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Ontario Since Confederation

Ontario Since Confederation: A Reader

Edgar-André Montigny
Lori Chambers
Copyright Date: 2000
Pages: 470
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  • Book Info
    Ontario Since Confederation
    Book Description:

    Articles ranging widely with politics,economics, and social history contain some of the most recent scholarship in the field of post-Confederation Ontario history, encompassing both traditional and newly emerging topics.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-2083-4
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Patterns of Gendered Labour and the Development of Ontario Agriculture
    (pp. 3-15)

    Agriculture, the occupation of the majority of people in Ontario before 1920, reflected gendered patterns of labour.¹ But these characteristics shifted as farming developed between 1780 and 1920 within the province. When a major upheaval in gendered work patterns occurred in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, for example, it seems significant that the transition occurred at the same time that fundamental shifts in Ontario farming practices were taking place. The evolution of farming, then, may help to explain how gender functioned in agricultural production. I will illustrate in this article how the development of market focus and of...

  5. Putting Flesh on the Bones: Writing the History of Julia Turner
    (pp. 16-39)

    Practitioners of the new women’s history are producing accounts that articulate their subjects’ oppression and victimization along with their agency and power as these women attempt to create meaningful lives for themselves. Such an approach enables historians to construct a more holistic view of women’s historical experiences.¹ The case of Julia Turner, a Black woman who taught in Essex County, Ontario, during the middle and late nineteenth century, is instructive. Her life and work provide an opportunity to study the dialectical interplay of women’s oppression, subordination, and agency as these aspects are informed by gender, class, race, family, and marital...

  6. The Wikwemikong First Nation and the Department of Indian Affairs’ Mismanagement of Petroleum Development
    (pp. 40-54)

    In the 1860s, Charles T. Dupont, Indian agent at Manitowaning, authorized outsiders to develop the unrelinquished oil and gas resources of the Wikwemikong First Nation on Manitoulin Island. A high-ranking official in the Crown Land Department – William Spragge, the deputy superintendent of Indian Affairs – collaborated with Dupont to bring his illegal and fraudulent leases into operation. Against this blatant colonial appropriation of Aboriginal property stood the Wikwemikong First Nation, which opposed the efforts of the Indian Department to control and regulate its petroleum resources through consistent declarations of sovereignty and by issuing its own unilateral leases. Nevertheless, Indian...

  7. The Other Side: The Rhetoric of Labour Reform in Toronto during the 1870s
    (pp. 55-73)

    During the early 1870s, in a period of economic growth and industrialization in Ontario, trade union membership increased, new unions were organized, the important struggle for shorter hours occurred, and the institutional framework for the labour movement was put into place. Toronto Local 3 of the Cooper’s International Union provided the impetus for the organization of the Toronto Trades Assembly in April 1871. The following spring the journeymen members of the TTA were embroiled in the provincewide struggle for shorter working hours, a campaign that became known as the nine-hours movement.¹

    On 12 April 1871 delegates from the various trade...

  8. Families, Institutions, and the State in Late-Nineteenth-Century Ontario
    (pp. 74-93)

    Just as the state has enacted major changes in the social welfare system during the last fifty years, so the second half of the nineteenth century also witnessed a significant transformation in poor-relief policies. During this period the Ontario government came to accept a great deal of responsibility for the care of the ill, the insane, the destitute, and the dependent aged. For the most part, the government focused on providing institutional forms of care, often purposely eliminating all alternatives. By the end of the nineteenth century, however, these policies had backfired, as the absence of alternatives created an ever...

  9. Oliver Mowat, Patronage, and Party Building
    (pp. 94-104)
    S.J.R. NOEL

    Oliver Mowat was exceptional among the politicians of his time in many respects, not the least of which was his frank and sophisticated defence of the idea of party politics. In the nineteenth century, in Ontario as elsewhere, political parties were generally held in low regard. Many believed they had no legitimate place in politics, and their allegedly sinister and corrupting influence was commonly deplored by the press, by the informed public, and even by the most partisan of politicians. In particular, their presence in Ontario politics was a source of vociferous opposition by those who favoured ‘non-partisan’ government. Denunciations...

  10. ‘Cultivation’ and the Middle-Class Self: Manners and Morals in Victorian Ontario
    (pp. 105-125)

    Social identity has recently become a topic of considerable debate and discussion among social historians seeking to reconstruct the ways in which ordinary people defined themselves in the past.² The question of reconstructing social identity has been a particularly slippery one for students of the middle class in nineteenth-century North America. The paradox of the middle class is that, although its members – professionals, merchants, manufacturers, clerks, and master artisans – acted in many ways like a distinctive ‘class unto themselves,’ they seldom openly acknowledged a sense of class consciousness. Indeed, the central tenets of middle-class discourse were individualism, self-help,...

