 15, 2004. Partner content is not updated.

LIKE ALL COMMERCIAL BRANDS, DOG breeds fall in and out of fashion. Take, for instance, the Dalmation. When Disney released its live-action version of the classic animated film 101 Dalmations in 1996, demand for the speckled puppies skyrocketed.

Macleans

Kids' Safety and Sexual Predators

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on February 10, 1997. Partner content is not updated.

She bears the burden of it still, more than a year after finally summoning the courage to reveal her terrible secret. So call her Carol. It is not her real name but it does offer whatever small comfort anonymity can provide.

Macleans

Toronto Bans Smoking

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on July 15, 1996. Partner content is not updated.

The doors of The Pilot Tavern were wide open last Wednesday evening, but the unseasonably cool breezes wafting through the popular Toronto pub did little to clear the air. Like the tobacco haze hanging over the long, dark bar, a tough, new antismoking bylaw threatened to poison the atmosphere.

Article

Canadian Citizenship

Canadian citizenship was first created in 1947 by the Canadian Citizenship Act. Today's version of the law says both Canadian-born and naturalized citizens are equally entitled to the rights of a citizen, and subject to the duties of a citizen. In 2014, the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act brought about the first significant amendments to the Citizenship Act since 1977. However, these changes were repealed or amended by legislation passed in 2017.

Article

Political Corruption

Political corruption may be defined as behaviour by public officials, elected or appointed, which violates social or legal norms regarding what is or is not legitimate private gain at public expense.

Article

Capital Punishment in Canada

In pre-Confederation Canada, hundreds of criminal offences were punishable by death. By 1865, only murder, treason and rape were still considered capital offences. In 1962, Ronald Turpin and Arthur Lucas were the last of 710 prisoners to be executed in Canada since 1859. After 1976, the death penalty was permitted only for members of the Armed Forces found guilty of cowardice, desertion, unlawful surrender, or spying for the enemy. The federal government completely abolished state executions in 1998.

Article

Conscription in Canada

Conscription is the compulsory enlistment or “call up” of citizens for military service. It is sometimes known as “the draft.” The federal government enacted conscription in both the First World War and the Second World War. Both instances created sharp divisions between English Canadians, who tended to support the practice, and French Canadians, who generally did not. Canada does not currently have mandatory military service. The Canadian Armed Forces are voluntary services.

Article

Cultural Duality

Contemporary observers who may not be thoroughly familiar with the history behind Canadian cultural dualism often have trouble in decoding it. Although the idea of cultural duality appears in laws, in policies on education, religion and language, and in the formulation of the fundamental rights of the provinces, its historical foundations remain hard to define.

Article

Taxation in Canada

Taxes are mandatory payments by individuals and corporations to government. They are levied to finance government services, redistribute income, and influence the behaviour of consumers and investors. The Constitution Act, 1867 gave Parliament unlimited taxing powers and restricted those of the provinces to mainly direct taxation (taxes on income and property, rather than on activities such as trade). Personal income tax and corporate taxes were introduced in 1917 to help finance the First World War. The Canadian tax structure changed profoundly during the Second World War. By 1946, direct taxes accounted for more than 56 per cent of federal revenue. The federal government introduced a series of tax reforms between 1987 and 1991; this included the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). In 2009, the federal, provincial and municipal governments collected $585.8 billion in total tax revenues.

Article

Marriage in Canada

Marriage remains one of the most important social institutions in Canada. It has undergone profound changes since the 1960s. The marriage rate is in decline and the traditional idea of a family is being transformed. After the turn of the millennium, the marriage rate fell to 4.7 marriages per 1,000 people (compared to 10.9 in the 1940s). Married couples are still the predominant family structure. But between 2001 and 2016, the number of common-law couples rose 51.4 per cent; more than five times the increase for married couples over the same period. The definition of what constitutes a married couple also changed in 2005 with the legalization of same-sex marriage. In 2016, 65.8 per cent of Canadian families were headed by married couples; down from 70.5 per cent in 2001. Marriage falls under federal jurisdiction, but the provinces regulate marriage ceremonies and grant marriage licences.