Government of Canada - History

Government of Canada - History

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name: Ottawa
geographic coordinates: 45 25 N, 75 42 W

Administrative divisions: This entry generally gives the numbers, designatory terms, and first-order administrative divisions as approved by the US Board on Geographic Names (BGN). Changes that have been reported but not yet acted on by the BGN are noted. Geographic names conform to spellings approved by the BGN with the exception of the omission of diacritical marks and special characters. Administrative divisions field listing
10 provinces and 3 territories*; Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories*, Nova Scotia, Nunavut*, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Yukon*
Independence: For most countries, this entry gives the date that sovereignty was achieved and from which nation, empire, or trusteeship. For the other countries, the date given may not represent "independence" in the strict sense, but rather some significant nationhood event such as the traditional founding date or the date of unification, federation, confederation, establishment, fundamental change in the form of government, or state succession. For a number of countries, the establishment of statehood . more Independence field listing
1 July 1867 (union of British North American colonies);11 December 1931 (recognized by UK per Statute of Westminster)
National holiday: This entry gives the primary national day of celebration - usually independence day. National holiday field listing
Canada Day, 1 July (1867)
Constitution: This entry provides information on a country’s constitution and includes two subfields. The history subfield includes the dates of previous constitutions and the main steps and dates in formulating and implementing the latest constitution. For countries with 1-3 previous constitutions, the years are listed; for those with 4-9 previous, the entry is listed as “several previous,” and for those with 10 or more, the entry is “many previous.” The amendments subfield summarizes the process of am . more Constitution field listing
history: consists of unwritten and written acts, customs, judicial decisions, and traditions dating from 1763; the written part of the constitution consists of the Constitution Act of 29 March 1867, which created a federation of four provinces, and the Constitution Act of 17 April 1982 (2018)
amendments: proposed by either house of Parliament or by the provincial legislative assemblies; there are 5 methods for passage though most require approval by both houses of Parliament, approval of at least two-thirds of the provincial legislative assemblies and assent to and formalization as a proclamation by the governor general in council; the most restrictive method is reserved for amendments affecting fundamental sections of the constitution such as the office of the monarch or the governor general, and the constitutional amendment procedures, which require the unanimous approval by both houses and by all the provincial assemblies, and assent to by the governor general in council; amended 11 times, last in 2011 (Fair Representation Act, 2011) (2018)
Legal system: This entry provides the description of a country's legal system. A statement on judicial review of legislative acts is also included for a number of countries. The legal systems of nearly all countries are generally modeled upon elements of five main types: civil law (including French law, the Napoleonic Code, Roman law, Roman-Dutch law, and Spanish law); common law (including United State law); customary law; mixed or pluralistic law; and religious law (including Islamic law). An addition . more Legal system field listing
common law system except in Quebec, where civil law based on the French civil code prevails
International law organization participation: This entry includes information on a country's acceptance of jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and of the International Criminal Court (ICCt); 59 countries have accepted ICJ jurisdiction with reservations and 11 have accepted ICJ jurisdiction without reservations; 122 countries have accepted ICCt jurisdiction. Appendix B: International Organizations and Groups explains the differing mandates of the ICJ and ICCt. International law organization participation field listing
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Citizenship: This entry provides information related to the acquisition and exercise of citizenship; it includes four subfields: citizenship by birth describes the acquisition of citizenship based on place of birth, known as Jus soli, regardless of the citizenship of parents. citizenship by descent only describes the acquisition of citizenship based on the principle of Jus sanguinis, or by descent, where at least one parent is a citizen of the state and being born within the territorial limits of the . more Citizenship field listing
citizenship by birth: yes
citizenship by descent only: yes
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: minimum of 3 of last 5 years resident in Canada
Suffrage: This entry gives the age at enfranchisement and whether the right to vote is universal or restricted. Suffrage field listing
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: This entry includes five subentries: chief of state; head of government; cabinet; elections/appointments; election results. Chief of state includes the name, title, and beginning date in office of the titular leader of the country who represents the state at official and ceremonial functions but may not be involved with the day-to-day activities of the government. Head of government includes the name, title of the top executive designated to manage the executive branch of the government, a . more Executive branch field listing
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Julie PAYETTE (since 2 October 2017)
head of government: Prime Minister Justin Pierre James TRUDEAU (Liberal Party) (since 4 November 2015)
cabinet: Federal Ministry chosen by the prime minister usually from among members of his/her own party sitting in Parliament
elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the advice of the prime minister for a 5-year term; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition in the House of Commons generally designated prime minister by the governor general
note: the governor general position is largely ceremonial; Julie PAYETTE, a former space shuttle astronaut, is Canada's fourth female governor general but the first to have flown in space
Legislative branch: This entry has three subfields. The description subfield provides the legislative structure (unicameral – single house; bicameral – an upper and a lower house); formal name(s); number of member seats; types of constituencies or voting districts (single seat, multi-seat, nationwide); electoral voting system(s); and member term of office. The elections subfield includes the dates of the last election and next election. The election results subfield lists percent of vote by party/coalition an . more Legislative branch field listing
description: bicameral Parliament or Parlement consists of:
Senate or Senat (105 seats; members appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister and can serve until age 75)
House of Commons or Chambre des Communes (338 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote with terms up to 4 years)
House of Commons - last held on 19 October 2015 (next to be held in 2019)
election results:
House of Commons - percent of vote by party - Liberal Party 39.5%, CPC 31.9%, NDP 19.7%, Bloc Quebecois 4.7%, Greens 3.4%, other 0.8%; seats by party - Liberal Party 184, CPC 99, NDP 44, Bloc Quebecois 3, Greens 1, independent 7
Judicial branch: This entry includes three subfields. The highest court(s) subfield includes the name(s) of a country's highest level court(s), the number and titles of the judges, and the types of cases heard by the court, which commonly are based on civil, criminal, administrative, and constitutional law. A number of countries have separate constitutional courts. The judge selection and term of office subfield includes the organizations and associated officials responsible for nominating and appointing j . more Judicial branch field listing
highest courts: Supreme Court of Canada (consists of the chief justice and 8 judges); note - in 1949, Canada abolished all appeals beyond its Supreme Court, which prior to that time, were heard by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London)
judge selection and term of office: chief justice and judges appointed by the prime minister in council; all judges appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 75
subordinate courts: federal level: Federal Court of Appeal; Federal Court; Tax Court; federal administrative tribunals; Courts Martial; provincial/territorial level: provincial superior, appeals, first instance, and specialized courts; in 1999, the Nunavut Court - a circuit court with the power of a provincial superior court, as well as a territorial court - was established to serve isolated settlements
Political parties and leaders: This entry includes a listing of significant political parties, coalitions, and electoral lists as of each country's last legislative election, unless otherwise noted. Political parties and leaders field listing
Bloc Quebecois [Martine OUELLET]
Conservative Party of Canada or CPC [Andrew SCHEER]
Green Party [Elizabeth MAY]
Liberal Party [Justin TRUDEAU]
New Democratic Party or NDP [Jagmeet SINGH]


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Canada, second largest country in the world in area (after Russia), occupying roughly the northern two-fifths of the continent of North America.

Despite Canada’s great size, it is one of the world’s most sparsely populated countries. This fact, coupled with the grandeur of the landscape, has been central to the sense of Canadian national identity, as expressed by the Dublin-born writer Anna Brownell Jameson, who explored central Ontario in 1837 and remarked exultantly on “the seemingly interminable line of trees before you the boundless wilderness around you the mysterious depths amid the multitudinous foliage, where foot of man hath never penetrated…the solitude in which we proceeded mile after mile, no human being, no human dwelling within sight.” Although Canadians are comparatively few in number, however, they have crafted what many observers consider to be a model multicultural society, welcoming immigrant populations from every other continent. In addition, Canada harbours and exports a wealth of natural resources and intellectual capital equaled by few other countries.

Canada is officially bilingual in English and French, reflecting the country’s history as ground once contested by two of Europe’s great powers. The word Canada is derived from the Huron-Iroquois kanata, meaning a village or settlement. In the 16th century, French explorer Jacques Cartier used the name Canada to refer to the area around the settlement that is now Quebec city. Later, Canada was used as a synonym for New France, which, from 1534 to 1763, included all the French possessions along the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes. After the British conquest of New France, the name Quebec was sometimes used instead of Canada. The name Canada was fully restored after 1791, when Britain divided old Quebec into the provinces of Upper and Lower Canada (renamed in 1841 Canada West and Canada East, respectively, and collectively called Canada). In 1867 the British North America Act created a confederation from three colonies (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Canada) called the Dominion of Canada. The act also divided the old colony of Canada into the separate provinces of Ontario and Quebec. Dominion status allowed Canada a large measure of self-rule, but matters pertaining to international diplomacy and military alliances were reserved to the British crown. Canada became entirely self-governing within the British Empire in 1931, though full legislative independence was not achieved until 1982, when Canada obtained the right to amend its own constitution.

Canada shares a 5,525-mile- (8,890-km-) long border with the United States (including Alaska)—the longest border in the world not patrolled by military forces—and the overwhelming majority of its population lives within 185 miles (300 km) of the international boundary. Although Canada shares many similarities with its southern neighbour—and, indeed, its popular culture and that of the United States are in many regards indistinguishable—the differences between the two countries, both temperamental and material, are profound. “The central fact of Canadian history,” observed the 20th-century literary critic Northrop Frye, is “the rejection of the American Revolution.” Contemporary Canadians are inclined to favour orderly central government and a sense of community over individualism in international affairs, they are more likely to serve the role of peacemaker instead of warrior, and, whether at home or abroad, they are likely to have a pluralistic way of viewing the world. More than that, Canadians live in a society that in most legal and official matters resembles Britain—at least in the English-speaking portion of the country. Quebec, in particular, exhibits French adaptations: more than three-fourths of its population speaks French as their primary language. The French character in Quebec is also reflected in differences in religion, architecture, and schooling. Elsewhere in Canada, French influence is less apparent, confined largely to the dual use of French and English for place names, product labels, and road signs. The French and British influences are supplemented by the cultures of the country’s Native American peoples (in Canada often collectively called the First Nations) and Inuit peoples, the former being far greater in number and the latter enjoying semiautonomous status in Canada’s newest territory, Nunavut. (The latter prefer the term Inuit, which is commonly used in Canada, to the term Eskimo.) In addition, the growing number of immigrants from other European countries, Southeast Asia, and Latin America has made Canada even more broadly multicultural.

Canada has been an influential member of the Commonwealth and has played a leading role in the organization of French-speaking countries known as La Francophonie. It was a founding member of the United Nations and has been active in a number of major UN agencies and other worldwide operations. In 1989 Canada joined the Organization of American States and signed a free trade agreement with the United States, a pact that was superseded in 1992 by the North American Free Trade Agreement (which also includes Mexico). A founding member (1961) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Canada is also a member of the Group of Seven (G7), which includes the world’s seven largest industrial democracies and, as the Group of Eight (G8), had included Russia until it was indefinitely suspended from membership in 2014.

The national capital is Ottawa, Canada’s fourth largest city. It lies some 250 miles (400 km) northeast of Toronto and 125 miles (200 km) west of Montreal, respectively Canada’s first and second cities in terms of population and economic, cultural, and educational importance. The third largest city is Vancouver, a centre for trade with the Pacific Rim countries and the principal western gateway to Canada’s developing interior. Other major metropolitan areas include Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta Quebec city, Quebec and Winnipeg, Manitoba.

History of Canada

The first people to live in Canada were the Inuit and First Nation Peoples. The first Europeans to reach the country were likely the Vikings and it is believed that Norse explorer Leif Eriksson led them to the coast of Labrador or Nova Scotia in 1000 CE.

