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Chinese Head Tax in Canada
The Chinese head tax was enacted to restrict immigration after Chinese labour was no longer needed to build the Canadian Pacific Railway. Between 1885 and 1923, Chinese immigrants had to pay a head tax to enter Canada. The tax was levied under the Chinese Immigration Act (1885). It was the first legislation in Canadian history to exclude immigration on the basis of ethnic background. With few exceptions, Chinese people had to pay at least $50 to come to Canada. The tax was later raised to $100, then to $500. During the 38 years the tax was in effect, around 82,000 Chinese immigrants paid nearly $23 million in tax. The head tax was removed with the passing of the Chinese Immigration Act in 1923. Also known as the Chinese Exclusion Act, it banned all Chinese immigrants until its repeal in 1947. In 2006, the federal government apologized for the head tax and its other racist immigration policies targeting Chinese people.
House of Commons
The House of Commons is the centre of political power in Canada. The prime minister and his or her Cabinet receive their authority through the confidence of the House. It is an institution steeped in tradition and history. In recent years, Question Period has been televised, opening the political process to Canadians. Much of what the public sees is the rancorous
debate and partisan bickering among political parties but the House of Commons is also where most government legislation is introduced, and where Members of Parliament meet to debate policy, vote on key legislation, and hold the government to account.
Food Insecurity in Canada
Household food insecurity— the inadequate or insecure access to food due to financial constraints — is a serious public health problem in Canada. In 2017–18, 1 in 8 households were food insecure. This amounted to over 4.4 million Canadians. Of that number,
1.2 million were children under 18 years. While food banks are a well-known public response to food insecurity, most food insecure households do not use food banks and there is no evidence that food charity is a durable solution. There is wide consensus
that governments need to act on food insecurity through income-based interventions.
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.
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.
Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada
The Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada, also known as the Bird Commission in honour of its chair, Florence Bird, was established on 3 February 1967. More than 900 people appeared at its public hearings over a period of six months. In addition to providing an overview of the status of women, the report tabled on 7 December 1970 included 167 recommendations for reducing gender inequality across the various spheres of Canadian society.
Social Conditions of Indigenous Peoples in Canada
Social conditions, including health, income, education, employment and community, contribute to the well-being of all people. Among the Indigenous population in Canada (i.e., First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples), social conditions have been impacted by the dispossession of cultural traditions, social inequities, prejudice and discrimination. Social conditions also vary greatly according to factors such as place of residence, income level, and family and cultural factors. While progress with respect to social conditions is being achieved, gaps between the social and economic conditions of Indigenous people and non-Indigenous people in Canada persist.
Order-in-Council P.C. 1911-1324 — the Proposed Ban on Black Immigration to Canada
Order-in-Council P.C. 1324 was approved on 12 August 1911 by the Cabinet of Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier. The purpose of the order was to ban Black persons from entering Canada for a period of one year because, it read, “the Negro race…is deemed unsuitable to the climate and requirements of Canada.” The order-in-council was the culmination of what researcher R. Bruce Shepard has called Canada’s “campaign of diplomatic racism.” Though the order never became law, the actions of government officials made it clear that Black immigrants were not wanted in Canada (see Immigration).
The Marshall Inquiry was a Royal Commission called by the Government of Nova Scotia. It investigated the 1971 wrongful murder conviction of Mi’kmaq man Donald Marshall Jr. of Nova Scotia. This was the first inquiry of its kind in Canada. The commission released its report on 26 January 1990. It made recommendations that changed the criminal justice system in Nova Scotia, particularly in its treatment of Indigenous peoples.
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.
Impending Same-Sex Marriage Legislation
IT'S NOT THE kind of crowd given to chants, placards, or burning brands. Greying, neatly pressed, well-mannered, they line up patiently at the open microphone.
Krever Report Released
This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on December 8, 1997. Partner content is not updated.They still serve up doughnuts and juice afterward. Otherwise, much has changed for anyone giving blood at a Red Cross clinic in Canada. The questions are chastening. Have you ever paid for sex, a nurse asks.
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.
This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on March 6, 2000. Partner content is not updated.They are an unlikely class of political provocateurs: the water entrepreneurs. In Vancouver, fast-talkers with dreams of getting in on the ground floor of a 21st-century boom once touted their plans for taking pure British Columbia mountain water in tankers to California. Shut down by a B.C.
Mulroney Launches Suit
This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on November 27, 1995. Partner content is not updated.Political circles had been buzzing for weeks about a major police investigation into the biggest civil aviation contract ever given by a Canadian government - the 1988 purchase of 34 Airbus A-320 passenger planes from a European consortium for $1.8 billion.
Canada's 'responsibility to protect' Doctrine Gaining Ground at the UN
This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on July 18, 2005. Partner content is not updated.IT ISN'T OFTEN that Lloyd AXWORTHY, Canada's former foreign minister and lion of the political left, has an idea that could appeal to American neo-conservatives and evangelical Christians.
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.