Chapter 1: An Introduction to Political Life


CBC Archives

Trudeau: Just Watch Me
Canada is one of the freest countries in the world and its democratic political system is the envy of many people living under authoritarian rule. However, even in a democracy, government must reconcile the rights of individuals with the security of all citizens. In 1970, the government of Pierre Trudeau was wrestling with the so-called October Crisis when armed terrorists kidnapped a Quebec government minister and a British diplomat. Trudeau responded by imposing the War Measures Act. In this television clip we see Trudeau being challenged by reporters in a scrum on Parliament Hill.

2002 G8 Summit at Kananaskis
Protests at meetings of world leaders are common these days. Whenever such summits are held in Canada, individuals and groups exercise their democratic rights to protest. But are their messages clear, or are their ideas getting lost in the spectacle of their protest tactics? This 2002 CBC TV news feature examines the effectiveness of protesters at summits, in this case at Kananaskis, Alberta.

Canada in a Globalized World
Canada is a trading nation. A student of Canadian politics must thus be familiar with the issues surrounding globalization of the world economy. Canadian journalist and activist Naomi Klein is an internationally recognized anti-globalization activist. In this January 2000 interview, Klein discusses the protests at the 1998 World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle. For Klein, such protests stem from a growing populist movement fed up with the increasing power and reach of multi-national corporations.

Regional Identity in Canadian Politics
As you will learn in future chapters, regional cleavages are a recurring feature of Canada's political development. In the 1980s a protest movement in Western Canada emerged which led first to the formation of the Reform Party, and then the Conservative Party under Prime Minister Stephen Harper. In this report we see the birth of this movement, which was to have a hugely important impact on Canadian politics.


TVO's The Agenda

Armine Yalnizyan on Economics, Equality, and Democracy
Armine Yalnizyan, senior economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, discusses how too much power in too few hands is having an impact on our democracy.