European settlement did not begin in Canada until the 1500s. In 1534, French explorer Jacques Cartier discovered the St. Lawrence River while searching for fur and shortly thereafter, he claimed Canada for France. The French began to settle there in 1541 but an official settlement was not established until 1604. That settlement, called Port Royal, was located in what is now Nova Scotia.

In addition to the French, the English also began exploring Canada for its fur and fish trade and in 1670 established the Hudson's Bay Company. In 1713, a conflict developed between the English and French and the English won control of Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and Hudson Bay. The Seven Year’s War, in which England sought to gain more control of the country, then began in 1756. That war ended in 1763 and England was given full control of Canada with the Treaty of Paris.

In the years after the Treaty of Paris, English colonists flocked to Canada from England and the United States. In 1849, Canada was given the right to self-government and the country of Canada was officially established in 1867. It was comprised of Upper Canada (the area that became Ontario), Lower Canada (the area that became Quebec), Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick.

In 1869, Canada continued to grow when it bought land from the Hudson’s Bay Company. This land was later divided into different provinces, one of which was Manitoba. It joined Canada in 1870 followed by British Columbia in 1871 and Prince Edward Island in 1873. The country then grew again in 1901 when Alberta and Saskatchewan joined Canada. It remained this size until 1949 when Newfoundland became the 10th province.


Indigenous societies Edit

Archeological and Indigenous genetic evidence indicate that North and South America were the last continents into which humans migrated. [1] During the Wisconsin glaciation, 50,000–17,000 years ago, falling sea levels allowed people to move gradually across the Bering land bridge (Beringia), from Siberia into northwest North America. [2] At that point, they were blocked by the Laurentide Ice Sheet that covered most of Canada, confining them to Alaska and the Yukon for thousands of years. [3] The exact dates and routes of the peopling of the Americas are the subject of an ongoing debate. [4] [5]

By 16,000 years ago the glacial melt allowed people to move by land south and east out of Beringia, and into Canada. [6] The Haida Gwaii islands, Old Crow Flats, and the Bluefish Caves contain some of the earliest Paleo-Indian archeological sites in Canada. [7] [8] [9] Ice Age hunter-gatherers of this period left lithic flake fluted stone tools and the remains of large butchered mammals.

The North American climate stabilized around 8000 BCE (10,000 years ago). Climatic conditions were similar to modern patterns however, the receding glacial ice sheets still covered large portions of the land, creating lakes of meltwater. [10] Most population groups during the Archaic periods were still highly mobile hunter-gatherers. [11] However, individual groups started to focus on resources available to them locally thus with the passage of time, there is a pattern of increasing regional generalization (i.e.: Paleo-Arctic, Plano and Maritime Archaic traditions). [11]

The Woodland cultural period dates from about 2000 BCE to 1000 CE and is applied to the Ontario, Quebec, and Maritime regions. [12] The introduction of pottery distinguishes the Woodland culture from the previous Archaic-stage inhabitants. The Laurentian-related people of Ontario manufactured the oldest pottery excavated to date in Canada. [13]

The Hopewell tradition is an Indigenous culture that flourished along American rivers from 300 BCE to 500 CE. At its greatest extent, the Hopewell Exchange System connected cultures and societies to the peoples on the Canadian shores of Lake Ontario. [14] Canadian expression of the Hopewellian peoples encompasses the Point Peninsula, Saugeen, and Laurel complexes. [15]

The eastern woodland areas of what became Canada were home to the Algonquian and Iroquoian peoples. The Algonquian language is believed to have originated in the western plateau of Idaho or the plains of Montana and moved with migrants eastward, [16] eventually extending in various manifestations all the way from Hudson Bay to what is today Nova Scotia in the east and as far south as the Tidewater region of Virginia. [17]

Speakers of eastern Algonquian languages included the Mi'kmaq and Abenaki of the Maritime region of Canada and likely the extinct Beothuk of Newfoundland. [18] [19] The Ojibwa and other Anishinaabe speakers of the central Algonquian languages retain an oral tradition of having moved to their lands around the western and central Great Lakes from the sea, likely the Atlantic coast. [20] According to oral tradition, the Ojibwa formed the Council of Three Fires in 796 CE with the Odawa and the Potawatomi. [21]

The Five Nations of the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) were centred from at least 1000 CE in northern New York, but their influence extended into what is now southern Ontario and the Montreal area of modern Quebec. They spoke varieties of Iroquoian languages. [22] The Iroquois Confederacy, according to oral tradition, was formed in 1142 CE. [23] [24] In addition, there were other Iroquoian-speaking peoples in the area, including the St. Lawrence Iroquoians, the Erie, and others.

On the Great Plains, the Cree or Nēhilawē (who spoke a closely related Central Algonquian language, the plains Cree language) depended on the vast herds of bison to supply food and many of their other needs. [25] To the northwest were the peoples of the Na-Dene languages, which include the Athapaskan-speaking peoples and the Tlingit, who lived on the islands of southern Alaska and northern British Columbia. The Na-Dene language group is believed to be linked to the Yeniseian languages of Siberia. [26] The Dene of the western Arctic may represent a distinct wave of migration from Asia to North America. [26]

The Interior of British Columbia was home to the Salishan language groups such as the Shuswap (Secwepemc), Okanagan and southern Athabaskan language groups, primarily the Dakelh (Carrier) and the Tsilhqot'in. [27] The inlets and valleys of the British Columbia Coast sheltered large, distinctive populations, such as the Haida, Kwakwaka'wakw and Nuu-chah-nulth, sustained by the region's abundant salmon and shellfish. [27] These peoples developed complex cultures dependent on the western red cedar that included wooden houses, seagoing whaling and war canoes and elaborately carved potlatch items and totem poles. [27]

In the Arctic archipelago, the distinctive Paleo-Eskimos known as Dorset peoples, whose culture has been traced back to around 500 BCE, were replaced by the ancestors of today's Inuit by 1500 CE. [28] This transition is supported by archeological records and Inuit mythology that tells of having driven off the Tuniit or 'first inhabitants'. [29] Inuit traditional laws are anthropologically different from Western law. Customary law was non-existent in Inuit society before the introduction of the Canadian legal system. [30]

European contact Edit

The Norse, who had settled Greenland and Iceland, arrived around 1000 CE and built a small settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows at the northernmost tip of Newfoundland (carbon dating estimate 990 – 1050 CE). [31] L'Anse aux Meadows, the only confirmed Norse site in North America outside of Greenland, is also notable for its connection with the attempted settlement of Vinland by Leif Erikson around the same period or, more broadly, with Norse exploration of the Americas. [31] [32]

Under letters patent from King Henry VII of England, the Italian John Cabot became the first European known to have landed in Canada after the Viking Age. Records indicate that on June 24, 1497 he sighted land at a northern location believed to be somewhere in the Atlantic provinces. [33] Official tradition deemed the first landing site to be at Cape Bonavista, Newfoundland, although other locations are possible. [34] After 1497 Cabot and his son Sebastian Cabot continued to make other voyages to find the Northwest Passage, and other explorers continued to sail out of England to the New World, although the details of these voyages are not well recorded. [35]

Based on the Treaty of Tordesillas, the Spanish Crown claimed it had territorial rights in the area visited by John Cabot in 1497 and 1498 CE. [36] However, Portuguese explorers like João Fernandes Lavrador would continue to visit the north Atlantic coast, which accounts for the appearance of "Labrador" on maps of the period. [37] In 1501 and 1502 the Corte-Real brothers explored Newfoundland (Terra Nova) and Labrador claiming these lands as part of the Portuguese Empire. [37] [38] In 1506, King Manuel I of Portugal created taxes for the cod fisheries in Newfoundland waters. [39] João Álvares Fagundes and Pêro de Barcelos established fishing outposts in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia around 1521 CE however, these were later abandoned, with the Portuguese colonizers focusing their efforts on South America. [40] The extent and nature of Portuguese activity on the Canadian mainland during the 16th century remains unclear and controversial. [41] [42]

French interest in the New World began with Francis I of France, who in 1524 sponsored Giovanni da Verrazzano's navigation of the region between Florida and Newfoundland in hopes of finding a route to the Pacific Ocean. [43] Although the English had laid claims to it in 1497 when John Cabot made landfall somewhere on the North American coast (likely either modern-day Newfoundland or Nova Scotia) and had claimed the land for England on behalf of Henry VII, [44] these claims were not exercised and England did not attempt to create a permanent colony. As for the French, however, Jacques Cartier planted a cross in the Gaspé Peninsula in 1534 and claimed the land in the name of Francis I, creating a region called "Canada" the following summer. [45] Cartier had sailed up the St. Lawrence river as far as the Lachine Rapids, to the spot where Montreal now stands. [46] Permanent settlement attempts by Cartier at Charlesbourg-Royal in 1541, at Sable Island in 1598 by Marquis de La Roche-Mesgouez, and at Tadoussac, Quebec in 1600 by François Gravé Du Pont all eventually failed. [47] Despite these initial failures, French fishing fleets visited the Atlantic coast communities and sailed into the St. Lawrence River, trading and making alliances with First Nations, [48] as well as establishing fishing settlements such as in Percé (1603). [49] As a result of France's claim and activities in the colony of Canada, the name Canada was found on international maps showing the existence of this colony within the St. Lawrence river region. [50]

In 1604, a North American fur trade monopoly was granted to Pierre Du Gua, Sieur de Mons. [51] The fur trade became one of the main economic ventures in North America. [52] Du Gua led his first colonization expedition to an island located near the mouth of the St. Croix River. Among his lieutenants was a geographer named Samuel de Champlain, who promptly carried out a major exploration of the northeastern coastline of what is now the United States. [51] In the spring of 1605, under Samuel de Champlain, the new St. Croix settlement was moved to Port Royal (today's Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia). [53] Samuel de Champlain also landed at Saint John Harbour on June 24, 1604 (the feast of St. John the Baptist) and is where the city of Saint John, New Brunswick, and the Saint John River gets its name. [54]

In 1608 Champlain founded what is now Quebec City, one of the earliest permanent settlements, which would become the capital of New France. [55] He took personal administration over the city and its affairs, and sent out expeditions to explore the interior. [56] Champlain became the first known European to encounter Lake Champlain in 1609. By 1615, he had travelled by canoe up the Ottawa River through Lake Nipissing and Georgian Bay to the centre of Huron country near Lake Simcoe. [57] During these voyages, Champlain aided the Wendat (aka "Hurons") in their battles against the Iroquois Confederacy. [58] As a result, the Iroquois would become enemies of the French and be involved in multiple conflicts (known as the French and Iroquois Wars) until the signing of the Great Peace of Montreal in 1701. [59]

The English, led by Humphrey Gilbert, had claimed St. John's, Newfoundland, in 1583 as the first North American English colony by royal prerogative of Queen Elizabeth I. [60] In the reign of King James I, the English established additional colonies in Cupids and Ferryland, Newfoundland, and soon after established the first successful permanent settlements of Virginia to the south. [61] On September 29, 1621, a charter for the foundation of a New World Scottish colony was granted by King James to Sir William Alexander. [62] In 1622, the first settlers left Scotland. They initially failed and permanent Nova Scotian settlements were not firmly established until 1629 during the end of the Anglo-French War. [62] These colonies did not last long except the fisheries in Ferryland under Sir David Kirke. [63] In 1631, under Charles I of England, the Treaty of Suza was signed, ending the war and returning Nova Scotia to the French. [64] New France was not fully restored to French rule until the 1632 Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. [65] This led to new French immigrants and the founding of Trois-Rivières in 1634. [66]

