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The Breadwinner (2001) is the first book in a series of young adult novels set in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan by writer and activist Deborah Ellis. It was followed by Parvana’s Journey (2002), Mud City (2003) and the final book, My Name is Parvana (2012). Inspired by Ellis’s interviews with Afghan women in refugee camps, the series begins with 11-year-old Parvana, who must disguise herself as a boy to support her family after her father is arrested by the Taliban. It is a story of courage and empowerment and sheds light on the horrors of war, especially for the children caught in the crossfire. The Breadwinner was shortlisted for the Trillium Book Award, while Parvana’s Journey was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award. Nora Twomey’s animated adaptation of The Breadwinner (2017) received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for best animated feature, as well as four Canadian Screen Awards and numerous other honours.
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.
About nine per cent of Canadians live in poverty, although the percentage is generally higher among certain groups such as single mothers and Aboriginal people. Low-income Canadians include the "working poor" — those with jobs — and the "welfare poor" — those relying mainly on government assistance.
Child labour is defined as the regular employment of boys and girls under the age of 15 or 16. Attitudes toward child labour have altered dramatically since the late 18th century, when it was generally assumed that children should contribute to the family economy from about age seven.
The “Sixties Scoop” refers to the large-scale removal or “scooping” of Indigenous children from their homes, communities and families of birth through the 1960s, and their subsequent adoption into predominantly non-Indigenous, middle-class families across the United States and Canada. This experience left many adoptees with a lost sense of cultural identity. The physical and emotional separation from their birth families continues to affect adult adoptees and Indigenous communities to this day.
Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF)
The Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) was founded in Calgary in 1932. It was a political coalition of progressive, socialist and labour groups. It sought economic reform to help Canadians affected by the Great Depression. The party governed Saskatchewan under Premier Tommy Douglas, who went on to be the first leader of the federal New Democratic Party (NDP). The CCF merged with the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) to form the NDP in 1961. Although the CCF never held power nationally, the adoption of many of its ideas by ruling parties contributed greatly to the development of the Canadian welfare state.
The Great Depression in Canada
The Great Depression of the early 1930s was a worldwide social and economic shock. Few countries were affected as severely as Canada. Millions of Canadians were left unemployed, hungry and often homeless. The decade became known as the Dirty Thirties due to a crippling drought in the Prairies, as well as Canada’s dependence on raw material and farm exports. Widespread losses of jobs and savings transformed the country. The Depression triggered the birth of social welfare and the rise of populist political movements. It also led the government to take a more activist role in the economy.