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Issues for Canadians
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INTRODUCTION

What are the big ideas of this book?

For information and resources regarding Citizenship and Identity, visit these sites:

  • Mount Allison University’s Centre for Canadian Studies provides this summary of Identity and Region and what this concept means to Canadians.

  • The Canadian Identity is a wiki database of people, symbols, experiences, languages, and visions that unite Canadians.

Current events resources/news groups:

For news in French, visit

CHAPTER 1

For more information on Canada’s federal government, visit these sites:

  • An overview and resources relating to important Federal Legislation - The Constitution Act: Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; The Constitution Act: Rights of the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada; and the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA).

Familiarize yourself with the Role and Responsibilities of Canada’s Governor General.

How effectively does Canada’s federal political system govern Canada for all Canadians?

How Canadians Govern Themselves by Senator Eugene Forsey helps you understand the Canadian system of government.

A guide to all of Canada’s ministers and ministries from 1867 – present can be found at the Library of Parliament - Historical Information Cabinet and Ministry.

What is the structure of Canada’s federal political system?

Read all of Canada’s Constitution Acts from 1867 to 1982, including the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Visit the Government of Canada official website.

What does the executive branch do?

View profiles of Canada’s current cabinet ministers.

Read Canadian editorial cartoons by Graeme MacKay, Editorial Cartoonist at the Hamilton Spectator.

What does the legislative branch do?

Watch Question Period online or download it as a Podcast from the Created by Cable for Canadians (CPAC) website.

Elections Canada provides this Backgrounder on Political Parties, as well as a guide to all the current Registered Political Parties in Canada.

Read about the role of a Member of Parliament.

For information on Canada’s electoral process, visit

  • I Can Vote: A User Friendly Guide to Voting in Canada

View senators’ personal web pages at The Senate of Canada.

Find and contact your local Member of Parliament.

What does the judicial branch do?

Visit the website of the Supreme Court of Canada.

Access a comprehensive database of all the Supreme Court’s reports, from 1876 to the present, at Judgements of the Supreme Court of Canada.

Read about the Supreme Court of Canada Appointment Process.

How do laws become laws?

At Making Laws in Canada, view a chart outlining the law-making process.

Read about Canada’s legislative process at The Senate Today.

See a detailed explanation of The Legislative Process from the Government of Canada website.

For information on the Federal Accountability Act, see

Government Watchdog Groups:

 Learn about the House of Commons Page Program

To learn more about First Nations, Métis, and Inuit governance:

  • The Assembly of First Nations website provides news, cultural and historical articles, services, and links from the national representative/lobby organization.
  • Since 1928, the Métis Nation of Alberta has existed to advocate on behalf of and meet the needs and aspirations of Métis people in Alberta.
  • The Metis Settlements General Council is a pro-active government that helps develop, implement, and distribute programs and services to the eight Alberta settlements.
  • Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami is the national organization representing the Inuit of Canada. Their site contains information on Canadian Inuit and the organization.

What do lobbyists do?

Look through a database of Lobby Groups in Canada for information and contact details.

CHAPTER 2

How do Canada’s justice system and the youth criminal justice act attempt to treat young offenders fairly and equitably?

Find news, information and backgrounders on developments in Canadian laws and in the justice department at the Department of Justice Canada official website.

This article from the CBC News gives some background information and highlights of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Read the Youth Justice Act online.

View the Youth Criminal Justice Act, along with explanatory materials and other information from the Department of Justice.

Read the Criminal Code of Canada online.

Look up data at Statistics Canada. Statistics on youth crime and youth justice can be found through the Crime and Justice section.

What role do Canadian citizens and organizations play in the fairness and equity of the youth justice system?

The Elizabeth Fry Societies of Alberta work with women and teenage girls who are in conflict with the law.

The John Howard Society of Alberta provides crime prevention programs for offenders and their families, ex-offenders, young persons, and the public.

For more information on restorative justice, see

 Read an issue paper on Aboriginal Women and the Legal Justice System in Canada, prepared by the Native Women’s Association of Canada.

Alberta’s Aboriginal Justice page provides information on initiatives and programs currently underway in Alberta, as well as other topics of interest regarding Aboriginal justice.

CHAPTER 3

How effectively does Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms protect your individual rights?

Your Guide to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms aims is to increase understanding of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and to heighten awareness of its importance.

How does the Charter protect individual rights and freedoms?

See background information on The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms from the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Published by the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights, the Youth Guide to the Charter is a printable guide for students.

This document on the Indian Act – Bill-C31was issued by the Native Council of Canada to assist unregistered Indians to apply for status under the Indian Act.

Read an annotated timeline of important events in the history of Women’s Rights in Canada.

