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Group Politics and Social Movements in Canada

Group Politics and Social Movements in Canada

Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 378
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  • Book Info
    Group Politics and Social Movements in Canada
    Book Description:

    "This is a collection that does analytic justice to the complexity and dynamism of movement politics in contemporary Canada." - William K. Carroll, University of Victoria

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-0328-8
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. 7-8)
  4. Preface
    (pp. 9-10)
  5. List of Acronyms
    (pp. 11-14)
  6. INTRODUCTION: Theories of Group and Movement Organizing
    (pp. 15-32)
    Miriam Smith

    This book provides a set of case studies of the role of social movements and interest groups in Canadian politics. Such groups provide a vehicle for public participation in collective decision-making in a democratic society. Collective action is an alternative to voting and participating in the electoral system and enables people to pursue and express a broad range of political interests and identities. Participation in collective action is central to democratic political life. The right to assemble freely was one of the first freedoms of the democratic revolution and remains a core element in democratic practice. The most recent wave...

  7. Part I: Political Economy

    • ONE Business Interests and Civil Society in Canada
      (pp. 35-60)
      Peter Clancy

      This chapter explores the many shapes of business influence in Canadian civil society. In the pages below we consider the structure of capitalist interests, their organizational expressions, the political issues that top the business agenda today, the processes and instruments of exercising power, and the ramifications for group and movement theory. This discussion will show that there is a striking variability in the political orders and relationships involving capital, which vary over time, space, and function. The structure of markets makes a difference here, as does the structure of state institutions. Thus there is a value to distinguishing periods—and...

    • TWO The Working-Class Movement in Canada: An Overview
      (pp. 61-84)
      David Camfield

      Most people in Canada assume that they are part of the middle class—people “in the middle,” in between the small wealthy elite and the minority that lives in poverty. But there is a different way of looking at class. From this perspective, most people are part of the working class: the class made up of all people who sell their ability to work to employers in exchange for a wage (whether paid by the hour or as a salary) and who do not exercise significant managerial authority plus unemployed wage-workers and unwaged people (for example, people working full-time as...

    • THREE Organized Labour in Canadian Politics: Hugging the Middle or Pushing the Margins?
      (pp. 85-106)
      Charlotte Yates

      The 2006 winter federal election underscored the increasingly contradictory relationship of organized labour to Canadian politics. Its tone was set early when, in December 2005, Buzz Hargrove, leader of the CAW, sent shock waves through the Canadian media, labour supporters, and analysts with the announcement that his union was recommending to its members that they vote Liberal, except in ridings it designated as winnable by the NDP. Of even greater symbolic significance was Hargrove’s presentation of a CAW jacket to Liberal Leader Paul Martin and photos of a hug between the two men. Even though the CAW had recommended strategic...

    • FOUR Boardrooms and Barricades: Anti-Poverty Organizing in Canada
      (pp. 107-128)
      Jonathan Greene

      Between March and May 2003, Canadians were witness to a unique judicial event. Three leading members of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) were on trial for their alleged actions during a demonstration at Queen’s Park, the provincial legislature in Toronto. Two of the members, Stefan Pilipa and Gaetan Heroux, were charged with “participating in a riot” and, if convicted, faced maximum prison sentences of two years each. The third member, John Clarke, was charged with the more serious offences of “counselling to participate in a riot” and “counselling to assault police” and, if convicted, faced a maximum prison sentence...

  8. Part II: Ethnicity, Gender, and Religion

    • FIVE Ethnocultural Political Mobilization, Multiculturalism, and Human Rights in Canada
      (pp. 131-158)
      Audrey Kobayashi

      Ethnocultural political mobilization became a significant feature of Canadian political life with the adoption of multiculturalism as both a public policy and a discourse on national identity during the latter decades of the twentieth century. There are isolated historical moments when ethnocultural or racialized groups have taken a stand against oppression, but these were relatively rare—and ineffectual—until the 1970s, when changes occurred both in official state policy and at the grassroots to propel such groups to fight for human rights.

      Our national discourse over multiculturalism is based on these fundamental ideological questions: who is, and who has the...

    • SIX The Women’s Movement in Flux: Feminism and Framing, Passion, and Politics
      (pp. 159-180)
      Alexandra Dobrowolsky

      The women’s movement embraces multiple ideas, identities, and strategies. It articulates diverse views about feminism such as liberal, socialist, and radical as well as anti-racist, lesbian, disability, and post-structuralist. These different visions are not only intellectually rooted but are often emotionally charged and experientially felt, validated, and vindicated. This stems from the fact that the women’s movement is made up of a range of actors, organizations, and coalitions. The women involved have fluid, multiple, and intersecting identities in terms of race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, ability, age, and so on. Women’s organizations take different shapes “ranging from informal women’s collectives,...

