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Editorial

Editorial: John Humphrey, Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The following article is an editorial written by The Canadian Encyclopedia staff. Editorials are not usually updated.

In 1946, John Humphrey became director of the United Nations Division on Human Rights, and Eleanor Roosevelt was named the United States representative to the UN’s Commission on Human Rights. Humphrey was an obscure Canadian law professor. Roosevelt was the world’s most celebrated woman. For two years, they collaborated on the creation of one of the modern world’s great documents: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It was adopted on 10 December 1948.

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The Penner Report

The Penner Report was a report prepared by the Special Committee of the House of Commons on Indian Self-Government. It was issued in November 1983. Named after committee chairman Keith Penner, the report made a series of recommendations. These recommendations promoted the concept of self-governing First Nations. First Nations, in this legal context, are classified as status Indians under the Indian Act.

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John Brant (Ahyonwaeghs)

John Brant (Ahyonwaeghs), Kanyen’kehà:ka (Mohawk) Grand Chief, Indian Superintendent (born 27 September 1794 near Brantford, ON; died 27 August 1832 near Brantford, ON). John Brant was the son of Joseph Brant, Kanyen’kehà:ka (Mohawk) chieftain and the first Indigenous person to receive a commission in the British Army, as a captain in 1757. Brant was also the nephew of Robert Johnson Kerr, who was the son of Major General Sir William Johnson and brother-in-law of Joseph Brant.

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Sheila North

Sheila North, leader, activist, journalist (born 1972 in Oxford House, MB, now Bunibonibee Cree Nation). In 2015, Sheila North became the first woman elected as Grand Chief of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak. This organization represents 30 First Nations in Northern Manitoba. She coined the hashtag #MMIW (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women) in 2012. It is meant to raise awareness of the national crisis and address violence against Indigenous women. A journalist, North has worked as a correspondent for CBC News and CTV News in Winnipeg.

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Prime Minister of Canada (Plain-Language Summary)

The prime minister (PM) is the head of the federal government. The PM is typically the leader of the party with the most seats in the House of Commons. The PM controls the governing party and speaks for it. They appoint senators and senior judges. They also appoint and dismiss all members of Cabinet. As chair of Cabinet, the PM controls its agenda and sets the goals of Parliament. Recent years have seen a debate over the growing power of prime ministers and the effect of this on Parliament.

This article is a plain-language summary of the Prime Minister of Canada. If you are interested in reading about this topic in more depth, please see our full-length entry: Prime Minister of Canada.

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Gordon Sidney Harrington

Gordon Sidney Harrington, labour lawyer, military officer (colonel), politician, premier of Nova Scotia (born 7 August 1883 in Halifax, NS; died 4 July 1943 in Halifax, NS). Educated at Dalhousie University, Harrington practised law in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. During the First World War, he served with the Canadian Expeditionary Force from 1915–17, and with the Overseas Military Forces of Canada from 1917–20. After the war, he became an MLA for Cape Breton Centre in 1925. He succeeded Edgar N. Rhodes as premier of Nova Scotia in 1930. However, with the onset of the Great Depression, Harrington and the Conservatives were defeated just three years later by the Liberals in 1933. Harrington remained an MLA for Cape Breton South until 1937. A skillful administrator, Harrington’s legacy includes his instrumental involvement in the repatriation of Canadian soldiers after the First World War and his role in ending labour disputes in the Cape Breton mining industry.

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Inuit Disc Numbers

From 1941 to 1978, the Government of Canada issued personal identifying numbers to all Inuit, then referred to as Eskimos, in Canada’s Arctic. The Eskimo Identification system was implemented to identify and register individuals for administrative purposes, such as taking censuses. Each Inuk was given a small leather or pressed fibre disc with a number on it, referred to as their disc number. Ultimately, disc numbers were required for any government interaction, such as keeping track of hunting, trapping, medical services, education, housing, family allowance and getting food and supplies. The system was unique to the Inuit. No other Canadian was required to have a number to access basic services or monitor their actions.

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Adélard Raymond

Adélard Raymond, pilot, businessman and politician (born 10 July 1889 in Saint-Stanislas-de-Kostka, QC; died 23 February 1962 in Montreal, QC). Raymond was a French-Canadian pilot who served in the First World War and then in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) from 1934 to 1945. He was the second French Canadian to be appointed air vice-marshal. Raymond was also involved in the hotel industry and in various commercial operations. He was elected mayor of Senneville, on the west island of Montreal, serving from June 1951 to June 1959.

