Canadian History: Key Historic Points

Official Languages Act of 1969 is a federal statute that recognizes French and English as the official languages of Canada. Under this document, all federal institutions are to provide their services in English or French at the customer’s choice. To monitor the implementation of this Act there was established the office of the Commissioner of Official Languages. In 1987 an amended Official Languages Act was introduced to promote official language minority rights. This Act plays a significant role in the settlement of the cultural misunderstandings in Canada as it guarantees the equal use of both English and French languages.

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The Quiet Revolution is the name for the 1960s period of rapid change in Quebec and Canada, connected with the name of Jean Lesage, who was the head of government at that time. This period is characterized by fundamental shifts in all spheres of life.

Quebec society became more secularized and open, turned down from the traditionalism, but at the same time the nationalism penetrated everywhere. In the sphere of economic development, the government took some steps to increase Francophones’ control of the province’s economy, which earlier had been largely dominated by English-speaking investors. A welfare state has been created (Conrad M., Finkel A., 2003). This period is a perfect example of fast modernization, of successful and effective reforms that served to the prosperity of the province.

Royal Commission on the Status of Women, established by Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson on 16 February 1967 in response to a campaign launched by a coalition of 32 women’s voluntary groups. The RCSW was to investigate and report on all matters concerning the status of women and to make recommendations for improving the conditions of women in those areas that are within the jurisdiction of the federal government.

The investigation began in the spring of 1968 and lasted half a year. The results of RSCW activity were reflected in a 488-pages report, which contained recommendations on such issues as educational opportunities, access of women to managerial positions, equal pay for work, maternity leave, etc. In the following years, many of those recommendations were implemented. The significance of this event cannot be overestimated, because the problems of women were revealed and steps to solve them were made, which allowed improving the quality of life of women.

Gouzenko Affair is one of the events that gave birth to the Cold War. Igor Gouzenko was a clerk of the Soviet Embassy to Canada in Ottawa. In 1945, knowing that he was to be sent back home, he decided to defect and did so with 109 documents on Soviet espionage activities. The evidence provided by Gouzenko revealed the perfidy of the Soviet Union and the efforts to steal nuclear secrets and led to the arrest in Canada of a total of 39 suspects, of which 18 were convicted. Gouzenko was granted asylum and another identity by the Canadian Government. Gouzenko Affair showed the true face of the recent ally and changed the perception of the Soviet Union on the West – now it was regarded as an enemy.

The Charlottetown Accord was a package of constitutional amendments, proposed by the Canadian federal and provincial governments in 1992. It was an attempt to resolve the dispute about the division of powers between federal and provincial institutions. In the exclusive provincial jurisdiction were included cultural policy, mining, forestry, and other natural resources. Also, it provided for the institutional changes and recognized Quebec as a “distinct society”.

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But the referendum, held on October 26 that year, had declined the Accord. The referendum had shown the anticipation of politicians and all their proposals by voters and lead to radical changes in the political sphere in the nearest future.

NATO, or North Atlantic Treaty Organization, established in 1949, is an organization of collective defense and security. It was one of the parts of the Cold War, being the bastion of the West, while the Warsaw Treaty Organization presented the block of socialist countries. At this time NATO comprises 26 member countries, including Canada, which is one of the founding members. After the collapse of communism, NATO lost its role as an alliance that was to deter aggression and have revised its goals and activities to respond to the modern challenges. Canada’s membership in NATO is one of the most important parts of Canadian foreign policy. Canada has a prominent benefit of both diplomatic and military weight and abilities of NATO.

NAFTA, or the North Atlantic Free Trade Association, is an association of Canada, the USA, and Mexico, designed to improve the economic and trade abilities of the parties through the creation of a free trade zone. It was established in 1994 and comprises more than 370 million people.

It has two supplements – the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC) and the North American Agreement on Labour Cooperation (NAALC). NAFTA has eliminated the majority of tariffs on products and continues the liberalization process. Canada has gained much from the liberalization process – its export has obviously grown. At this moment NAFTA is the biggest trade bloc in the world in the terms of combined GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of its members.

Charter Of Rights and Freedoms is an integral part of the constitution of Canada. It came into force on 17 April 1982. The Charter limits the ability of the government to adopt laws or to take actions that can discriminate against human rights. It guarantees the following rights and freedoms: freedom of thought and religion, freedom of peaceful meetings, the right to vote, the right to run for public office, the right to life, liberty, security, etc. The Charter means that all individuals must be treated equally regardless of their race, the color of skin, origin, religion, sex, age, and mental or physical disability (Department of Justice Canada). The principles of the Charter are essential to the promotion of a free and democratic society and human rights.

Works cited

Conrad, Margarat; Finkel, Alvin. Canada: A National History. Toronto: Longman, 2003.

Department of Justice Canada. Sources of Canadian law. 2007. Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Canadian History: Key Historic Points'. 14 September.

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