Learn about the history and development of Women’s Suffrage from the Canadian Encyclopedia.

Read a biography of suffragette Nellie McClung and her quest to get women the vote.

From the CBC Digital Archives, watch a video clip about suffragette Nellie McClung's famous 'mock parliament' of 1914.

The Ukrainian Canadian Congress provides information about the Internment of Ukrainians in Canada.

The Ukrainian Civil Liberties Association is committed to the defence

of the civil liberties and human rights of Ukrainians in Canada and elsewhere.

The Alberta Online Encyclopedia has this article about Italian internment in Alberta during and after World War II.

Find information about Japanese internment at this site, part of Canada: A People’s History.

Historica’s website provides this summary of the internment of the Japanese during World War II.

Visit the website of the David Suzuki Foundation. Suzuki, a world-renowned scientist, environmentalist, and broadcaster, was also a victim of Canada’s Japanese internment.

How does the charter affect law making in Canada?

Read the Supreme Court’s Ruling in the case of R. v. Big M Drug Mart.

The Department of Justice website provides information on Canada’s Anti-Terrorism Act.

How does the Charter affect the workplace?

The Alberta Human Rights Commission aims to foster equality and reduce discrimination.

CHAPTER 4

To what extent has Canada affirmed collective rights?

Learn more about Head Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world's oldest, largest, and best-preserved buffalo jumps.

Read an overview of Aboriginal and Human rights on the website of the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

The CBC News site has this page, devoted to Aboriginal news, culture and art.

What laws recognize the collective rights of First Nations peoples?

Watch video clips about historical events in The Battle for Aboriginal Treaty Rights from the CBC archives.

For more information on the Numbered Treaties:

  • See Geographic Information about the historical Indian treaties from 1725 to 1923 on this map from the Atlas of Canada.

  • The Confederacy of Treaty 6 First Nations is involved with advocacy, protection, and policy development regarding Treaty 6 rights.

  • The Alberta Online Encyclopaedia’s Treaty 7: Past and Present pages have information on Treaty 7 First Nations’ traditional life, the making of the treaty, and contemporary life.

  • The website of the Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta has information on Treaty history, and information on current health, education, and economic development policy among Treaty 8 Nations.

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.

Watch and listen to television and radio news clips about Residential Schools from the CBC digital archives.

The Native Council of Canada put out this series of informational booklets about the Indian Act and Bill C-31.

What collective rights do official language groups have under the Charter?

Read a government document on Section 23 of the Charter and the Minority Language Education Rights it bestows.

Read the Supreme Court’s decision in the landmark case of Mahe vs. Alberta.

Read the Manitoba Act of 1870 online.

A brief description of the Manitoba Act can be found at the Canadian Encyclopedia website.

Learn about what the passing of the Manitoba Act and Scrip meant for Métis rights.

Read a short, student-friendly description of Section 35, Constitution Act – the section that recognizes and protects Treaty rights.

The Alberta Online Encyclopedia provides this brief outline of Francophone Education in Alberta.

See a chronology of significant events in the development of Alberta’s Francophone communities and education.

For information on Pierre Trudeau and bilingualism:

What laws recognize the collective rights of the Métis?

Learn about the history of the Métis Betterment Act, enacted by Alberta in 1938.

Since 1928, the Métis Nation of Alberta has existed to advocate on behalf of and meet the needs and aspirations of Métis people in Alberta.

The Métis Settlement General Council is the political and administrative body for the Métis Settlements. It is a proactive government that helps develop, implement, and distribute programs and services to the eight Alberta settlements.

At the Virtual Museum of Métis History and Culture, find written and audio-visual information about Métis languages, culture, history, and art, as well as a large collection of educational articles and resources.

For information on Louis Riel and the Northwest Resistance:

  • Read a biography of Louis Riel at the website of Manitoba’s Heritage Centre, the oldest Francophone historical society of Western Canada.
  • At The Trial of Louis Riel, find a chronology, images, biography, diary entries, and more about the “Father of Manitoba.”

CHAPTER 5

What criteria does Canada use when accepting immigrants and refugees?

Find out about immigration requirements, categories, procedures, and the points system at Immigrating to Canada.

The Citizenship and Immigration Canada website provides information on all sorts of immigration-related topics, including immigration news items and frequently asked questions.

One Hundred Years of Immigration to Canada is an online audio-visual presentation with text, photos, and music. It outlines the major events and countries of origin of immigrants to Canada in each decade from 1900-2000.

The Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Resource Centre provides information on Canadian immigration and employment services, and offers free immigration assessments from immigration lawyers.

How do provinces influence immigration laws and polices?

Research the Statistics Canada website for current immigration statistics in each province and territory.

CHAPTER 6

To what extent do different economic systems affect quality of life?