  11. The State, Public Education, and Morality: Evaluating the Results of School Promotion, 1893–1896
    (pp. 126-146)

    In December 1896 George W. Ross, minister of education for Ontario, asked the province’s public school inspectors to report on the ‘moral tone of the Public Schools.’ In the previous twenty years, since the creation of the Department of Education, he wondered, had the schools been able to fill the expectations placed upon them to create a moral, respectable, and responsible citizenry? ‘In the education of the youth of the country,’ the minister asserted, ‘it is of the first importance that the School System maintained by the State should aim at the development of the highest citizenship … The forces...

  12. The Case of the ‘One Good Chinaman’: Rex v. Charles Lee Hing, Stratford, Ontario, 1909
    (pp. 147-165)

    On 2 October 1909 the StratfordDaily Heraldprinted this eye-catching headline: ‘15-year old stratford girl escapes from chinese joint.’ The story that followed was as gripping as its title promised:

    It appears that Charlie Lee Hing kept a laundry in Stratford [in 1907] where he employed a 13 year old orphan girl at large wages to help in the laundry. The girl … alleges that a few days after she entered his employ the Chinaman assaulted her. Lately he has kept the ‘Gold Dollar’ restaurant in Woodstock and by a letter to this child offering big wages and saying...

  13. ‘By Every Means in Our Power’: Maternal and Child Welfare in Ontario, 1900–1945
    (pp. 166-194)

    The development of a modern public health system in Ontario owes much to the province’s children. In the opening years of the twentieth century, growing public sensitivity to infant and maternal health, as harbingers of the province’s (and the nation’s) future status, motivated a reform campaign that eventually manifested itself in social policy and the state structures necessary to support it. Ontario, as the most populous, urbanized, and industrialized of the provinces, containing both national and provincial capitals within its boundaries, was also the leader in national health and welfare concerns. It was the first to establish a specialized child...

  14. Indian Reserves v. Indian Lands: Reserves, Crown Lands, and Natural Resource Use in Northeastern Ontario
    (pp. 195-213)

    Today, non-Native Canadians generally believe that ‘Indian lands’ are synonymous with Indian reserves. This, however, is not the Native view of Indian lands. For many First Nations, the lands they claim are the lands that were used by their ancestors. Even those First Nations that have signed treaties in which land surrenders supposedly took place still claim rights of access and use, if not ownership, to their traditional territories. This view of the treaties stands in stark contrast to those of the federal and provincial governments. They argue that the Indian signatories surrendered all their title and rights to the...

  15. ‘Salvaging War’s Waste’: The University of Toronto and the ‘Physical Reconstruction’ of Disabled Soldiers during the First World War
    (pp. 214-234)

    ‘Salvaging War’s Waste,’ the title of an article published in October 1917 in theRed Cross Magazine, the official organ of the American Red Cross, illustrated the impressive work being done by the Canadian government to restore ‘wounded and disabled soldiers to health so that they can become self supporting.’¹ Canada’s outstanding record in this area was also established two years later by Douglas C. McMurtrie, director of the American Red Cross Institute for Crippled and Disabled Men and editor of theAmerican Journal of Care for Cripples. ‘Great credit is due to our neighbor on [sic] the north for...

  16. Illegitimate Children and the Children of Unmarried Parents Act
    (pp. 235-259)

    Although children themselves play no role in creating the circumstances of their birth, illegitimate children have long been viewed as beyond the pale of respectable society.¹ Leontine Young, the foremost American social worker specializing in work with unwed mothers in the 1950s, asserted that ‘the out-of-wedlock child remain[s] a hopeless outsider without equal legal rights or even equal legal recognition as an individual, stigmatized throughout his life by the fact of his birth … without regard for his helplessness or his innocence.’² At law, the illegitimate child, thefilius nullius, was ‘no one’s child,’ although in practice most children born...

  17. ‘That Repulsive Abnormal Creature I Heard of in That Book’: Lesbians and Families in Ontario, 1920–1965
    (pp. 260-283)

    In 1926 Helene Fraser remarked to her daughter, Frieda: ‘It is pleasant for you to have Bud. I am glad the interns like her & I shall also be glad if she will like them & not concentrate all her affections on poor little you.’¹ She was commenting on a visit Frieda’s partner was making to her while Frieda was working in New York as a doctor. Mrs Fraser’s reactions to Bud were not always as ‘beneficent’ as they were on this occasion. Frieda conveyed her mother’s words while writing to Bud in England, where she had been sent to get her...