    • SEVEN Identity and Opportunity: The Lesbian and Gay Rights Movement
      (pp. 181-202)
      Miriam Smith

      Until the 1960s, lesbians and gay men led their personal lives in the shadows of Canadian society. Same-sex relationships were stigmatized and considered to be shameful and indicative of moral deviance or mental illness. The police routinely raided lesbian and gay gathering places such as bars, rounding up the clientele and sending them off to the police station to be charged with “gross indecency” or “buggery.” The RCMP’s “fruit machine” weeded out lesbians and gay men from government service, especially in the military and diplomatic services where their presence was thought to undermine moral and state security (Kinsman, Buse, and...

    • EIGHT Populist and Conservative Christian Evangelical Movements: A Comparison of Canada and the United States
      (pp. 203-224)
      Trevor W. Harrison

      Recent decades have witnessed the resurgence throughout much of the Western world and elsewhere of political movements claiming to represent “the people” in opposition to threats arising from powerful “others.” Side by side with the rebirth of “populism” in North America, especially in the US, has been a resurgence of conservative Christian, mainly Protestant, evangelicalism. This chapter is in two parts. The first briefly explores the wider phenomenon of “populism.” The second details some conceptual links between populist and Christian evangelical movements and then goes on to examine evangelical movements in Canada and the US. Ultimately, it is argued the...

  9. Part III: Nations and Nationalism

    • NINE Aysaka’paykinit: Contesting the Rope Around the Nations’ Neck
      (pp. 227-250)
      Kiera L. Ladner

      The politics of contestation among Indigenous peoples in Canada has a history that predates colonialism. Since political and social dissidents seem to exist in every polity, it could be argued that this history goes back thousands of years. The dissidents and the movements they led spawned much transformation and change within their nations and internationally between and among nations. For instance, about 1,000 years ago, in a time characterized by crime, injustice, international war, and political chaos, the Peacemaker and his assistant, Hiawatha, traveled among the Mohawk, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, and Seneca Nations bringing a message of peace, a good...

    • TEN Nationalism and Protest: The Sovereignty Movement in Quebec
      (pp. 251-276)
      Pascale Dufour and Christophe Traisnel

      The objective of theParti Québécoisis radical. Creating a new country from an existing federation is a thrilling project, but it involves rupture. You have to be rebellious if you want to change your political status in a fundamental way. If a party seeking institutional revolution had no radicals, you would need to question the state of its health. (Lisée, 2005)²

      The rise of new social movements in Canada in the 1960s saw the upsurge of new forms of nationalism. In English-speaking Canada, youth of the late 1960s and 1970s contested American domination of Canada and argued for an...

  10. Part IV: Environment, Disability, and Health

    • ELEVEN The Environmental Movement in Canada: Retreat or Resurgence?
      (pp. 279-306)
      Judith I. McKenzie

      In the 37 years since the first Earth Day was held in the US, there have been some profound changes to the environmental movement in North America. On that April morning in 1970, more than 20 million Americans took to the streets to celebrate nature and the environment. By all accounts, it was the largest demonstration in American history, far surpassing the biggest Vietnam War protests and Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “March on Washington” (Mowrey and Redmond, 1993). Both Houses of Congress recessed in order to allow elected representatives to join their constituents in observing the event. At the...

    • TWELVE Barrier by Barrier: The Canadian Disability Movement and the Fight for Equal Rights
      (pp. 307-328)
      Sally Chivers

      “And what about in-your-face advocacy, the crawl-up-the-Capitol-steps, chain-your-wheelchair-to-the-bus variety? Do groups like ADAPT or Not Dead Yet even exist here?” “Oh, no,” says Lucille Owen laughing, “We’re Canadian.” (Lathrop, 2000)

      The above exchange between an American journalist and a Canadian disability activist is indicative of the evolution and efforts of the Canadian disability movement as a whole. Despite the faulty appeal to clichéd notions of national character—where Americans are boisterous and Canadians polite—it is the case that the American disability movement has made dramatic progress through civil disobedience arranged by two key groups (among others): ADAPT (American Disabled...

    • THIRTEEN Health Social Movements: The Next Wave in Contentious Politics?
      (pp. 329-348)
      Michael Orsini

      From breast cancer activism to the struggle of people with AIDS to the recent mobilization of persons suffering from environmental illness, the last few decades have been witness to a flurry of social movement activity targeting health. This chapter provides a glimpse into the brave new world of social movement politics through the lens of three health social movements: AIDS, environmental illness (specifically, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity), and asthma. I am interested in exploring whether health social movements represent the next wave in contentious politics. While we have witnessed waves of protest organized around recognition struggles from, for instance, feminists, LGBT...

  11. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 349-352)
  12. Index
    (pp. 353-378)