Take a look at the differences between Canadian and American Regionalism and what causes them.

See how geography and economy contribute to regional identities in Canada at Dimensions of Canadian Regionalism.

Read an article about the Canadian identity among young people today at Express News from the University of Alberta.

 Learn about the sectors and industries of the Canadian economy, as defined by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).

Read a summary of the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919.

CHAPTER 7

What role should consumerism play in our economy?

Adbusters is a not-for-profit, anti-consumerist organization based in Vancouver.

The Media Awareness Network features a comprehensive collection of media education and Internet literacy resources designed specifically for young people.

Read about Tobacco and Marketing, including the portrayal of smoking in the movies, at the youth section of the Health Canada website.

The Canadian Consumer Handbook provides contact information for consumer affairs offices across the country.

The CBC published this article on the closure of the Hershey factory in Smiths Falls, Ontario.

A listing of Consumer Protection Offices across Canada is available through the Consumers Association of Canada website.

File a complaint with the Canadian Broadcasting Standards Council, an organization created by the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) to administer standards established by its members.

Send an inquiry or complaint to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Council (CRTC), an agency responsible for regulating Canada's broadcasting and telecommunications systems.

What affects the impact of consumerism on the economies of Canada and the U.S.?

For information about consumerism, quality of life and economic relationships between Canada, U.S. and Mexico:

  • Mexico’s economic sectors, such as Trade, Agriculture, and Manufacturing, are discussed at this website.
  • See information and statistics about U.S.-Canada-Mexico trade on this Fact Sheet on Trade and Migration.
  • This document provides detailed information on Mexico-Canada trade, including a specific section on trade between Mexico and Alberta.

CHAPTER 8

How do decisions about social programs and taxation in Canada and the U.S. attempt to meet the needs of citizens?

The Canadian Economy Online is a guide to the national economy. Check out statistics, a wealth of federal government information, and learn about economic concepts and events.

The Canada Revenue Agency provides comprehensive tax information for individuals and businesses.

This paper discusses social programs in Canada - the federal capacity to influence the setting of nation-wide standards for provincial social programs and subsequent adherence to them.

What values shape the economic policies of political parties on social programs and taxation?

See a list of registered Political Parties in Canada with links to each party’s website.

The Republican National Committee website is the official site of the United States’ Republican Party.

Visit the official site of the Democratic Party in the United States.

This site, by the U.S. State Department, provides news about American Foreign Policy, U.S. Politics, American Life, Democracy, and Science & Health.

Voters in the CBC’s Greatest Canadian contest chose Tommy Douglas as the winner. The site includes short biographies of the top 100 contenders.

CHAPTER 9

What political and economic decisions should Canadians make to respond to climate change?

At the Exploratorium’s Global Climate Change Research Explorer, explore scientific data and get a sense of how researchers gather evidence, test theories, and come to conclusions.

Read the Kyoto Protocol online and see information about its goals, mechanisms, and progress.

The Atlas of Canada’s Climate Change Map Series illustrates factors related to climate change. Maps include the locations of Canadian renewable energy sources, concentration of fuel-efficient cars, and temperature maps.

Online mapping tools:

  • With a Google account, create customized maps at Google’s My Maps. Use Google’s existing maps as a base, then annotate by inserting place markers, text, and photos.
  • The Global Biodiversity Information works to make the world's biodiversity data accessible everywhere in the world. Use the Online Tools for Mapping Biodiversity to see maps and data about particular species or countries.

For information on groups that promote environmental awareness:

  • Environment Canada’s Climate Change site contains information on present and future projections of climate change in Canada, as well as the measures being taken to reduce it.
  • EcoAction Canada provides financial support to community groups for action-oriented projects that address key environmental issues. The site also provides information on the government’s environmental initiatives.
  • Ecokids is an interactive environmental web site for children, their families, and educators.
  • The Youth in Philanthropy Canada links page provides tons of links to youth-centric philanthropic, environmental, and other community and activist organizations around the world.
  • Free The Children is the world’s leading youth-driven charity, promoting education and sustainable incomes in developing countries, and encouraging ethical living and social responsibility.

For information on the Alberta oil sands:

  • Facts, FAQs and other background information on the oil sands can be found at the Alberta Energy website.

What political and economic decisions should Canadians make to protect biodiversity?

The Redpath Museum of McGill University’s Canadian Biodiversity Website aims to teach us what is at stake, what has been learned, and what we are doing and still need to do.

The Canadian Biodiversity Information Network contains information such as what you can do to protect biodiversity, reference material, biodiversity news, and links to relevant organizations.

The Hinterland Who’s Who series of vignettes was created in the 1960s to educate the public about Canada’s wildlife. Watch video clips, read about wildlife species, and access information about Canada's changing biodiversity.