Table of contents

PART I: Activism and Human Rights Movements
Chapter 1: Domination and Dissent: Equality Rights before World War II, Ross Lambertson
Chapter 2: Suppression and Subversion: Libertarian and Egalitarian Rights up to 1960, Ross Lambertson
Chapter 3: "Rights without the Sword Are but Mere Words": The Limits of Canada's Rights Revolution, Dominique Clement
Chapter 4: The Second World War and Canada's Early Human Rights Movement: The Asian Canadian Experience, Stephanie Bangarth
PART II: Defining, Defining, and Demanding Rights in Social, Political, and Economic Context
Chapter 5: Finding Jim Crow in Canada, 1789-1967, Barrington Walker
Chapter 6: A Brief History of the Denial of indigenous Rights in Canada, David T. McNab
Chapter 7: "Mixing with People on Spadina": The Tense Relations between Non-Jewish Workers and Jewish Workers, Ruth A. Frager
Chapter 8: The Right to Consent?: Eugenics in Alberta, 1928-1972, Jana Grekul
PART III: Social, Political, and Legislative Change
Chapter 9: Transnational Movements for Children's Rights and the Canadian Political Culture: A History, Dominique Marshall
Chapter 10: From Repression to Renaissance: French-language Rights in Canada before the Charter, Matthew Hayday
Chapter 11: Pierre Elliott Trudeau's Legacy: The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Michael D. Behiels
Chapter 12: Social Movements and Judicial Empowerment: Courts, Public Policy, and Lesbian and Gay Organizing in Canada, Miriam Smith
Appendix A: Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1958)
Appendix B: Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982)
Copyright Acknowledgements


Human rights, equality, and social justice are at the forefront of public concern and political debate in Canada. Global events – especially the “war on terrorism” – have fostered further interest in the abuse of human rights, especially when sanctioned or perpetuated by democratic governments. This groundbreaking contributed volume seeks to shed light on this topic by uniting original essays that examine the history of human rights in Canada.

Contributors explore a variety of themes integral to the post-confederation period, including immigration and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, disability, state formation, and provincial-federal relations. Three key issues emerge throughout: incidents of discrimination in both government and society, the efforts of human rights and civil liberties activists to create a more open and tolerant society, and the implementation of state legislation designed to protect or enhance civil rights.


"With all of its plusses, this book will constitute a valuable contribution to Canadian Human Rights literature. It has the potential to become an important work in the growing field of human rights, and makes for a very good publication with cross-disciplinary appeal in areas like political science, sociology, philosophy, and history. "
— ?The Honourable Noel A. Kinsella, Speaker, Senate of Canada, Professor of Human Rights, past Director, Atlantic Human Rights Centre, St. Thomas University