  18. ‘A Barren Cupboard at Home’: Ontario Families Confront the Premiers during the Great Depression
    (pp. 284-306)

    On 9 October 1933, Mr T. Frith of Pembroke, Ontario, wrote his fourth of six letters to Premier George Henry. Unemployed and supporting a family, he unsuccessfully petitioned Henry for a job: ‘I am getting fed up with everything. It looks strange to me men that never did anything for the Government can be holding down permanent jobs and the likes of me face poverty … I would just like too [sic] know how you would like it yourself if you fought 3° years for your government … do you think you would be getting a fair deal if they...

  19. Citizen Participation in the Welfare State: The Recreation Movement in Brantford, 1945–1957
    (pp. 307-338)

    The goals of the 1990–1 Spicer Commission hearings on the Constitution and the 1965–71 community organization projects of the Company of Young Canadians could hardly have been more different. The more recent exercise was about forming public opinion, whereas the earlier one aspired to foment action for social change. Both exercises, however, aspired to encourage citizen participation in public life and were justified by concerns that some or most Canadians were marginalized, alienated, or apathetic. Each was inspired by hopes that involving more people in public decision making would make collective decisions more representative of people’s needs –...

  20. Managing Water Quality in the Great Lakes Basin: Sewage Pollution Control, 1951–1960
    (pp. 339-361)

    By the middle of the twentieth century, water pollution control in the Great Lakes basin had become a remarkably complicated issue. Between 1951 and the early 1960s a debate over which level of government would pay for sewage treatment raged among Ontario border municipalities, the province of Ontario, and the federal government. Provincial legislation delegated responsibility for sewerage facilities to the municipalities. At the same time, provincial jurisdiction for health and natural resources under the Constitution Act, 1867, meant that polluted water was also an area of provincial interest. In the Great Lakes basin federal constitutional jurisdiction over navigable waters,...

  21. The CCF and Post–Second World War Politics in Ontario
    (pp. 362-380)

    One of the more prominent developments in Ontario politics after the Second World War was the sudden decline of the province’s democratic socialist party, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF). In 1943, riding the wave of war-induced public sympathy for interventionist government and for Canada’s besieged Soviet ally, the Ontario CCF came out of nowhere to become the province’s official opposition. Four more seats would have made it Canada’s first avowedly socialist government, an honour bestowed on its Saskatchewan counterpart the following year. Its enemies on the right were quick to take note. A virulent anti-socialist campaign over the next two...

  22. The Ontario-Quebec Axis: Postwar Strategies in Intergovernmental Negotiations
    (pp. 381-408)

    In the years between Confederation and the Second World War, Ontario developed a fairly consistent pattern in its dealings with Ottawa. Under the early leadership of Oliver Mowat, Ontario positioned itself as the guardian of provincial rights and the first line of defence against the enormous powers the British North America Act granted to the central government. By challenging the extent of federal powers in the courts and by broadening the force of provincial jurisdiction through the careful development of patronage networks, Mowat solidified the position of Ontario in relation to the federal government and more than earned the title...

  23. ‘We Want Facts, Not Morals!’ Unwanted Pregnancy, the Toronto Women’s Caucus, and Sex Education
    (pp. 409-428)

    When a fifteen-year-old member of the High School Fraction of the Toronto Women’s Caucus (TWC) met with the trustees of the Toronto Board of Education on 21 January 1971, she recommended that they expand their Family Life Education program to include the topics of birth control, family planning, and abortion and demanded that high schools provide students with contraceptive devices.² She urged: ‘The high school is where we really need birth control … It’s hard for high school women to get it anywhere else. Students get pregnant and are forced to resign from school. Their whole lives are botched up...

  24. Welfare to Workfare: Poverty and the ‘Dependency Debate’ in Post–Second World War Ontario
    (pp. 429-454)

    In the spring of 1995 Mike Harris’s Conservative Party won a surprise victory in the Ontario provincial election by making welfare reform the most visceral issue of the campaign.¹ Vowing to ‘break the cycle of dependency’ that he claimed trapped welfare families within a life of poverty, Harris told Ontario’s voters that, if elected, his government would give social assistance recipients ‘a reason to get out of bed in the morning.’ A Conservative government would cut allowances by 25 per cent and impose ‘mandatory work-for-welfare requirements’ on all the able-bodied. Those who refused to participate would ‘lose their benefits entirely.’²...

  25. Contributors
    (pp. 455-457)