After Champlain's death in 1635, the Roman Catholic Church and the Jesuit establishment became the most dominant force in New France and hoped to establish a utopian European and Aboriginal Christian community. [67] In 1642, the Sulpicians sponsored a group of settlers led by Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve, who founded Ville-Marie, precursor to present-day Montreal. [68] In 1663 the French crown took direct control of the colonies from the Company of New France. [69]

Although immigration rates to New France remained very low under direct French control, [70] most of the new arrivals were farmers, and the rate of population growth among the settlers themselves had been very high. [71] The women had about 30 per cent more children than comparable women who remained in France. [72] Yves Landry says, "Canadians had an exceptional diet for their time." [72] This was due to the natural abundance of meat, fish, and pure water the good food conservation conditions during the winter and an adequate wheat supply in most years. [72] The 1666 census of New France was conducted by France's intendant, Jean Talon, in the winter of 1665–1666. The census showed a population count of 3,215 Acadians and habitants (French-Canadian farmers) in the administrative districts of Acadia and Canada. [73] The census also revealed a great difference in the number of men at 2,034 versus 1,181 women. [74]

Wars during the colonial era Edit

By the early 1700s the New France settlers were well established along the shores of the Saint Lawrence River and parts of Nova Scotia, with a population around 16,000. [75] However new arrivals stopped coming from France in the proceeding decades, [76] [77] [78] resulting in the English and Scottish settlers in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and the southern Thirteen Colonies to vastly outnumber the French population approximately ten to one by the 1750s. [70] [79]

From 1670, through the Hudson's Bay Company, the English also laid claim to Hudson Bay and its drainage basin known as Rupert's Land establishing new trading posts and forts, while continuing to operate fishing settlements in Newfoundland. [80] French expansion along the Canadian canoe routes challenged the Hudson's Bay Company claims, and in 1686, Pierre Troyes led an overland expedition from Montreal to the shore of the bay, where they managed to capture a handful of outposts. [81] La Salle's explorations gave France a claim to the Mississippi River Valley, where fur trappers and a few settlers set up scattered forts and settlements. [82]

There were four French and Indian Wars and two additional wars in Acadia and Nova Scotia between the Thirteen American Colonies and New France from 1688 to 1763. During King William's War (1688 to 1697), military conflicts in Acadia included: Battle of Port Royal (1690) a naval battle in the Bay of Fundy (Action of July 14, 1696) and the Raid on Chignecto (1696) . [83] The Treaty of Ryswick in 1697 ended the war between the two colonial powers of England and France for a brief time. [84] During Queen Anne's War (1702 to 1713), the British Conquest of Acadia occurred in 1710, [85] resulting in Nova Scotia, other than Cape Breton, being officially ceded to the British by the Treaty of Utrecht including Rupert's Land, which France had conquered in the late 17th century (Battle of Hudson's Bay). [86] As an immediate result of this setback, France founded the powerful Fortress of Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island. [87]

Louisbourg was intended to serve as a year-round military and naval base for France's remaining North American empire and to protect the entrance to the St. Lawrence River. Father Rale's War resulted in both the fall of New France influence in present-day Maine and the British recognition of having to negotiate with the Mi'kmaq in Nova Scotia. During King George's War (1744 to 1748), an army of New Englanders led by William Pepperrell mounted an expedition of 90 vessels and 4,000 men against Louisbourg in 1745. [88] Within three months the fortress surrendered. The return of Louisbourg to French control by the peace treaty prompted the British to found Halifax in 1749 under Edward Cornwallis. [89] Despite the official cessation of war between the British and French empires with the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle the conflict in Acadia and Nova Scotia continued on as the Father Le Loutre's War. [90]

The British ordered the Acadians expelled from their lands in 1755 during the French and Indian War, an event called the Expulsion of the Acadians or le Grand Dérangement. [91] The "expulsion" resulted in approximately 12,000 Acadians being shipped to destinations throughout Britain's North America and to France, Quebec and the French Caribbean colony of Saint-Domingue. [92] The first wave of the expulsion of the Acadians began with the Bay of Fundy Campaign (1755) and the second wave began after the final Siege of Louisbourg (1758). Many of the Acadians settled in southern Louisiana, creating the Cajun culture there. [93] Some Acadians managed to hide and others eventually returned to Nova Scotia, but they were far outnumbered by a new migration of New England Planters who were settled on the former lands of the Acadians and transformed Nova Scotia from a colony of occupation for the British to a settled colony with stronger ties to New England. [93] Britain eventually gained control of Quebec City after the Battle of the Plains of Abraham and the Battle of Fort Niagara in 1759, and finally captured Montreal in 1760. [94]

As part of the terms of the Treaty of Paris (1763), signed after the defeat of New France in the Seven Years' War, France renounced its claims to territory in mainland North America, except for fishing rights off Newfoundland and the two small islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon where its fishermen could dry their fish. France had already secretly transferred its vast Louisiana territory to Spain under the Treaty of Fontainebleau (1762) in which King Louis XV of France had given his cousin King Charles III of Spain the entire area of the drainage basin of the Mississippi River from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico and from the Appalachian Mountains to the Rocky Mountains. France and Spain kept the Treaty of Fontainebleau secret from other countries until 1764. [95] Britain returned to France its most important sugar-producing colony, Guadeloupe, which the French considered more valuable than Canada. (Guadeloupe produced more sugar than all the British islands combined, and Voltaire had notoriously dismissed Canada as "Quelques arpents de neige", "A few acres of snow"). [96]

Following the Treaty of Paris, King George III issued the Royal Proclamation of 1763. [97] The proclamation organized Great Britain's new North American empire and stabilized relations between the British Crown and Aboriginal peoples, formally recognizing aboriginal title, regulated trade, settlement, and land purchases on the western frontier. [97] In the former French territory, the new British rulers of Canada first abolished and then later reinstated most of the property, religious, political, and social culture of the French-speaking habitants, guaranteeing the right of the Canadiens to practice the Catholic faith and to the use of French civil law (now Quebec Civil Code) through the Quebec Act of 1774. [98]

American Revolution and the Loyalists Edit

During the American Revolution, there was some sympathy for the American cause among the Acadians and the New Englanders in Nova Scotia. [99] Neither party joined the rebels, although several hundred individuals joined the revolutionary cause. [99] [100] An invasion of Quebec by the Continental Army in 1775, with a goal to take Quebec from British control, was halted at the Battle of Quebec by Guy Carleton, with the assistance of local militias. The defeat of the British army during the Siege of Yorktown in October 1781 signalled the end of Britain's struggle to suppress the American Revolution. [101]

When the British evacuated New York City in 1783, they took many Loyalist refugees to Nova Scotia, while other Loyalists went to southwestern Quebec. So many Loyalists arrived on the shores of the St. John River that a separate colony—New Brunswick—was created in 1784 [102] followed in 1791 by the division of Quebec into the largely French-speaking Lower Canada (French Canada) along the St. Lawrence River and Gaspé Peninsula and an anglophone Loyalist Upper Canada, with its capital settled by 1796 in York (present-day Toronto). [103] After 1790 most of the new settlers were American farmers searching for new lands although generally favourable to republicanism, they were relatively non-political and stayed neutral in the War of 1812. [104] In 1785, Saint John, New Brunswick became the first incorporated city in what would later become Canada. [54]

The signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1783 formally ended the war. Britain made several concessions to the Americans at the expense of the North American colonies. [105] Notably, the borders between Canada and the United States were officially demarcated [105] all land south of the Great Lakes, which was formerly a part of the Province of Quebec and included modern-day Michigan, Illinois and Ohio, was ceded to the Americans. Fishing rights were also granted to the United States in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and on the coast of Newfoundland and the Grand Banks. [105] The British ignored part of the treaty and maintained their military outposts in the Great Lakes areas it had ceded to the U.S., and they continued to supply their native allies with munitions. The British evacuated the outposts with the Jay Treaty of 1795, but the continued supply of munitions irritated the Americans in the run-up to the War of 1812. [106]

Canadian historians have had mixed views on the long-term impact of the American Revolution. Arthur Lower in the 1950s provided the long-standard historical interpretation that for English Canada the results were counter-revolutionary:

[English Canada] inherited, not the benefits, but the bitterness of the Revolution…. English Canada started its life with as powerful a nostalgic shove backward into the past as the Conquest had given to French Canada: two little peoples officially devoted to counter-revolution, to lost causes, to the tawdry ideals of a society of men and masters, and not to the self-reliant freedom alongside of them. [107]

Recently Michel Ducharme has agreed that Canada did indeed oppose "republican liberty", as exemplified by the United States and France. However, he says it did find a different path forward when it fought against British rulers after 1837 to secure "modern liberty". That form of liberty focused not on the virtues of citizens but on protecting their rights from infringement by the state. [108] [109]

War of 1812 Edit

The War of 1812 was fought between the United States and the British, with the British North American colonies being heavily involved. [110] Greatly outgunned by the British Royal Navy, the American war plans focused on an invasion of Canada (especially what is today eastern and western Ontario). The American frontier states voted for war to suppress the First Nations raids that frustrated settlement of the frontier. [110] The war on the border with the United States was characterized by a series of multiple failed invasions and fiascos on both sides. American forces took control of Lake Erie in 1813, driving the British out of western Ontario, killing the Shawnee leader Tecumseh, and breaking the military power of his confederacy. [111] The war was overseen by British army officers like Isaac Brock and Charles de Salaberry with the assistance of First Nations and loyalist informants, most notably Laura Secord. [112]

The War ended with no boundary changes thanks to the Treaty of Ghent of 1814, and the Rush–Bagot Treaty of 1817. [110] A demographic result was the shifting of the destination of American migration from Upper Canada to Ohio, Indiana and Michigan, without fear of Indigenous attacks. [110] After the war, supporters of Britain tried to repress the republicanism that was common among American immigrants to Canada. [110] The troubling memory of the war and the American invasions etched itself into the consciousness of Canadians as a distrust of the intentions of the United States towards the British presence in North America. [113] pp. 254–255

Rebellions and the Durham Report Edit

The rebellions of 1837 against the British colonial government took place in both Upper and Lower Canada. In Upper Canada, a band of Reformers under the leadership of William Lyon Mackenzie took up arms in a disorganized and ultimately unsuccessful series of small-scale skirmishes around Toronto, London, and Hamilton. [114]

In Lower Canada, a more substantial rebellion occurred against British rule. Both English- and French-Canadian rebels, sometimes using bases in the neutral United States, fought several skirmishes against the authorities. The towns of Chambly and Sorel were taken by the rebels, and Quebec City was isolated from the rest of the colony. Montreal rebel leader Robert Nelson read the "Declaration of Independence of Lower Canada" to a crowd assembled at the town of Napierville in 1838. [115] The rebellion of the Patriote movement was defeated after battles across Quebec. Hundreds were arrested, and several villages were burnt in reprisal. [115]

The British government then sent Lord Durham to examine the situation he stayed in Canada only five months before returning to Britain and brought with him his Durham Report, which strongly recommended responsible government. [116] A less well-received recommendation was the amalgamation of Upper and Lower Canada for the deliberate assimilation of the French-speaking population. The Canadas were merged into a single colony, the United Province of Canada, by the 1840 Act of Union, and responsible government was achieved in 1848, a few months after it was accomplished in Nova Scotia. [116] The parliament of United Canada in Montreal was set on fire by a mob of Tories in 1849 after the passing of an indemnity bill for the people who suffered losses during the rebellion in Lower Canada. [117]

Between the Napoleonic Wars and 1850, some 800,000 immigrants came to the colonies of British North America, mainly from the British Isles, as part of the great migration of Canada. [118] These included Gaelic-speaking Highland Scots displaced by the Highland Clearances to Nova Scotia and Scottish and English settlers to the Canadas, particularly Upper Canada. The Irish Famine of the 1840s significantly increased the pace of Irish Catholic immigration to British North America, with over 35,000 distressed Irish landing in Toronto alone in 1847 and 1848. [119]

