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Canada's Rights Revolution: Social Movements and Social Change, 1937-82 Hardcover – May 21 2008

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In the first major study of postwar social movement organizations in Canada, Dominique Clément provides a history of the human rights movement as seen through the eyes of two generations of activists. Drawing on newly acquired archival sources, extensive interviews, and materials released through access to information applications, Clément explores the history of four organizations – the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, Ligue des droits de l'homme, Canadian Civil Liberties Association, and Newfoundland-Labrador Human Rights Association – that emerged in the sixties and evolved into powerful lobbies for human rights despite bitter internal disputes and intense rivalries.

In addition to offering a unique perspective on some of the most infamous human rights controversies of the period – the Gastown riot, the campaign to counteract police violence in Toronto, compulsory treatment of drug addicts, the October crisis of 1970, and the rights of prisoners and welfare recipients – Canada's Rights Revolution argues that the idea of human rights has historically been highly statist while grassroots activism has been at the heart of the most profound human rights advances.


Dominique Clément's Canada's Rights Revolution is a major contribution to the historical and sociological literature on human rights in Canada. It is comprehensive, well organized, and makes a persuasive argument about the nature of human rights activism through the framework of social movements theory. (Brian Howe, author of Restraining Equality: Human Rights Commissions in Canada)

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