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Massey Commission

The Massey Commission was formally known as the Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and Sciences. It was officially appointed by Prime Minister Louis St-Laurent on 8 April 1949. Its purpose was to investigate the state of arts and culture in Canada. Vincent Massey chaired the Commission. It issued its landmark report, the Massey Report, on 1 June 1951. The report advocated for the federal funding of a wide range of cultural activities. It also made a series of recommendations that resulted in the founding of the National Library of Canada (now Library and Archives Canada), the creation of the Canada Council for the Arts, federal aid for universities, and the conservation of Canada’s historic places, among other initiatives. The recommendations that were made by the Massey Report, and enacted by the federal government, are generally seen as the first major steps to nurture, preserve and promote Canadian culture.

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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.

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Regan Acquitted

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on December 28, 1998. Partner content is not updated.

Gerald Regan waited silently for his moment of truth in a Halifax courtroom late last week.

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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.

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Canadian Bill of Rights

The Canadian Bill of Rights was the country’s first federal law to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms. It was considered groundbreaking when it was enacted by the government of John Diefenbaker in 1960. But it proved too limited and ineffective, mainly because it applies only to federal statutes and not provincial ones. Many judges regarded it as a mere interpretive aid. The bill was cited in 35 cases between 1960 and 1982; thirty were rejected by the courts. Though it is still in effect, the Bill of Rights was superseded by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982.

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Supreme Court of Canada

The Supreme Court of Canada is the court of last resort for all legal issues in Canada, including those of federal and provincial jurisdiction. From humble beginnings as an opaque body subject to being overruled by the British Privy Council, the court now has the final judicial say on a broad range of contentious legal and social issues, ranging from the availability of abortion to the constitutionality of capital punishment and assisted suicide.

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Westray Charges Stayed

As other Canadians prepared last week to celebrate the country's 131st birthday, families of the 26 men who died in the May, 1992, Westray mine explosion girded themselves for a more sombre undertaking.

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US Abortionist Slain

The soft-spoken Vancouver doctor, in her late 40s and a mother of three, does not want her name used. Nor does the 52-year-old doctor in Edmonton, a father of two. Another Vancouver gynecologist, a bespectacled grandfather, won’t reveal his name or even his approximate age.

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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.

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Homicide

International homicide statistics are generally unreliable and always outdated, but Canada usually ranks at the lower end among similar nations. In 1996, for example, Canada's rate of 2.1 per 100 000 population ranked above Japan (1.0), Sweden (1.1) and England (1.

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Social Security

Social security refers to government programs that replace people's income lost due to pregnancy, illness, accident, disability, the death or absence of a family's breadwinner, unemployment, old age or retirement.

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Monetary Policy

Monetary policy refers to government measures taken to affect financial markets and credit conditions, for the purpose of influencing the behaviour of the economy. In Canada, monetary policy is the responsibility of the Bank of Canada, a federal crown corporation that implements its decisions through manipulation of the money supply.

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Council of the Federation (Canada's Premiers)

The Council of the Federation (COF, also known as “Canada’s Premiers”) is the organization which supports top-level provincial-territorial (PT) relations in Canada. It was founded in 2003 as a formalization of the Annual Premiers’ Conference, which had occurred annually from 1960 to 2003. Although frequently focused on the federal government, COF also serves as an increasingly important forum for provincial-territorial relations (separate from the federal government) in Canada.

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