Pacific colonies Edit

Spanish explorers had taken the lead in the Pacific Northwest coast, with the voyages of Juan José Pérez Hernández in 1774 and 1775. [120] By the time the Spanish determined to build a fort on Vancouver Island, the British navigator James Cook had visited Nootka Sound and charted the coast as far as Alaska, while British and American maritime fur traders had begun a busy era of commerce with the coastal peoples to satisfy the brisk market for sea otter pelts in China, thereby launching what became known as the China Trade. [121] In 1789 war threatened between Britain and Spain on their respective rights the Nootka Crisis was resolved peacefully largely in favour of Britain, the much stronger naval power at the time. In 1793 Alexander MacKenzie, a Scotsman working for the North West Company, crossed the continent and with his Aboriginal guides and French-Canadian crew, reached the mouth of the Bella Coola River, completing the first continental crossing north of Mexico, missing George Vancouver's charting expedition to the region by only a few weeks. [122] In 1821, the North West Company and Hudson's Bay Company merged, with a combined trading territory that was extended by a licence to the North-Western Territory and the Columbia and New Caledonia fur districts, which reached the Arctic Ocean on the north and the Pacific Ocean on the west. [123]

The Colony of Vancouver Island was chartered in 1849, with the trading post at Fort Victoria as the capital. This was followed by the Colony of the Queen Charlotte Islands in 1853, and by the creation of the Colony of British Columbia in 1858 and the Stikine Territory in 1861, with the latter three being founded expressly to keep those regions from being overrun and annexed by American gold miners. [124] The Colony of the Queen Charlotte Islands and most of the Stikine Territory were merged into the Colony of British Columbia in 1863 (the remainder, north of the 60th Parallel, became part of the North-Western Territory). [124]

The Seventy-Two Resolutions from the 1864 Quebec Conference and Charlottetown Conference laid out the framework for uniting British colonies in North America into a federation. [125] The Resolutions became the basis for the London Conference of 1866, which led to the formation of the Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1867. [125] The term dominion was chosen to indicate Canada's status as a self-governing colony of the British Empire, the first time it was used about a country. [126] With the coming into force of the British North America Act, 1867 (enacted by the British Parliament), Canada became a federated country in its own right. [127] [128] [129] (According to J. McCullough, use of the phrase "Dominion of Canada . was gradually phased out" during the "late 1940s, 50s, and early 60s" with the growth of "post-colonial Canadian nationalism".) [130]

Federation emerged from multiple impulses: the British wanted Canada to defend itself the Maritimes needed railroad connections, which were promised in 1867 British-Canadian nationalism sought to unite the lands into one country, dominated by the English language and British culture many French-Canadians saw an opportunity to exert political control within a new largely French-speaking Quebec [113] pp. 323–324 and fears of possible U.S. expansion northward. [126] On a political level, there was a desire for the expansion of responsible government and elimination of the legislative deadlock between Upper and Lower Canada, and their replacement with provincial legislatures in a federation. [126] This was especially pushed by the liberal Reform movement of Upper Canada and the French-Canadian Parti rouge in Lower Canada who favoured a decentralized union in comparison to the Upper Canadian Conservative party and to some degree the French-Canadian Parti bleu, which favoured a centralized union. [126] [131]

Early post-Confederation Canada (1867–1914) Edit

Territorial expansion west Edit

Using the lure of the Canadian Pacific Railway, a transcontinental line that would unite the nation, Ottawa attracted support in the Maritimes and in British Columbia. In 1866, the Colony of British Columbia and the Colony of Vancouver Island merged into a single Colony of British Columbia. After Rupert's Land was transferred to Canada by Britain in 1870, connecting to the eastern provinces, British Columbia joined Canada in 1871. In 1873, Prince Edward Island joined. Newfoundland—which had no use for a transcontinental railway—voted no in 1869, and did not join Canada until 1949. [132]

In 1873, John A. Macdonald (First Prime Minister of Canada) created the North-West Mounted Police (now the Royal Canadian Mounted Police) to help police the Northwest Territories. [133] Specifically the Mounties were to assert Canadian sovereignty to prevent possible American encroachments into the area. [133] The Mounties' first large-scale mission was to suppress the second independence movement by Manitoba's Métis, a mixed-blood people of joint First Nations and European descent, who originated in the mid-17th century. [134] The desire for independence erupted in the Red River Rebellion in 1869 and the later North-West Rebellion in 1885 led by Louis Riel. [133] [135] Suppressing the Rebellion was Canada's first independent military action and demonstrated the need to complete the Canadian Pacific Railway. It guaranteed Anglophone control of the Prairies, and demonstrated the national government was capable of decisive action. However, it lost the Conservative Party most of their support in Quebec and led to permanent distrust of the Anglophone community on the part of the Francophones. [136]

As Canada expanded, the Canadian government rather than the British Crown negotiated treaties with the resident First Nations' peoples, beginning with Treaty 1 in 1871. [137] The treaties extinguished aboriginal title on traditional territories, created reserves for the indigenous peoples' exclusive use, and opened up the rest of the territory for settlement. Indigenous people were induced to move to these new reserves, sometimes forcibly. [138] The government imposed the Indian Act in 1876 to govern the relations between the federal government and the Indigenous peoples and govern the relations between the new settlers and the Indigenous peoples. [139] Under the Indian Act, the government started the Residential School System to integrate the Indigenous peoples and "civilize" them. [140] [141] [142]

In the 1890s, legal experts codified a framework of criminal law, culminating in the Criminal Code, 1892. [143] This solidified the liberal ideal of "equality before the law" in a way that made an abstract principle into a tangible reality for every adult Canadian. [144] Wilfrid Laurier who served 1896–1911 as the Seventh Prime Minister of Canada felt Canada was on the verge of becoming a world power, and declared that the 20th century would "belong to Canada" [145]

The Alaska boundary dispute, simmering since the Alaska purchase of 1867, became critical when gold was discovered in the Yukon during the late 1890s, with the U.S. controlling all the possible ports of entry. Canada argued its boundary included the port of Skagway. The dispute went to arbitration in 1903, but the British delegate sided with the Americans, angering Canadians who felt the British had betrayed Canadian interests to curry favour with the U.S. [146]

In 1905 Saskatchewan and Alberta were admitted as provinces. They were growing rapidly thanks to abundant wheat crops that attracted immigration to the plains by Ukrainians and Northern and Central Europeans and by settlers from the United States, Britain and eastern Canada. [147] [148]

Laurier signed a reciprocity treaty with the U.S. that would lower tariffs in both directions. Conservatives under Robert Borden denounced it, saying it would integrate Canada's economy into that of the U.S. and loosen ties with Britain. The Conservative party won the 1911 Canadian federal election. [149]

First World War Edit

The Canadian Forces and civilian participation in the First World War helped to foster a sense of British-Canadian nationhood. The highpoints of Canadian military achievement during the First World War came during the Somme, Vimy, Passchendaele battles and what later became known as "Canada's Hundred Days". [150] The reputation Canadian troops earned, along with the success of Canadian flying aces including William George Barker and Billy Bishop, helped to give the nation a new sense of identity. [151] The War Office in 1922 reported approximately 67,000 killed and 173,000 wounded during the war. [152] This excludes civilian deaths in war-time incidents like the Halifax Explosion. [152]

Support for Great Britain during the First World War caused a major political crisis over conscription, with Francophones, mainly from Quebec, rejecting national policies. [153] During the crisis, large numbers of enemy aliens (especially Ukrainians and Germans) were put under government controls. [154] The Liberal party was deeply split, with most of its Anglophone leaders joining the unionist government headed by Prime Minister Robert Borden, the leader of the Conservative party. [155] The Liberals regained their influence after the war under the leadership of William Lyon Mackenzie King, who served as prime minister with three separate terms between 1921 and 1949. [156]

Women's suffrage Edit

When Canada was founded, women could not vote in federal elections. Women did have a local vote in some provinces, as in Canada West from 1850, where women owning land could vote for school trustees. By 1900 other provinces adopted similar provisions, and in 1916 Manitoba took the lead in extending full women's suffrage. [157] Simultaneously suffragists gave strong support to the prohibition movement, especially in Ontario and the Western provinces. [158] [159]

The Military Voters Act of 1917 gave the vote to British women who were war widows or had sons or husbands serving overseas. Unionists Prime Minister Borden pledged himself during the 1917 campaign to equal suffrage for women. After his landslide victory, he introduced a bill in 1918 for extending the franchise to women. This passed without division, but did not apply to Quebec provincial and municipal elections. The women of Quebec gained full suffrage in 1940. The first woman elected to Parliament was Agnes Macphail of Ontario in 1921. [160]

1920s Edit

On the world stage Edit

Convinced that Canada had proven itself on the battlefields of Europe, Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden demanded that it have a separate seat at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. This was initially opposed not only by Britain but also by the United States, which saw such a delegation as an extra British vote. Borden responded by pointing out that since Canada had lost nearly 60,000 men, a far larger proportion of its men, its right to equal status as a nation had been consecrated on the battlefield. British Prime Minister David Lloyd George eventually relented, and convinced the reluctant Americans to accept the presence of delegations from Canada, India, Australia, Newfoundland, New Zealand, and South Africa. These also received their own seats in the League of Nations. [161] Canada asked for neither reparations nor mandates. It played only a modest role at Paris, but just having a seat was a matter of pride. It was cautiously optimistic about the new League of Nations, in which it played an active and independent role. [162]

In 1922 British Prime Minister David Lloyd George appealed repeatedly for Canadian support in the Chanak crisis, in which a war threatened between Britain and Turkey. Canada refused, leading to the fall of Lloyd George. [163] The Department of External Affairs, which had been founded in 1909, was expanded and promoted Canadian autonomy as Canada reduced its reliance on British diplomats and used its own foreign service. [164] Thus began the careers of such important diplomats as Norman Robertson and Hume Wrong, and future prime minister Lester Pearson. [165]

In the 1920s, Canada set up a successful wheat marketing "pool" to keep prices high. Canada negotiated with the United States, Australia, and the Soviet Union to expand the pool, but the effort failed when the Great Depression caused distrust and low prices. [166]

With prohibition underway in the United States, smugglers bought large quantities of Canadian liquor. Both the Canadian distillers and the U.S. State Department put heavy pressure on the Customs and Excise Department to loosen or tighten border controls. Liquor interests paid off corrupt Canadian border officials until the U.S. finally ended prohibition in 1933. [167]

Domestic affairs Edit

In 1921 to 1926, William Lyon Mackenzie King's Liberal government pursued a conservative domestic policy with the object of lowering wartime taxes and, especially, cooling wartime ethnic tensions, as well as defusing postwar labour conflicts. The Progressives refused to join the government but did help the Liberals defeat non-confidence motions. King faced a delicate balancing act of reducing tariffs enough to please the Prairie-based Progressives, but not too much to alienate his vital support in industrial Ontario and Quebec, which needed tariffs to compete with American imports. King and Conservative leader Arthur Meighen sparred constantly and bitterly in Commons debates. [168] The Progressives gradually weakened. Their effective and passionate leader, Thomas Crerar, resigned to return to his grain business, and was replaced by the more placid Robert Forke. The socialist reformer J. S. Woodsworth gradually gained influence and power among the Progressives, and he reached an accommodation with King on policy matters. [169]

