The 1837 Society  would be nothing without the hard work of its contributors. Hailing from around the world, ascribing to assorted political persuasions, and specialising in an even wider range of disciplines, the diversity of our team is reflected in the varied content that is published. The Society is multi-partisan. It encourages dialogue on Canadian political affairs and effective representative democracy. We are always looking for contributors to our blog and we accept unsolicited essays and articles. Get in touch with us over Facebook or send us an e-mail ,

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The 1837 Society is pleased to present Volume 1:2 of our Journal. Thank you to all who contributed to this edition! It is available for download [HERE] your reading pleasure. If you would like to contribute to future editions of the 1837 Journal or if you would like to write for the blog, please do not hesitate to contact us! We welcome all comments, feedback and discussion.

Enjoy and until next time!

The 1837 Society

By: Chris Burke

Time for the politicians, people, and business leaders of Alberta to start accepting the obvious fact: The floods experienced in Calgary are going to turn into a more frequent occurrence unless serious action is taken on climate change.  Serious action means decreasing, and eventually ending, production of the tar sands which are a serious contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.


In a more ideal world it wouldn’t take a disaster to get people to realize they need to do something to prevent more disasters from happening in the future, sadly that’s the way the wind blows.  The destruction brought upon New York by Hurricane Sandy was necessary for officials there to start paying attention to the reality that New York is vulnerable to extreme weather events.  Whether this will turn into a commitment to mitigate and adapt to climate change is another matter.

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By: Alex Ripley

This is the time of year for big, national celebrations. July 1st marks Canada Day, and today, on July 4th, our neighbors to the south celebrate the 237th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The trend continues internationally: France celebrates Bastille Day on July 14th, and observances on July 28th traditionally mark Peru’s 1821 independence from Spain. Summer, it seems, is a time for patriotism.


I’m not a zealous patriot, to be honest. So much of my academic work has focused on the decline of the nation state that I now find it somewhat difficult to get excited about or proud of an entity which has lost much its relevance to the global system. But when patriotism offers an opportunity for people to come together to set and celebrate common goals, achievements, and histories, I can get on board. The problem is, you need to know exactly what you’re celebrating.

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By: Jared Milne

In Part I of this essay, we discussed the origins of Quebec nationalism and how it developed into a desire by Francophone Quebecers to have their province recognized as a distinct society within Canada. In Part II, we saw how Pierre Trudeau sought to counter this as Prime Minister of Canada, how he fought subsequent attempts to recognize Quebec’s distinctiveness, and how the Trudeau Paradox emerged from it. In Part III, we’ll see a possible way around the Trudeau Paradox, as well as the fact that there’s a lot more common ground between Francophone Quebecers and their fellow Canadians than most people realize.


Is there a solution to the problems raised by the Trudeau Paradox? Currently, we’re stuck in a polarized situation. Either one supports Trudeau’s vision and the reforms associated with it, or one supports the separation of Quebec. There doesn’t seem to be any room for the middleground anymore, one that recognizes the unique challenges Quebec faces and supports the recognition of that province as a distinct society, while also recognizing that the province is part of Canada and shares common values and challenges with the rest of us.

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By: Evan Engering

The plaintiffs contend that segregated public schools are not “equal” and cannot be made “equal,” and that hence they are deprived of the equal protection of the laws. [1]

These words, first argued by the legal team of Oliver L. Brown sixty years ago last December and reargued sixty years ago this December, were the central argument in the consolidated landmark US Supreme Court case, Brown v. Education Board of Topeka. The court case, a constitutional challenge to the concept of “separate but equal” established in the 1896 Supreme Court decision Plessy v. Ferguson, was a major victory for the civil rights movement in America, as it spelled out the end of segregated school systems, allowing children of all races the chance to integrate and learn together in the same public school system.

elem school
As the sixtieth anniversary of the arguing of the case passes by without much reverence, I am reminded of our own segregated public school system in Ontario. In a meeting of the Ontario Secondary School Teacher’s Federation, participating delegates voted to adopt a policy resolution calling for a single, secular public school system in the province.[2]

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By: Martin Pharand

 The 2013 Conference on Responsible Investing is taking place in Vancouver, and all the promotional material has got me thinking… Ever since I wrote my first blog for 1837, about social impact bonds and their potential to bridge the gap between the public and private sectors; I’ve asked myself, why is it that we will do anything to see government virtually disappear?

soc fin

I do believe that the potential for social finance and the social sector to create positive change is undeniable. I think it is a lovely thing, to reduce the size of government and replace that void with socially conscious and entrepreneurial organizations dedicated to creating public value in a fiscally sustainable way.

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By: Jared Milne

Part I of this essay discussed the origins of Quebec nationalism and the desire of Francophone Quebecers to have their province recognized as a “distinct society” within Canada. This desire was fiercely opposed by Quebec political thinker Pierre Trudeau, who became Prime Minister of Canada in 1968. Trudeau was seen as speaking for Francophone Quebecers, and his critics would claim that he was just the first Prime Minister from Quebec to impose that province’s agenda on the rest of Canada. However, in this part we’ll see that Trudeau’s agenda was quite different from what most Francophone Quebec thinkers were advocating.


Trudeau’s reforms, including the way he implemented bilingualism across Canada and advocated for the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, were meant to undercut any sort of claim by Quebec to its distinctiveness. He supported bilingualism on a strictly individual basis, believing that if French was further reinforced across Canada it would undermine Quebec’s claim to be a distinctly Francophone majority province. Similarly, multiculturalism would make Francophone Canadians just one of many communities of many different backgrounds that exist in Canada. Enshrining the rights of all Canadians in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms would further cement an overall Canadian identity, over and above any provincial identity.[1] He justified his support for government intervention such as social programs as being a way to help everyone get an equal chance to make the best use of their talents, as their circumstances were not all the same.[2]

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By: Martin Pharand

Ontario’s 2013 budget “A Prosperous and Fair Ontario” maintains the provincial government’s commitment to solid infrastructure funding. However, behind this seemingly positive announcement lies the instructive history of how Metrolinx came to be and why, today, we need to begin loudly supporting Metrolinx’s proposed revenue tools to build modern transit.


Ontario’s 2013 budget outlines a number of important promissory statements and commitments to infrastructure. Of particular note, if you haven’t already heard, are the High-Occupancy-Toll (HOT) lanes. These lanes will replace select HOV lanes on major thoroughfares, and charge a toll for single passenger vehicles. The idea being that single passenger vehicle commuters are big contributor to traffic congestion and so, by increasing the cost of travel, the right sample of commuters will begin to take transit or carpool; reducing gridlock, and emissions.

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