in Taking Liberties
A History of Human Rights in Canada
David Goutor and Stephen Heathorn
“Universal human rights are considered to be a fundamental, inalienable aspect of Canadian legal culture, not to mention central to our international positioning. However the reality is that Canada was surprisingly slow to adopt the rights revolution that followed the Second World War, given concerns that existing norms and liberties could conflict with these new universal rights. Moreover, even when Canada did sign up, these rights were not all automatically put into practice. Nor, interestingly, did all groups embrace these rights.
Human rights, as we know, did become entrenched. There have been challenges to and changes in the legal framework of citizenship in Canada. But this has followed a long process of transformation, and many groups have faced tremendous struggle to get their rights claims recognized. This collection sheds new lights on the bumpy road toward universal human rights in our diverse and complex country. […] New research in the growing new field of human rights history explores the novelty of, the struggle for, and the limitations of, the new rights regime, and its uneven application across Canadian society.”