In 1926 Prime Minister Mackenzie King advised the Governor General, Lord Byng, to dissolve Parliament and call another election, but Byng refused, the only time that the Governor General has exercised such a power. Instead, Byng called upon Meighen, the Conservative Party leader, to form a government. [170] Meighen attempted to do so, but was unable to obtain a majority in the Commons and he, too, advised dissolution, which this time was accepted. The episode, the King–Byng Affair, marks a constitutional crisis that was resolved by a new tradition of complete non-interference in Canadian political affairs on the part of the British government. [171]

Great Depression Edit

Canada was hit hard by the worldwide Great Depression that began in 1929. Between 1929 and 1933, the gross national product dropped 40% (compared to 37% in the US). Unemployment reached 27% at the depth of the Depression in 1933. [172] Many businesses closed, as corporate profits of $396 million in 1929 turned into losses of $98 million in 1933. Canadian exports shrank by 50% from 1929 to 1933. Construction all but stopped (down 82%, 1929–33), and wholesale prices dropped 30%. Wheat prices plunged from 78c per bushel (1928 crop) to 29c in 1932. [172]

Urban unemployment nationwide was 19% Toronto's rate was 17%, according to the census of 1931. Farmers who stayed on their farms were not considered unemployed. [173] By 1933, 30% of the labour force was out of work, and one-fifth of the population became dependent on government assistance. Wages fell as did prices. Worst hit were areas dependent on primary industries such as farming, mining and logging, as prices fell and there were few alternative jobs. Most families had moderate losses and little hardship, though they too became pessimistic and their debts became heavier as prices fell. Some families saw most or all of their assets disappear, and suffered severely. [174] [175]

In 1930, in the first stage of the long depression, Prime Minister Mackenzie King believed that the crisis was a temporary swing of the business cycle and that the economy would soon recover without government intervention. He refused to provide unemployment relief or federal aid to the provinces, saying that if Conservative provincial governments demanded federal dollars, he would not give them "a five cent piece." [176] His blunt wisecrack was used to defeat the Liberals in the 1930 election. The main issue was the rapid deterioration in the economy and whether the prime minister was out of touch with the hardships of ordinary people. [177] [178] The winner of the 1930 election was Richard Bedford Bennett and the Conservatives. Bennett had promised high tariffs and large-scale spending, but as deficits increased, he became wary and cut back severely on Federal spending. With falling support and the depression getting only worse, Bennett attempted to introduce policies based on the New Deal of President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) in the United States, but he got little passed. Bennett's government became a focus of popular discontent. For example, auto owners saved on gasoline by using horses to pull their cars, dubbing them Bennett Buggies. The Conservative failure to restore prosperity led to the return of Mackenzie King's Liberals in the 1935 election. [179]

In 1935, the Liberals used the slogan "King or Chaos" to win a landslide in the 1935 election. [180] Promising a much-desired trade treaty with the U.S., the Mackenzie King government passed the 1935 Reciprocal Trade Agreement. It marked the turning point in Canadian-American economic relations, reversing the disastrous trade war of 1930–31, lowering tariffs and yielding a dramatic increase in trade. [181]

The worst of the Depression had passed by 1935, as Ottawa launched relief programs such as the National Housing Act and National Employment Commission. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation became a crown corporation in 1936. Trans-Canada Airlines (the precursor to Air Canada) was formed in 1937, as was the National Film Board of Canada in 1939. In 1938, Parliament transformed the Bank of Canada from a private entity to a crown corporation. [182]

One political response was a highly restrictive immigration policy and a rise in nativism. [183]

Times were especially hard in western Canada, where a full recovery did not occur until the Second World War began in 1939. One response was the creation of new political parties such as the Social Credit movement and the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation, as well as popular protest in the form of the On-to-Ottawa Trek. [184]

Statute of Westminster Edit

Following the Balfour Declaration of 1926, the British Parliament passed the Statute of Westminster in 1931 which acknowledged Canada as coequal with the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms. It was a crucial step in the development of Canada as a separate state in that it provided for nearly complete legislative autonomy from the Parliament of the United Kingdom. [185] Although the United Kingdom retained formal authority over certain Canadian constitutional changes, it relinquished this authority with the passing of the Canada Act 1982 which was the final step in achieving full sovereignty.

Second World War Edit

Canada's involvement in the Second World War began when Canada declared war on Nazi Germany on September 10, 1939, delaying it one week after Britain acted to symbolically demonstrate independence. Canada played a major role in supplying food, raw materials, munitions and money to the hard-pressed British economy, training airmen for the Commonwealth, guarding the western half of the North Atlantic Ocean against German U-boats, and providing combat troops for the invasions of Italy, France and Germany in 1943–45.

Of a population of approximately 11.5 million, 1.1 million Canadians served in the armed forces in the Second World War. [186] Many thousands more served with the Canadian Merchant Navy. [187] In all, more than 45,000 died, and another 55,000 were wounded. [188] [189] Building up the Royal Canadian Air Force was a high priority it was kept separate from Britain's Royal Air Force. The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan Agreement, signed in December 1939, bound Canada, Britain, New Zealand, and Australia to a program that eventually trained half the airmen from those four nations in the Second World War. [190]

The Battle of the Atlantic began immediately, and from 1943 to 1945 was led by Leonard W. Murray, from Nova Scotia. German U-boats operated in Canadian and Newfoundland waters throughout the war, sinking many naval and merchant vessels. [191] The Canadian army was involved in the failed defence of Hong Kong, the unsuccessful Dieppe Raid in August 1942, the Allied invasion of Italy, and the highly successful invasion of France and the Netherlands in 1944–45. [192]

On the political side, Mackenzie King rejected any notion of a government of national unity. [193] The 1940 federal election was held as normally scheduled, producing another majority for the Liberals. The Conscription Crisis of 1944 greatly affected unity between French and English-speaking Canadians, though was not as politically intrusive as that of the First World War. [194] During the war, Canada became more closely linked to the U.S. The Americans took virtual control of Yukon in order to build the Alaska Highway, and were a major presence in the British colony of Newfoundland with major airbases. [195] After the start of the war with Japan in December 1941, the government, in cooperation with the U.S., began the Japanese-Canadian internment, which sent 22,000 British Columbia residents of Japanese descent to relocation camps far from the coast. The reason was intense public demand for removal and fears of espionage or sabotage. [196] The government ignored reports from the RCMP and Canadian military that most of the Japanese were law-abiding and not a threat. [197]

Prosperity returned to Canada during the Second World War and continued in the following years, with the development of universal health care, old-age pensions, and veterans' pensions. [198] [199] The financial crisis of the Great Depression had led the Dominion of Newfoundland to relinquish responsible government in 1934 and become a crown colony ruled by a British governor. [200] In 1948, the British government gave voters three Newfoundland Referendum choices: remaining a crown colony, returning to Dominion status (that is, independence), or joining Canada. Joining the United States was not made an option. After bitter debate Newfoundlanders voted to join Canada in 1949 as a province. [201]

The foreign policy of Canada during the Cold War was closely tied to that of the United States. Canada was a founding member of NATO (which Canada wanted to be a transatlantic economic and political union as well [202] ). In 1950, Canada sent combat troops to Korea during the Korean War as part of the United Nations forces. The federal government's desire to assert its territorial claims in the Arctic during the Cold War manifested with the High Arctic relocation, in which Inuit were moved from Nunavik (the northern third of Quebec) to barren Cornwallis Island [203] this project was later the subject of a long investigation by the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. [204]

In 1956, the United Nations responded to the Suez Crisis by convening a United Nations Emergency Force to supervise the withdrawal of invading forces. The peacekeeping force was initially conceptualized by Secretary of External Affairs and future Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson. [205] Pearson was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957 for his work in establishing the peacekeeping operation. [205]

Throughout the mid-1950s, prime ministers Louis St. Laurent and his successor John Diefenbaker attempted to create a new, highly advanced jet fighter, the Avro Arrow. [206] The controversial aircraft was cancelled by Diefenbaker in 1959. Diefenbaker instead purchased the BOMARC missile defence system and American aircraft. In 1958 Canada established (with the United States) the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). [207]

There were voices on both left and right that warned against being too close to the United States. Few Canadians listened before 1957. Instead, there was wide consensus on foreign and defence policies 1948 to 1957. Bothwell, Drummond and English state:

However, the consensus did not last. By 1957 the Suez crisis alienated Canada from both Britain and France politicians distrusted American leadership, businessmen questioned American financial investments and intellectuals ridiculed the values of American television and Hollywood offerings that all Canadians watched. "Public support for Canada's foreign policy came unstuck. Foreign policy, from being a winning issue for the Liberals, was fast becoming a losing one." [208]

In the 1960s, what became known as the Quiet Revolution took place in Quebec, overthrowing the old establishment which centred on the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Quebec and led to modernizing of the economy and society. [209] Québécois nationalists demanded independence, and tensions rose until violence erupted during the 1970 October Crisis. John Saywell says, "The two kidnappings and the murder of Pierre Laporte were the biggest domestic news stories in Canada's history" [210] [211] In 1976 the Parti Québécois was elected to power in Quebec, with a nationalist vision that included securing French linguistic rights in the province and the pursuit of some form of sovereignty for Quebec. This culminated in the 1980 referendum in Quebec on the question of sovereignty-association, which was turned down by 59% of the voters. [211]

In 1965, Canada adopted the maple leaf flag, although not without considerable debate and misgivings among large number of English Canadians. [212] The World's Fair titled Expo 67 came to Montreal, coinciding with the Canadian Centennial that year. The fair opened April 28, 1967, with the theme "Man and his World" and became the best attended of all BIE-sanctioned world expositions until that time. [213]

Legislative restrictions on Canadian immigration that had favoured British and other European immigrants were amended in the 1960s, opening the doors to immigrants from all parts of the world. [214] While the 1950s had seen high levels of immigration from Britain, Ireland, Italy, and northern continental Europe, by the 1970s immigrants increasingly came from India, China, Vietnam, Jamaica and Haiti. [215] Immigrants of all backgrounds tended to settle in the major urban centres, particularly Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. [215]

During his long tenure in the office (1968–79, 1980–84), Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau made social and cultural change his political goals, including the pursuit of official bilingualism in Canada and plans for significant constitutional change. [216] The west, particularly the petroleum-producing provinces like Alberta, opposed many of the policies emanating from central Canada, with the National Energy Program creating considerable antagonism and growing western alienation. [217] Multiculturalism in Canada was adopted as the official policy of the Canadian government during the prime ministership of Pierre Trudeau. [218]

In 1981, the Canadian House of Commons and Senate passed a resolution requesting that the British Parliament enact a package of constitutional amendments which would end the last powers of the British Parliament to legislate for Canada and would create an entirely Canadian process for constitutional amendments. The resolution set out the text of the proposed Canada Act, which also included the text of the Constitution Act, 1982. [219] The British Parliament duly passed the Canada Act 1982, the Queen granting Royal Assent on March 29, 1982, 115 years to the day since Queen Victoria granted Royal Assent to the Constitution Act, 1867. On April 17, 1982, the Queen signed the Proclamation on the grounds of Parliament Hill in Ottawa bringing the Constitution Act, 1982 into force, thus patriating the Constitution of Canada. [220] Previously, the main portions of the constitution had existed only as an act passed of the British parliament, though under the terms of the Statute of Westminster, it could not be altered without Canadian consent. [221] Canada had established complete sovereignty as an independent country, with the Queen's role as monarch of Canada separate from her role as the British monarch or the monarch of any of the other Commonwealth realms. [222]

In addition to the enactment of a Canadian amending formulas, the Constitution Act, 1982 enacted the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Charter is a constitutionally entrenched bill of rights which applies to both the federal government and the provincial governments, unlike the earlier Canadian Bill of Rights. [223] The patriation of the constitution was Trudeau's last major act as Prime Minister he resigned in 1984.

