Rights in the age of protest: a history of the human rights and civil liberties movement in Canada, 1962-1982

Clement, Dominique (2005) Rights in the age of protest: a history of the human rights and civil liberties movement in Canada, 1962-1982. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

[img] [English] PDF - Accepted Version
Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.

Download (19MB)


The emergence of the human rights paradigm has been the most profound development in redefining the relationship between citizens and the state in Canada. In the sixties an explosion of new and vibrant social movements rocked Canada, from gay liberationism to feminism. Among these social activists was a new generation of civil liberties and human rights associations, dedicated to the defence of individual freedoms and rights irrespective of individuals' background and beliefs. These 'rights associations' emerged in every province in Canada and came to be the dominant advocates for individual rights after they eclipsed the work of organized labour with the decline of the Jewish Labour Committee in the 1970s. Despite a unity of purpose, bitter debates raged within and among rights associations over questions of ideology, the validity of state funding, and how to form a national rights association. Many of these debates were characteristic ofthe obstacles facing all social movement organizations in Canada in the sixties and seventies. This thesis explores the early history of the four oldest surviving rights associations in Canada: The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, Ligue des droits de l'homme, The Canadian Civil Liberties Association, and The Newfoundland-Labrador Human Rights Association. Among the issues mobilizing these activists in the 1960s and 1970s were censorship, drug laws, denominational education, police brutality, the October crisis of 1970, and the rights of prisoners, natives and welfare recipients. These four case studies provide insights into both the development of a uniquely twentieth century social movement and several controversial public debates during this period, and demonstrate the power, and the limitations, of human rights activism.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/11697
Item ID: 11697
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 507-531).
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > History
Date: December 2005
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada
Library of Congress Subject Heading: British Columbia Civil Liberties Association; Canadian Civil Liberties Association; Ligue des droits et libertés (Montréal, Québec; Newfoundland-Labrador Human Rights Association; Civil rights movements--Canada; Human rights advocacy--Canada; Human rights movements--Canada.

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over the past year

View more statistics