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10 Interesting Facts About Queen Elizabeth II

In 2022, Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Platinum Jubilee, the 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne. Over the course of her record-breaking reign, the Queen witnessed unprecedented social, cultural and political change and travelled extensively throughout the United Kingdom, Canada and the wider Commonwealth. Here are 10 interesting facts about the long and eventful life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II.

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Henry Herbert Stevens

Henry “Harry” Herbert Stevens, businessman, politician, federal cabinet minister (born 8 December 1878 in Bristol, England; died 14 June 1973 in Vancouver, BC). Henry Herbert Stevens was a Vancouver city councillor, a long-serving member of parliament (MP) and a federal cabinet minister. He was a key figure in the King-Byng Affair and in the turning away of the Komagata Maru. Stevens was outspoken in his opposition to immigration, Vancouver’s Chinese community and BC’s First Nations, and in his efforts to preserve Canada as “a white man’s country.” (See also Racism; Prejudice and Discrimination in Canada.) He was also the founder and leader of the short-lived Reconstruction Party.

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Harry Daniels

Harry Wilfred Daniels, politician, writer, actor (born 16 September 1940 in Regina Beach, SK; died 6 September 2004 in Regina Beach). Daniels was a celebrated Métis politician and activist who fought for the rights of Métis people. His greatest contribution to Indigenous rights in Canada was the Supreme Court case Daniels v. Canada, which guaranteed that Métis and Non-Status Indians are considered “Indian” under the Constitution Act, 1867. (See also Indian Status.)

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Patriation of the Constitution

In 1982, Canada fully broke from its colonial past and “patriated” its Constitution. It transferred the country’s highest law, the British North America Act (which was renamed the Constitution Act, 1867), from the authority of the British Parliament to Canada’s federal and provincial legislatures. The Constitution was also updated with a new amending formula and a Charter of Rights and Freedoms. These changes occurred after a fierce, 18-month political and legal struggle that dominated headlines and the agendas of every government in the country.

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Judy Rebick

Judy Rebick, feminist, social activist, author, broadcaster, public speaker (born 15 August 1945 in Reno, Nevada). Judy Rebick has championed the rights of women, minorities and the working class since the 1960s. She was a member of the NDP’s Waffle caucus and a pro-choice spokesperson for the Ontario Coalition for Abortion Clinics. She rose to national prominence as the president of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women (1990–93) and as the host of CBC TV programs (1994–2000). From 2002 to 2010, she was the Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice and Democracy at Ryerson University. She is also a best-selling author and was the founding publisher of rabble.ca.

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Pierre Elliott Trudeau

Pierre Elliott Trudeau, PC, CC, CH, FRSC, prime minister of Canada 1968–79 and 1980–84, politician, writer, constitutional lawyer (born 18 October 1919 in Montreal, QC; died 28 September 2000 in Montreal). A charismatic and controversial figure, Pierre Trudeau was arguably Canada’s best-known politician, both at home and abroad. He introduced legal reforms to make Canada a more “just society” and made Canada officially bilingual with the Official Languages Act of 1969. He negotiated Canada’s constitutional independence from Britain and established a new Canadian Constitution with a Charter of Rights and Freedoms. He played an important role in defeating the Quebec separatist movement of the 1970s and 1980s; although his decision to invoke the War Measures Act in response to the 1970 October Crisis drew sharp criticism. His federalist stance as well as his language and economic policies alienated many in Canada, particularly in the West. His eldest son, Justin Trudeau, became leader of the Liberal Party in 2013 and prime minister in 2015.

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Queen Elizabeth II

Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, the United Kingdom and 13 other Commonwealth realms (born 21 April 1926 in London, United Kingdom; died 8 September 2022 at Balmoral Castle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland). The Queen reigned since 1952 and was the Head of State of Canada, the United Kingdom and 13 other Commonwealth realms. Elizabeth II was the first monarch to be crowned Queen of Canada. She was the longest reigning monarch in British and Commonwealth history and celebrated her Platinum Jubilee, the 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne, in 2022.

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Harjit Sajjan

Harjit Singh Sajjan, PC, OMM, MSM, CD, soldier, policeman, politician, Minister of National Defence 2015–21, Minister of International Development 2021–present (born 6 September 1970, in Bombeli, Hoshiarpur, India). Harjit Sajjan enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces at age 19 and joined the Vancouver Police Department in 1999. He served for 11 years and became a detective. He also served three tours of duty in Afghanistan, where he was hailed as Canada’s “best single intelligence asset.” Sajjan rose to the rank of lieutenant-colonel and became the first Sikh Canadian to command an Armed Forces regiment. He was elected as a Liberal MP for Vancouver South in 2015. He was Minister of National Defence for nearly six years — one of the longest tenures in the country’s history. He has been Minister of International Development since 2021.