On June 23, 1985, Air India Flight 182 was destroyed above the Atlantic Ocean by a bomb on board exploding all 329 on board were killed, of whom 280 were Canadian citizens. [224] The Air India attack is the largest mass murder in Canadian history. [225]

The Progressive Conservative (PC) government of Brian Mulroney began efforts to gain Quebec's support for the Constitution Act 1982 and end western alienation. In 1987 the Meech Lake Accord talks began between the provincial and federal governments, seeking constitutional changes favourable to Quebec. [226] The failure of the Meech Lake Accord resulted in the formation of a separatist party, Bloc Québécois. [227] The constitutional reform process under Prime Minister Mulroney culminated in the failure of the Charlottetown Accord which would have recognized Quebec as a "distinct society" but was rejected in 1992 by a narrow margin. [228]

Under Brian Mulroney, relations with the United States began to grow more closely integrated. In 1986, Canada and the U.S. signed the "Acid Rain Treaty" to reduce acid rain. In 1989, the federal government adopted the Free Trade Agreement with the United States despite significant animosity from the Canadian public who were concerned about the economic and cultural impacts of close integration with the United States. [229] On July 11, 1990, the Oka Crisis land dispute began between the Mohawk people of Kanesatake and the adjoining town of Oka, Quebec. [230] The dispute was the first of a number of well-publicized conflicts between First Nations and the Canadian government in the late 20th century. In August 1990, Canada was one of the first nations to condemn Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, and it quickly agreed to join the U.S.-led coalition. Canada deployed destroyers and later a CF-18 Hornet squadron with support personnel, as well as a field hospital to deal with casualties. [231]

Following Mulroney's resignation as prime minister in 1993, Kim Campbell took office and became Canada's first female prime minister. [232] Campbell remained in office for only a few months: the 1993 election saw the collapse of the Progressive Conservative Party from government to two seats, while the Quebec-based sovereigntist Bloc Québécois became the official opposition. [233] Prime Minister Jean Chrétien of the Liberals took office in November 1993 with a majority government and was re-elected with further majorities during the 1997 and 2000 elections. [234]

In 1995, the government of Quebec held a second referendum on sovereignty that was rejected by a margin of 50.6% to 49.4%. [235] In 1998, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled unilateral secession by a province to be unconstitutional, and Parliament passed the Clarity Act outlining the terms of a negotiated departure. [235] Environmental issues increased in importance in Canada during this period, resulting in the signing of the Kyoto Accord on climate change by Canada's Liberal government in 2002. The accord was in 2007 nullified by Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative government, which proposed a "made-in-Canada" solution to climate change. [236]

Canada became the fourth country in the world and the first country in the Americas to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide with the enactment of the Civil Marriage Act in 2005. [237] Court decisions, starting in 2003, had already legalized same-sex marriage in eight out of ten provinces and one of three territories. Before the passage of the Act, more than 3,000 same-sex couples had married in these areas. [238]

The Canadian Alliance and PC Party merged into the Conservative Party of Canada in 2003, ending a 13-year division of the conservative vote. The party was elected twice as a minority government under the leadership of Stephen Harper in the 2006 federal election and 2008 federal election. [234] Harper's Conservative Party won a majority in the 2011 federal election with the New Democratic Party forming the Official Opposition for the first time. [239]

Under Harper, Canada and the United States continued to integrate state and provincial agencies to strengthen security along the Canada–United States border through the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. [240] From 2002 to 2011, Canada was involved in the Afghanistan War as part of the U.S. stabilization force and the NATO-commanded International Security Assistance Force. In July 2010, the largest purchase in Canadian military history, totalling CA$9 billion for the acquisition of 65 F-35 fighters, was announced by the federal government. [241] Canada is one of several nations that assisted in the development of the F-35 and has invested over CA$168 million in the program. [242]

In 2008, the Government of Canada formally apologized to the indigenous peoples of Canada for the residential school system and the damage it caused. [243] The government set up the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada that year to document the damage caused by the residential school system and the reconciliation needed to proceed into the future. It provided a "call to action" report in 2015. [244]

On October 19, 2015, Stephen Harper's Conservatives were defeated by a newly resurgent Liberal party under the leadership of Justin Trudeau and which had been reduced to third party status in the 2011 elections. [245]

Multiculturalism (cultural and ethnic diversity) has been emphasized in recent decades. Ambrose and Mudde conclude that: "Canada's unique multiculturalism policy . which is based on a combination of selective immigration, comprehensive integration, and strong state repression of dissent on these policies. This unique blend of policies has led to a relatively low level of opposition to multiculturalism". [246] [247]

The Conquest of New France has always been a central and contested theme of Canadian memory. Cornelius Jaenen argues:

The Conquest has remained a difficult subject for French-Canadian historians because it can be viewed either as economically and ideologically disastrous or as a providential intervention to enable Canadians to maintain their language and religion under British rule. For virtually all Anglophone historians it was a victory for British military, political, and economic superiority which would eventually only benefit the conquered. [248]

Historians of the 1950s tried to explain the economic inferiority of the French-Canadians by arguing that the Conquest:

destroyed an integral society and decapitated the commercial class leadership of the conquered people fell to the Church and, because commercial activity came to be monopolized by British merchants, national survival concentrated on agriculture. [249]

At the other pole, are those Francophone historians who see the positive benefit of enabling the preservation of language, and religion and traditional customs under British rule. French Canadian debates have escalated since the 1960s, as the Conquest is seen as a pivotal moment in the history of Québec's nationalism. Historian Jocelyn Létourneau suggested in the 21st century, "1759 does not belong primarily to a past that we might wish to study and understand, but, rather, to a present and a future that we might wish to shape and control." [250]

Anglophone historians, on the other hand, portray the Conquest as a victory for British military, political and economic superiority that was a permanent benefit to the French. [251]

Allan Greer argues that Whig history was once the dominant style of scholars. He says the:

interpretive schemes that dominated Canadian historical writing through the middle decades of the twentieth century were built on the assumption that history had a discernible direction and flow. Canada was moving towards a goal in the nineteenth century whether this endpoint was the construction of a transcontinental, commercial, and political union, the development of parliamentary government, or the preservation and resurrection of French Canada, it was certainly a Good Thing. Thus the rebels of 1837 were quite literally on the wrong track. They lost because they had to lose they were not simply overwhelmed by superior force, they were justly chastised by the God of History. [252]

The Fur Trade

In the early colonial period, both the French and English colonial economies were based around killing animals and selling their skins back to Europe, where clothing companies made them into fashionable hats and sold them to rich people. This was known as the fur trade, and it quickly became a source of enormous rivalry between the French and English empires, both of whom wanted to conquer more and more of North America and thereby control more and more of the fur industry.

Armed conflict between rival groups of traders broke out almost immediately, and the years between 1613 and 1756 are known as the era of the Fur Wars, marked by near-constant violence between French, English, and aboriginal forces as everyone battled to seize land from one another or merely hold what they already had. This back-and-forth led to many brutal episodes, the most infamous being a 1755 British attack on France’s Fort Beauséjour on the Acadian peninsula, which led to the forcible deportation of all of that area’s French residents, known as Acadians, many of whom wound up relocating to Louisiana.

The New North America

A map of North America following the Treaty of Paris (1763). Red territory is British, with orange territory being controlled by the British-run Hudson's Bay Company. Yellow territory is Spanish, while French territory has disappeared.

Part 4 - Legislated Assimilation – Development of the Indian Act (1820–1927)

"Civilizing the Indian"

As First Nations' military role in the colony waned, British administrators began to look at new approaches to their relationship. In fact, a new perspective was emerging throughout the British Empire about the role the British should play with respect to Indigenous peoples. This new perspective was based on the belief that British society and culture were superior there was also a missionary fervour to bring British "civilization" to the Empire's Indigenous people. In the colonies of Upper and Lower Canada, the Indian Department became the vehicle for this new plan of "civilization." The British believed it was their duty to bring Christianity and agriculture to First Nations. Indian agents accordingly began encouraging First Nations to abandon their traditional lifestyles and to adopt more agricultural and sedentary ways of life. As we now know, these policies were intended to assimilate First Nations into the larger British and Christian agrarian society.

Starting in the 1820s, colonial administrators undertook many initiatives aimed at "civilizing" First Nations. One early assimilation experiment took place at Coldwater-Narrows, near Lake Simcoe in Upper Canada. A group of Anishinaabe were encouraged to settle in a typical colonial-style village where they would be instructed in agriculture and encouraged to adopt Christianity and abandon hunting and fishing as a means of subsistence. But because of poor management by the Indian Department, chronic underfunding, a general lack of understanding of First Nations cultures and values, and competition between various religious denominations, the Coldwater-Narrows experiment was short-lived and a dismal failure.

Indian Legislation

Despite initial problems, the "civilization" program was to remain one of the central tenets of Indian policy and legislation for the next 150 years. One of the first such pieces of legislation was the Crown Lands Protection Act , passed in 1839. This Act made the government the guardian of all Crown lands, including Indian Reserve lands. The Act responded to the fact that settlement was occurring faster throughout the 1830s than the colony could manage. Squatters were already settling on unoccupied territory, both Crown lands and Indian reserves. The statute was thus the first to classify Indian lands as Crown lands to be protected by the Crown. The Act also served to secure First Nations interests by limiting settlers' access to reserves. More legislation protecting First Nations interests were passed in 1850, limiting trespassing and encroachment on First Nations reserve lands. This legislation also provided a definition of an " Indian ", exempted First Nations from taxation and protected them from creditors. In 1857, the British administration introduced the Gradual Civilization Act . This legislation offered 50 acres of land and monetary inducements to literate and debt-free First Nations individuals provided they abandoned their traditional lifestyle and adopted a "civilized" life as a "citizen".

In 1860, the Management of Indian Lands and Property Act ( Indian Land Act ) brought about another fundamental change in First Nations' relations with the Crown. This Act transferred authority for Indian affairs to the colonies, enabling the British Crown to dispense with the last of its responsibilities towards its former allies. However, colonial responsibility for the management of "Indians and Indian lands" very soon became a federal responsibility with the creation of the new Dominion of Canada under the 1867 British North America Act . The new nation continued the centralized approach to Indian affairs used by the British. In addition, in 1869 Canada extended its influence over First Nations by the purchase of Rupert's Land (the Hudson's Bay Company lands). The new Dominion was now responsible for addressing the needs and claims of First Nations from the Atlantic to the Rocky Mountains.

Indian Policy in British Columbia

On the West Coast, the relationship between European settlers and the region's First Nation inhabitants developed quite differently from that between settlers and First Nations in the Great Lakes basin. For nearly 50 years, the commercial aspirations of the Hudson's Bay Company had overshadowed settlement in the West. With a trade monopoly for the entire British half of the Oregon territory, the HBC was content to keep its diplomatic dealings with the West Coast First Nations restricted to commercial matters relating to the fur trade.

The Numbered Treaties

Between 1871 and 1921, Canada undertook a series of land surrender treaties throughout its new territories. The objectives of these surrenders were to fulfil the requirements under the transfer to secure Canadian sovereignty to open the land for settlement and exploitation and to reduce possible conflict between First Nations and settlers. Adhering to the form of the 1850 Robinson Treaties, the Crown negotiated 11 new agreements covering Northern Ontario, the Prairies and the Mackenzie River up to the Arctic. As in the Robinson Treaties, these Numbered Treaties set aside reserve lands for First Nations and granted them annuities and the continued right to hunt and fish on unoccupied Crown lands in exchange for Aboriginal title. Also included in these new treaties were schools and teachers to educate First Nations children on reserves farming, hunting and fishing equipment and ceremonial and symbolic elements, such as medals, flags and clothing for chiefs. First Nations were not opposed to this process and in many cases pressured Canada to undertake treaties in areas when it was not prepared to do so. First Nations signatories had their own reasons to enter into treaties with the Crown. On the whole, First Nations leaders were looking to the Crown for assistance in a time of great change and upheaval in their communities. Facing disease epidemics and famine, First Nations leaders wanted the government to help care for their people. They also wanted assistance in adapting to a rapidly changing economy as buffalo herds neared extinction and the HBC shifted its operations to the North.

