Journals Higher Education



Published: 28 November 2013

304 Pages

8.9 x 6.0 inches

ISBN: 9780199004799

Bookseller Code (06)

Taking Liberties

A History of Human Rights in Canada

David Goutor and Stephen Heathorn

  • New and growing field of study. The ways in which universal declaration of human rights have become entrenched in particular countries is a growing field, with this new historical research at the forefront of scholarship.
  • Groundbreaking. First historical study of human rights in Canada to encompass law, politics, history, class, and labour relations.
  • Wide-ranging study. Experts explore a range of topics, including sexual rights, children's rights, and Aboriginal rights.
  • Landmark essay on Aboriginal rights. J.R. Miller's excellent contribution addresses the unique history of Aboriginal rights in Canada, exploring why First Nations peoples until recently have not used human rights discourse in their struggles for cultural recognition and in legal claims for land.
  • Universal concepts vs. local experience. While human rights are theoretically universal and inalienable, defining and operationalizing them in terms of local experience is messy and uneven.
  • Overturns common understanding. Canada is thought to be forward-looking in its human rights application; this study, however, reveals the highs and lows of slow and uneven progression.
  • Reveals the importance of establishing human rights. Not merely abstract ideals, rights have material consequences such as access to social services, benefits, housing, and employment opportunities.
  • Fascinating theoretical questions. From the definition of rights to indigenous societies that define rights as kinship-based rather than individual, this collection raises some of the key questions that have still to be settled in our legal discourse.
  • Comparative outlook. The context is the evolving discourse of rights in the English-speaking commonwealth world and includes comparisons with the UK, the US, and Australia.
  • Explores Canadian diversity. An excellent contribution to how diversity has been managed, and at times mismanaged, in Canada and how different groups have positioned themselves within the legal framework.
  • Preface by Michael Ignatieff. This highly insightful original and unpublished piece by the man who almost became our prime minister is based on a very well-received public lecture in response to the chapters written for this volume.
  • Afterword by William Schabas. A Canadian national, Schabas is an internationally respected expert on human rights and genocide.

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