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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 Homers 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.
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.
Teacher-Student Couple Embrace Notoriety
This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on May 19, 2003. Partner content is not updated.FIRST, the disgraced teacher caught our attention with a sensational new book. Heather Ingram - convicted three years ago of sexually exploiting a minor after her affair with a teen she taught in high school in Sechelt, B.C.
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.
Gay Rights Upheld in Alberta
This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on April 13, 1998. Partner content is not updated.Delwin Vriend never set out to be a gay-rights poster boy. Last week, the 32-year-old computer technologist at the University of Alberta in Edmonton sounded drained by his seven-year battle with the Alberta government over its unwillingness to provide equal rights to gays and lesbians.
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.
Truscott's Quest for Vindication Continues
This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on November 8, 2004. Partner content is not updated.Once a 14-year-old boy on death row, Steven Truscott was for the longest time Canada's poster case for the abolition of capital punishment. His 1959 conviction for the rape and strangulation of grade-school friend Lynne Harper, 12, shocked and divided Canadians for decades.
BC Referendum Controversy
This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on May 13, 2002. Partner content is not updated.The beauty of a referendum is that no matter how complex or inappropriate the question, the answer can only be Yes or No. Except, apparently, in British Columbia, where Up Yours is also gaining a measure of popularity.
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.
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.
Patriation of the Constitution
In 1982, Canada fully broke from its colonial past and “patriated” its Constitution. It transferred the country’s highest law, the British North America Act (which was renamed the Constitution Act, 1867), from the authority of the British Parliament to Canada’s federal and provincial legislatures. The Constitution was also updated with a new amending formula and a Charter of Rights and Freedoms. These changes occurred after a fierce, 18-month political and legal struggle that dominated headlines and the agendas of every government in the country.
Rebellions of 1837–38
In 1837 and 1838, insurgents in Upper and Lower Canada led rebellions against the Crown and the political status quo. The revolt in Lower Canada was more serious and violent than the rebellion in Upper Canada. However, both events inspired the pivotal Durham Report. It led to the Act of Union, which merged the two colonies into the Province of Canada. It also resulted in the introduction of responsible government. These were critical events on the road to Canadian nationhood.
The Charlottetown Accord of 1992 was a failed attempt by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and all 10 provincial premiers to amend the Canadian Constitution. The goal was to obtain Quebec’s consent to the Constitution Act, 1982. The Accord would have recognized Quebec as a distinct society; decentralized many federal powers to the provinces; addressed the issue of Indigenous self-government; and reformed the Senate and the House of Commons. The Accord had the approval of the federal government and all 10 provincial governments. But it was rejected by Canadian voters in a referendum on 26 October 1992.
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.”