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Macleans

Referendum Question Unveiled

Finally, the question. It is not long: only 41 words in French, 43 in English. Nor is it as clear as Jacques Parizeau always promised it would be. It is, in fact, cloaked in ambiguity, carefully crafted to obscure the full magnitude of the decision that awaits Quebec's 4.9 million voters.

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Prison Ships in Canada: A Little-Known Story

On 15 July 1940, an unusual vessel docked at the Port of Québec, and a crowd gathered to greet the new arrival. The small craft used for patrolling and transportation on the St. Lawrence River at Québec City, the Jeffy Jan II — rechristened HMC Harbour Craft 54 by the young Canadian Navy during the war — was sent to surveil the ship and its sensitive cargo and passengers. The vessel in question was the prison ship MS Sobieski.

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Distribution of Powers

Distribution of powers refers to the division of legislative powers and responsibilities between the federal and provincial governments. The areas of distribution were first outlined at the Quebec Conference in 1864 (see Quebec Resolutions) and are enshrined in the Constitution Act, 1867. They have been a source of debate and tension between the provinces and the federal government for generations. (See Federal-Provincial Relations.) However, this part of the Constitution has remained remarkably unchanged since Confederation.

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Gerald Stanley Case

On 9 February 2018, Gerald Stanley, a white farmer in rural Saskatchewan, was acquitted of murder and manslaughter in the killing of Colten Boushie, a 22-year-old Cree man. The acquittal caused great controversy but was not appealed by prosecutors. However, it led the Justin Trudeau government to abolish peremptory challenges, which allowed Stanley’s legal team to keep five Indigenous people off the all-white jury that acquitted him. In 2021, an investigation conducted by a civilian watchdog concluded that that the RCMP was insensitive and racially discriminatory toward Boushie’s mother, and that the police mishandled witnesses and evidence. A Globe and Mail investigation also found that the RCMP “destroyed records of police communications from the night Colten Boushie died.”

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Bloc Québécois

The Bloc Québécois is a federal political party that was created officially on 15 June 1991 (registered by Elections Canada on 11 September 1993). It was founded as a parliamentary movement composed of Quebec MPs who left the Conservative and Liberal parties after the failure of the Meech Lake Accord. The party promotes Quebec's interests and Quebec sovereignty in the House of Commons. The party only runs candidates in the province of Quebec.

Yves-François Blanchet became leader of the party in January 2019. Under Blanchet, the Bloc won 32 seats in the October 2019 federal election, returning it to official party status.

See Canadian Electoral System; Voting Behaviour in Canada.

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Property Law

Property, in the legal sense, can mean real property in the form of land and buildings, or personal, movable property. Property law — whether under the common law in most of Canada, or the Civil Code in Quebec — deals with a wide range of rights and obligations owing to individuals and governments, and has evolved enormously, particularly in fairness to women, since the 19th Century.

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Law

Law governs the relationship of society's individual members to each other and to society as a whole. Every human society has a legal system, because every society must attempt to resolve the basic conflict between the needs of the individual and those of the community.

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Treaty 11

Treaty 11 is the last of the Numbered Treaties, signed between First Nations and the Canadian government in 1921. It covers more than 950,000 km2 of present-day Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. The terms of Treaty 11 have had ongoing legal and socio-economic impacts on Indigenous communities.

Macleans

Inside the Kyoto Deal

Alberta’s energy minister, Steve West, spent much of last week wearing a tight smile, his clenched jaw and square shoulders set as firmly as his conviction that people who blame the oilpatch for the next century’s foul weather have lost their heads.

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Ontario Schools Question

The Ontario schools question was the first major schools issue to focus on language rather than religion. In Ontario, French or French-language education remained a contentious issue for nearly a century, from 1890 to 1980, with English-speaking Catholics and Protestants aligned against French-speaking Catholics.

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Government

Canada’s federal and provincial governments are divided into three branches — the legislative, executive and judicial.

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Judiciary in Canada

The judiciary is, collectively, the judges of the courts of law. It is the branch of government in which judicial power is vested. It is independent of the legislative and executive branches. Judges are public officers appointed to preside in a court of justice, to interpret and apply the laws of Canada. They are responsible for adjudicating personal, sensitive, delicate, and emotional disputes; and for resolving major social, economic, and political issues that arise within a legal context. As such, the judiciary helps mold the social fabric governing daily life.

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Statistics Canada

Statistics Canada is the nation’s central statistical agency. It was established in 1918 as the Dominion Bureau of Statistics and adopted its present name in 1971. Under the Statistics Act of that year, it has the responsibility to “collect, compile, analyse, abstract and publish statistical information relating to the commercial, industrial, financial, social, economic and general activities and condition of the people.” The agency works with government departments to develop integrated social and economic statistics for Canada and the provinces and territories. In addition, Statistics Canada is a scientific research organization that develops methodologies and techniques related to statistics and survey design.

Macleans

Quebec Election Campaign

On the crisp wintry morning after the televised leaders debate that was supposed to save his sinking election campaign, Quebec Liberal Leader Jean Charest took his remaining hopes home to the comfort of Quebec’s Eastern Townships.