Taking Liberties

A History of Human Rights in Canada
Goutor, David
Heathorn, Stephen
Date published: 
November 2013

In Canada human rights are considered to be fundamental and inalienable, and on the international stage our rights regime is seen to be forward-looking. The historical reality, however, is that Canada was surprisingly slow to adopt and adapt to the "rights revolution" that followed the Second World War. Canadians are by and large unaware of the uneven emergence of a rights consciousness, nor is there a general understanding of how the Canadian experience fits into the international story of the age of rights. This collection explores the changing attitudes toward human rights in Canada in the last hundred years. Contributors detail the novelty of, the struggle for, and the limitations of universal human rights in Canada and their uneven application across Canadian society. The history of this long process of transformation includes the struggle faced by many groups for recognition of their rights and the important work of rights activists.