Throughout the negotiations and in the text of the Numbered Treaties, First Nations were encouraged to settle on reserve lands in sedentary communities, take up agriculture and receive an education. The Treaty Commissioners explained that the reserves were to help First Nations adapt to a life without the buffalo hunt and that the government would help them make the transition to agriculture. These 11 treaties included land surrenders on a massive scale. The Numbered Treaties can be divided into two groups: those for settlement in the South and those for access to natural resources in the North. Treaties 1 to 7 concluded between 1871 and 1877, led the way to opening up the Northwest Territories to agricultural settlement and to the construction of a railway linking British Columbia to Ontario. These treaties also solidified Canada's claim on the lands north of the shared border with the United States. After a 22-year gap, treaty making resumed between 1899 and 1921 to secure and facilitate access to the vast and rich natural resources of Northern Canada.

The Indian Act

In 1876, the government introduced another piece of legislation that would have deep and long-lasting impacts on First Nations across Canada. The Indian Act of 1876 was a consolidation of previous regulations pertaining to First Nations. The Act gave greater authority to the federal Department of Indian Affairs. The Department could now intervene in a wide variety of internal band issues and make sweeping policy decisions, such as determining who was an Indian. Under the Act , the Department would also manage Indian lands, resources and moneys control access to intoxicants and promote "civilization." The Indian Act was based on the premise that it was the Crown's responsibility to care for and protect the interests of First Nations. It would carry out this responsibility by acting as a "guardian" until such time as First Nations could fully integrate into Canadian society.

The Indian Act is one of the most frequently amended pieces of legislation in Canadian history. It was amended nearly every year between 1876 and 1927. The changes made were largely concerned with the "assimilation" and "civilization" of First Nations. The legislation became increasingly restrictive, imposing ever-greater controls on the lives of First Nations. In the 1880s, the government imposed a new system of band councils and governance, with the final authority resting with the Indian agent. The Act continued to push for the whole-scale abandonment of traditional ways of life, introducing outright bans on spiritual and religious ceremonies such as the potlatch and sun dance.

The concept of enfranchisement (the legal act of giving an individual the rights of citizenship, particularly the right to vote) also remained a key element of government policy for decades to come. As very few First Nations members opted to become enfranchised, the government amended the Act to enable automatic enfranchisement. An 1880 amendment, for example, declared that any First Nations member obtaining a university degree would be automatically enfranchised. An 1933 amendment empowered the government to order the enfranchisement of First Nations members meeting the qualifications set out in the Act , even without such a request from the individuals concerned. In 1927, the government added yet another new restriction to the Act . In response to the Nisga'a pursuit of a land claim in British Columbia, the federal government passed an amendment forbidding fundraising by First Nations for the purpose of pursuing a land claim without the expressed permission of the Department of Indian Affairs. This amendment effectively prevented First Nations from pursuing land claims of any kind.

Indian Education and Residential Schools

In 1883, Indian Affairs policy on First Nations education focused on residential schools as a primary vehicle for "civilization" and "assimilation". Through these schools, First Nations children were to be educated in the same manner and on the same subjects as Canadian children (reading, writing, arithmetic and English or French). At the same time, the schools would force children to abandon their traditional languages, dress, religion and lifestyle. To accomplish these goals, a vast network of 132 residential schools was established across Canada by the Catholic, United, Anglican and Presbyterian churches in partnership with the federal government. More than 150,000 Aboriginal children attended residential schools between 1857 and 1996.


The election was fought almost entirely on the record of the Liberals, who had been in power for all but 1 year out of 21, since 1963.

Pierre Trudeau, who had been Prime Minister from 1968 to 1979 and since 1980, retired from politics in early 1984 after polls indicated that the Liberals would almost certainly be defeated at the next election had he remained in office. He was succeeded by John Turner, a former Cabinet minister under both Trudeau and Lester Pearson.

Turner had been out of politics for 9 years. Upon assuming the leadership, he made immediate changes in an attempt to rebuild the Liberals' struggling reputation. For example, he announced that he would not run in a by-election to return to the House of Commons, but would instead run in the next general election as the Liberal candidate in Vancouver Quadra, British Columbia. This was a sharp departure from usual practice, in which the incumbent in a safe seat resigns to allow a newly elected party leader a chance to get into Parliament. But the Liberal Party had lost favour with western Canadians, and policies such as the National Energy Program only aggravated this sentiment. Turner's plans to run in a western Canada riding were, in part, an attempt to rebuild support in that region. Going into the election, the Liberals held only one seat west of Ontario—that of Lloyd Axworthy, from Winnipeg—Fort Garry, Manitoba.

More seriously, there was great disaffection in Quebec with the Liberal government, despite their traditional support for the party. Conflict between the provincial and federal parties, a series of scandals, and the 1982 patriation of the Canadian constitution without the approval of the Quebec provincial government had damaged the Liberals' brand in the province. Hoping for success in Quebec, leader Joe Clark began actively courting soft nationalist voters in the province, and was one of the main reasons businessman Brian Mulroney, a fluently bilingual native of Quebec, was chosen as Clark's replacement.

Although Turner was not required to call an election until 1985, internal data initially showed that the Liberals had regained the lead in opinion polls. Turner and his advisers were also mindful of the fact that Trudeau had seemingly missed an opportunity to take advantage of favourable opinion polls in the latter half of the 1970s, when he waited the full five years to call an election only to go down to an (albeit temporary) defeat. Another factor was that the majority that the Liberals had won at the previous election had slowly been eroded in the years that followed. While the Liberal caucus still outnumbered the combined Tory and New Democratic caucuses, a series of pending by-elections could potentially have reduced Turner's government to a minority and left it in serious danger of being toppled by a motion of no confidence. With this in mind, the new Prime Minister requested that Queen Elizabeth II delay her tour of Canada, and asked Governor-General Jeanne Sauvé to dissolve Parliament on July 4. In accordance with Canadian constitutional practice, Sauvé granted the request and set the election for September 4.

The initial Liberal lead began to slip as Turner made several prominent gaffes. In particular, he spoke of creating new "make work programs", a concept from earlier decades that had been replaced by the less patronizing-sounding "job creation programs". He also was caught on camera patting Liberal Party President Iona Campagnolo on her posterior. Turner defended this action as being a friendly gesture, but it was seen by many as condescending.

Other voters turned against the Liberals due to their mounting legacy of patronage and corruption. An especially important issue was Trudeau's recommendation that Sauvé appoint over 200 Liberals to patronage posts just before he left office. This action enraged Canadians on all sides. Although Turner had the right to advise that the appointments be withdrawn (something that Sauvé would have had to do according to constitutional convention), he didn't do so. In fact, he himself appointed more than 70 Liberals to patronage posts despite a promise to bring a new way of politics to Ottawa. He cited a written agreement with Trudeau, claiming that if Trudeau had made the appointments, the Liberals would have almost certainly lost the election. However, the fact that Turner dropped the writ a year early hurt his argument.

Turner found out that Mulroney was allegedly setting up a patronage machine in anticipation of victory. At the English-language televised debate between Mulroney, Turner and New Democratic Party leader Ed Broadbent, Turner started to attack Mulroney on his patronage plans, comparing them to the patronage machine run by old Union Nationale in Quebec. However, Mulroney turned the tables by pointing to the raft of patronage appointments made on the advice of Trudeau and Turner. Claiming that he'd gone so far as to apologize for making light of "these horrible appointments," Mulroney demanded that Turner apologize to the country for not cancelling the appointments advised by Trudeau and for recommending his own appointments. Turner was visibly surprised, and could only reply that "I had no option" except to let the appointments stand. Mulroney famously responded:

You had an option, sir. You could have said, 'I am not going to do it. This is wrong for Canada, and I am not going to ask Canadians to pay the price.' You had an option, sir—to say 'no'—and you chose to say 'yes' to the old attitudes and the old stories of the Liberal Party. That sir, if I may say respectfully, that is not good enough for Canadians.

Turner, clearly flustered by this withering riposte from Mulroney, could only repeat "I had no option." A visibly angry Mulroney called this "an avowal of failure" and "a confession of non-leadership." He told Turner, "You had an option, sir. You could have done better." Mulroney's counterattack led most of the papers the next day it was often paraphrased as "You had an option, sir you could have said 'no'." Many observers saw this as the end of any realistic chance for Turner to stay in power.

The last days of the campaign saw multiple Liberal blunders pile together. Turner continued to speak of the "make work programs" and made other gaffes that caused voters to see him as a relic from the past. Turner even rehired much of Trudeau's staff during the final weeks in an attempt to turn the tide, but this did nothing to reverse sliding poll numbers. Even Trudeau himself did not campaign for Turner, instead only making appearances to support Liberal candidates.

Besides the Tories, the NDP also benefited from the slip in Liberal support. Under Broadbent, the party had seen greater support in opinion polling than ever before, and had actually replaced the Liberals as the second party in much of the west.

Liberals Edit

Turner's inability to overcome the alleged resentment against Trudeau, combined with his own mistakes, resulted in a debacle for the Liberals. They lost over a third of their popular vote from 1980, falling from 44 percent to 28 percent. Their seat count fell from 135 at dissolution to 40, a loss of 95 seats–the worst defeat of a sitting government in Canadian history at the time, and among the worst defeats ever suffered by a governing party in a Westminster system. It was the worst performance in their long history at the time the 40 seats would be their smallest seat count until they won only 34 seats in 2011. Eleven members of Turner's cabinet were defeated.

At the time, the only government who had lost more seats during an election were the Arthur Meighen led Conservatives in the 1921 election, losing 104 seats to Mackenzie King's Liberals. However, in terms of percentage of seats lost, the Liberals' loss was slightly larger. The Meighen Conservatives lost 68 percent of their seats compared to the Unionists' total from 1917, while the Liberals lost 72 percent of their seats from 1980. Additionally, a number of Liberal Unionists had rejoined the Liberals before 1921.

Despite their hopes of winning more support in the west, the Liberals won only two seats west of Ontario. One of those belonged to Turner, who defeated the Tory incumbent in Vancouver Quadra by a fairly solid 3,200-vote margin. The other belonged to Lloyd Axworthy, who was reelected in Winnipeg—Fort Garry by 2,300 votes.

Particularly shocking was the decimation of the Liberals in Quebec. They won only 17 seats, all but four in and around Montreal. The province had been the bedrock of Liberal support for almost a century the 1958 Tory landslide was the only time since the 1896 election that the Liberals had not won the most seats in Quebec. They would not win the most seats in the province again until the 2015 election (albeit they won the province's popular vote in 2000). In Ontario, the Liberals won only 14 seats, nearly all of them in Metro Toronto.

Progressive Conservatives Edit

Early in the election, Mulroney focused on adding Quebec nationalists to the traditional Tory coalition of western populist conservatives and fiscal conservatives from Ontario and the Atlantic provinces.

This strategy, as well as denouncing alleged corruption in the Liberal government, resulted in a major windfall for the Tories. They won 211 seats, three more than their previous record of 208 in 1958. They won both a majority of seats and at least a plurality of the popular vote in every province and territory, the only time in Canadian history a party has achieved this (the nearest previous occasion being in 1949, when only Alberta kept the Liberals from a clean sweep). They also won just over half the popular vote, the last time to date that a Canadian party has won a majority of the popular vote.

The Tories had a major breakthrough in Quebec, a province where they had been virtually unelectable for almost a century. However, Mulroney's promise of a new deal for Quebec caused the province to swing dramatically to support him. After winning only one seat out of 75 in 1980, the Tories won 58 seats in 1984, more than they had ever won in Quebec before. In many cases, ridings where few living residents had ever been represented by a Tory elected them by margins similar to those the Liberals had scored for years.

New Democrats Edit

The NDP lost only one seat, which was far better than expected considering the size of the PC tidal wave. Historically, third parties do not do well in landslides. More importantly, their 30 seats were only ten behind the Liberals. Although the NDP had long since established itself as the third major party in Canada, this was closer than any party had gotten to the Grits or Tories since 1921, when the Progressive Party briefly surpassed the Tories. This led to speculation that Canada was headed for a UK-style Labour–Conservative division, with the NDP knocking the Liberals down to third-party status. It would be as close as the NDP would get to becoming the Official Opposition until 2011, when the party gained the second largest number of seats in the House of Commons and the majority of seats in Quebec.

Other parties Edit

The Social Credit party, who for a long time had been the country's fourth-largest (and occasionally even third-largest) party, suffered a massive drop-off in support from the previous election, in which they had already lost a major share of the vote and all their remaining MPs. Having performed poorly in various by-elections in the years that followed, the party suffered a blow to its image in June 1983, when the party executive voted to re-admit a faction led by holocaust denier James Keegstra. Party leader Martin Hattersley resigned in protest. Additionally, most of their traditional support in Quebec turned to the Progressive Conservatives. As a result, Social Credit was only able to run 52 candidates in 51 ridings (with two Socreds standing in a British Columbia seat), its second-smallest slate since first running candidates east of Manitoba four decades earlier. The party lost 92 percent of its vote from 1980 and dropped from fourth place to ninth in the popular vote. For all intents and purposes, this was the end of Social Credit as a viable national party. It would make a desultory final appearance in 1988 before collapsing altogether in 1993.

The satirical Rhinoceros Party, despite a slight drop in their popular vote tally from the previous election, recorded their highest-ever finish at a general election, finishing as the fourth-largest party. Of the minor parties, only the Parti nationaliste du Québec and the Confederation of Regions Party of Canada managed to record more votes per candidate than the Rhinos, and even then only by small margins.

The Parti nationaliste du Québec, a successor to the previous Quebec-nationalist Union populaire party, ran for the first (and, ultimately, only) time in this election. Despite getting nearly six times the votes that their predecessors did in 1980, and finishing fifth in the popular vote, like the Socreds they proved unable to compete with the Progressive Conservatives, and failed to win any seats. The party would eventually collapse in 1987, though several of its members would go on to found the more successful Bloc Québécois.

The Confederation of Regions Party of Canada, formed mostly by disaffected former Socreds, were another party who debuted in this election. While they placed sixth in the popular vote and attracted a little over quadruple the vote of their forerunners, they still failed to seriously challenge for any seats. Much like the Socreds, they too disappeared from the national scene after 1988, though they continued on a regional level for several years afterwards.

All numerical results from Elections Canada's Official Report on the Thirty-Third Election.

"% change" refers to change from previous election.

x – less than 0.05% of the popular vote.

1 Tony Roman was elected in the Toronto-area riding of York North as a "coalition candidate", defeating incumbent PC MP John Gamble. Roman drew support from Progressive Conservatives who were upset by Gamble's extreme right-wing views.

2 Results of the Parti nationaliste du Québec are compared to those of the Union Populaire in the 1980 election.

The Revolutionary Workers League fielded five candidates: Michel Dugré, Katy Le Rougetel, Larry Johnston, Bonnie Geddes and Bill Burgess. All appeared on the ballot as independent or non-affiliated candidates, as the party was unregistered.

Structure of Ontario's government

Electoral System: first-past-the-post (the candidate with the most votes wins the seat and becomes a Member of Provincial Parliament).

Lieutenant Governor: the Queen’s official representative in Ontario and province’s head of state. The appointee performs various legislative and ceremonial duties.

Premier: the leader of the winning party (one with the most seats) becomes the Premier-elect.

Majority government: a party that wins a majority of seats (63 in Ontario) forms a majority government.

Minority government: no party has won a majority of seats the party with the “confidence of the House” – or support from members of other parties — forms a minority government. Minority governments are defeated when a majority of members do not support the government on a vote of confidence.

Cabinet: the Premier chooses an Executive Council, called a Cabinet. Members of Cabinet are called ministers. Cabinet develops policies and sets priorities. Ministers introduce new laws for consideration in the House.

Legislative Assembly: also known as the Ontario provincial parliament or the House – all elected members (MPPs) gather here to consider new laws (bills), and pass, change or repeal laws.

Members of the Opposition: elected members from the political parties that do not form the government.

Official Opposition: the opposition party with the greatest number of opposition seats.

Independent members: elected members not affiliated with a party.

Question Period: elected members, usually opposition MPPs, question the government on any matter of public concern. Question Period lasts one hour. House proceedings can be watched on television.

Courts: Ontario has several courts (for example, Court of Appeal for Ontario, Superior Court of Justice, Ontario Court of Justice and Small Claims Court). The Ministry of the Attorney General oversees courts and the administration of justice.

Quick facts

General elections: held every four years.

Number of ridings: 124.

Number of seats in provincial parliament: 124 (one for every riding).

Major political parties: Progressive Conservative Party, New Democratic Party and Liberal Party.

A Federal Fiscal History: Canada, 1867-2017

The Canadian federation’s 150th anniversary is an important milestone for a country that has become one of the most successful countries in the world. Canada’s economic evolution from a rural agricultural nation to a modern, highly urbanized, service-intensive economy is accompanied by the federal government’s transition from spending mainly on goods to spending on transfers. Indeed, over two thirds of federal spending today is now largely a transfer payment of some type whether to individuals, other governments, or bondholders. The evolution of the federal government from a producer and provider of public goods and services to a cheque-writing agency is a result that would likely astound the nineteenth-century founders of Canada.

Canada’s federal government has grown both in terms of its absolute revenue and expenditure as well as relative to the economy. At the dawn of Confederation, Canada’s federal government had a budget of $14 million, an ex-penditure-to-GDP ratio of approximately 5%, and a net debt of $75.7 million. This resulted in a net ratio of debt to GDP of 20% and annual interest charges of $4.9 million absorbing 29% of spending. By 2017, it is anticipated that total federal government spending will be $331 billion with an expenditure-to-GDP ratio of about 15.6%. The net federal public debt will total $759.5 billion, resulting in a debt-to-GDP ratio of 35.7% and debt service costs of $26.4 billion accounting for 8% of federal expenditure.

Paying for this expenditure changed over time. From 1867 to World War I, the federal government’s revenue was dominated by customs duties, which peaked at 66% of revenue in 1912. The needs of the war effort sparked the search for new revenue, which led to the creation of the first personal and corporate income taxes and the first federal sales tax. Over time, the importance of these three new revenue sources grew and it is anticipated that by 2017 the personal income tax alone will make up 51% of federal government revenue, corporate taxes, 13%, and commodity taxes (GST, excise taxes and customs duties), 17%.

The 150 years since Confederation have witnessed a transition of the federal government from its primary concern with the active economic development of a state grounded in liberal economic principles to an activist role partly aimed at bringing about a more egalitarian state via redistribution. This led to an expansion of the federal gov-ernment’s spending after World War II that, in the absence of more concerted fiscal discipline and given the slow-down in economic growth, ultimately was a factor in the debt crisis of the 1990s.

Prudent government spending is useful: for example, the construction of the transcontinental CPR railway aided by subsidies paid to encourage the building of a risky capital project. However, the same strategy also resulted in over-subsidization of the CPR as well as substantial subsidies to two other, less successful, rail lines. More gov-ernment spending is not always better and that also applies to the use of deficit financing.

Nevertheless, over the period from 1867 to 2017, Canada’s federal government ran a deficit nearly three quarters of the time with the largest deficit-to-GDP ratios during the two world wars and the run up to the debt crisis of the 1990s. The important policy decisions when it comes to spending are when to spend, what to spend it on, how much to spend, and how to pay for the spending. Getting the wrong answer to any of these questions has fiscal implications.

Given the surge in deficit financing at the federal level currently under way in the wake of the 2016 budget, one wonders if the lessons of the 1990s have already been forgotten. While interest rates remain at historic lows, eco-nomic growth is also low, making a case for fiscal prudence given the dynamics of deficits and debt. The progress made in reducing the ratio of federal net debt to GDP below 40% will be largely squandered if we allow debt to once again grow uncontrollably.

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Acknowledgement & Solidarity Statement

Queer Events acknowledges with gratitude the traditional territory upon which we operate. Deshkan Ziibiing is on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabek, Haudenosaunee, Lenape and Attawandaron Nations – each of whom have left their lasting mark upon the history of this area. Today, Deshkan Ziibiing and the surrounding area are subject to the Upper Canada treaties and specifically the Longwoods Treaty of 1822.

Acknowledgement & Solidarity Statement

Queer Events acknowledges with gratitude and respect, the longstanding relationships of the three local First Nations groups of this land and place, Deshkan Ziibiing also known as London, Ontario.

The three current and long standing Indigenous groups of this geographic region are the Anishinaabek, the Haudenosaunee and the Lenape. The three First Nations communities closest in proximity to us are the Chippewa of the Thames First Nation (part of the Anishinaabe), Oneida Nation of the Thames (part of the Haudenosaunee), and the Munsee-Delaware Nation (part of the Lenape).

We also acknowledge the Attawandaran (Neutral) peoples who once settled this region alongside the Algonquin and Haudenosaunee peoples, and used this land as their traditional beaver hunting grounds.

We recognize and deeply appreciate their historic connection to this place. We also recognize the contributions of Métis, Inuit, and other Indigenous peoples have made, both in shaping and strengthening this community in particular, and our province and country as a whole.

Today, London and the surrounding area are subject to the Upper Canada treaties and specifically the Longwoods Treaty of 1822.

We recognize that our work takes place on these traditional territories. Land acknowledgements do not exist in a past tense, or historical context: colonialism is a current ongoing process, and we are mindful of our present participation.

We recognize the impacts of colonization on our Two Spirit and Queer Indigenous communities. Before colonization, Two-Spirit people were included and respected as valued community members, often holding revered roles such as healers, matchmakers, and counsellors, among many others. As part of the colonization process, there has been an attempted erasure of Two-Spirit people. The western religious values and belief systems that were imposed on Indigenous people condemned any sort of sexual or gender diversity, and Two-Spirit and Queer Indigenous people were killed or forced into assimilation and hiding. One of many lasting impacts of colonization on Two-Spirit and Queer people, is an increased level of homophobia and transphobia within many Indigenous communities.

Queer Events stands in solidarity with the Indigenous peoples who are the caretakers of this land. As an LGBT2Q+ organization Queer Events is committed to be constantly working together with Queer Indigenous and Two Spirit members of our community to

  • Use our platform to increase the representation of Indigenous histories and people in our community.
  • Create more spaces in which Queer Indigenous and Two Spirit members of our community can safely connect.
  • Support requests from our local Queer Indigenous groups in any way we can.
  • Ongoing consultation, involvement and representation of Queer Indigenous and Two Spirit members of our community in the work we do.
  • Advocate and stand in solidarity with the First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities and support their rights to autonomy.

Queer Events supports the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Canada as well as the Calls to Action that are not listed but originate from the Indigenous peoples on this land. We ask that you educate yourself on the following:

Watch the video: The history of Canada explained in 10 minutes