In recent years, migrant justice organizers in Canada have developed campaigns aimed at building, legislating, and enforcing municipal commitments to alleviating and resisting the harms done by federal immigration enforcement, and ensuring migrant access to municipal services. As a result of these efforts, some cities, including Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Hamilton, have declared themselves “sanctuary cities,” and campaigns centered around this concept have emerged in other localities across the country. In this article, the authors—who are themselves involved in sanctuary city organizing—reflect on the concept, and offer a critical assessment of these organizing efforts. We provide a brief history of these campaigns in Canada, discuss the impact of these policies in cities where they have been adopted, reflect on the types of politics that inform notions of sanctuary, hospitality, solidarity, and resistance, and offer some lessons for moving forward.
From Hospitality to Solidarity
David Moffette and Jennifer Ridgley
Eliza Guyol-Meinrath Echeverry
For decades, Canadian-based corporate development projects have been linked to acts of violence in countries all over the world. These acts include sexual violence, destruction of property, community displacement, the use of forced labor, and other forms of violence. While Canada has repeatedly failed to pass legislation holding Canadian-based corporations accountable for human rights abuses committed abroad, Canadian courts are increasingly asserting their jurisdiction over cases of development-related violence. Analyzing two ongoing court cases—Caal v. Hudbay, regarding sexual violence in Guatemala, and Araya v. Nevsun, regarding forced labor in Eritrea— this article examines the potential and limits of law to address the bureaucratic mechanisms and grounded experiences of corporate-development-related violence, and the changing relationship between states, corporations, law, and human rights in the modern global era.
This article compares the trickster stories of Anishinaabeg (Ojibwes) and Ininiw (Cree) people, specifically the Swampy Cree or Omushkegowak, in northern Canada. Focusing on one storyteller from each culture—Omushkego Louis Bird from the west coast of James Bay and Anishinaabe William Berens from the east coast of Lake Winnipeg—the article demonstrates that the long-term practice of telling sacred stories taught Indigenous peoples how to survive and thrive in their harsh environments. Although Omushkego stories highlight the importance of individual resourcefulness for survival, stories from both cultures emphasize that people should live together in communities to achieve the best life. The article also emphasizes the importance of appreciating local distinctiveness, listening carefully to Indigenous voices, and seeking guidance from Indigenous people.
Donald A. Bailey
The argument is that Canadian and American historians need significant knowledge of European or Asian history if they are really to understand their own special subject—for at least three reasons. Without a significantly different subject to serve for comparison and contrast, the understanding of any given subject is impossible. The vast majority of our citizens/residents or their ancestors contributed a great part of their cultural heritage to our society. And 300 to 500 years is too chronologically shallow for anyone to grasp adequately the historical process. To illustrate the usefulness of such collateral knowledge, the experiences of four distinct European regions—the middle Danube, the Netherlands, the British Isles, and the Delian League of Ancient Greece—are briefly traced, with North American "applications" sometimes stated and sometimes left to be discerned. The concluding arguments stress the uniqueness of history in emphasizing TIME (the chronological environment) and the need to think metaphorically for understanding and communicating one's subject (the metaphors come from significantly different historical experiences, as well as from the arts).
Reading Robert Kroetsch's The Lovely Treachery of Words
Many of the critical essays of the Canadian novelist, poet and theorist Robert Kroetsch, as collected in his 1989 anthology The Lovely Treachery of Words, explore the issue of how Canadian writers attempt to establish a cultural nationalism in the face of the decline of the British Empire. They are an initial expression of ideas about place and language, the problematic discourse of the 'New World', and the reinscription of First Nations peoples into the literature and culture of the Canadian nation. These are concerns which later came to be regarded as 'postcolonial' with the burgeoning of the term in the late 1980s through to the present day. However, his essays are due for reassessment in the light of recent responses to postcolonial subjectivity which critique the 'colonizer-colonized' binary as used in settler-invader contexts. This 'colonizer-colonized' binary has a troubling tendency to efface indigenous peoples. It conceals the imperialistic, land-grabbing aspects of settler-invader history by positing the settler as the true postcolonial subject, searching for a stable national identity – an authentic Canadian sense of citizenship and belonging – in the face of a cultural heritage largely defined by European imperialism.
The Canada/U.S. border has not shifted physically in many years but psychologically the border is in a very different place today than before 9/11. While the various agreements of the late 1900s seemed to indicate that the border was becoming an informal formality, the events of 9/11 resulted in a significant increase in wait times as security protocols were tightened. This review article considers recent scholarship on border mobility, waiting, and their implications moving forward.
Promoting Canadian Governance Practices in the Russian North
This article illustrates ways in which a Canadian international development team attempted to legitimate the transfer of natural resource management and economic development models from the Canadian to the Russian North by positing the notion of fundamental similarities between Canadian and Russian northern indigenous peoples. Drawing upon interviews and my participation in the development project, I demonstrate ways in which Russian northern leaders responded to these supposed shared features and describe how the definition of indigenous was debated by Canadian and Russian project participants. Namely, indigenous project participants disagreed over whether indigenousness was rooted in descent or activity and what kind of economic future (mainstream market-oriented or rooted in subsistence practices) could sustain indigenous peoples. I conclude that indigenousness as a unity discourse may facilitate good international politics, but does not serve as an unproblematic mechanism for knowledge transfer and crosscultural communication on a level closer to home.
Recreating Meaning in Transnational Context
Denise L. Spitzer
Migrating to another country is potentially fraught with both challenges and potential opportunities. This article examines ways in which mature Chilean, Chinese and Somali women who migrated to Canada deploy personal and communal resources to imbue shifting relations and novel spaces with new meanings. Through these activities, they create a place for themselves on Canadian soil while remaining linked to their homelands. I argue that the ability of immigrant and refugee women to reconstruct their lives—often under conditions of systemic inequalities—is evidence of their resilience, which consequently has a positive effect on health and well-being.
German and Anglo-American Girls' Literature of the First World War
This article examines sixteen works of girls' literature published in Germany, Great Britain, the United States and Canada during or immediately after the First World War. When examined together, these books reveal much about expectations and opportunities for girls at a time when gender roles were in flux. Their overriding message, however, is contradictory, for even as a girl is exhorted to serve her country, her gender places clear limits on what she can achieve.
Siberia and New France to 1760
David N. Collins
Eminent historians in Canada have contended that pioneer societies often experience marked sexual imbalance in their early stages, having far fewer women than men. Certain Soviet historians tended to deny the existence of such a problem in Siberia. Since the two regions match each other in many ways (they enjoy similar geographical conditions, were settled by European peoples at roughly the same historical period for analogous purposes and were both governed in a centralised military/bureaucratic fashion), an investigation was undertaken into the reasons for Canadian and Soviet disagreements over the issue. Concentrating on the period of earliest exploration and settlement, before large-scale British immigration, the study predominantly compares Russian settlement in Siberia with its French equivalent in New France. Data from both sides make it quite clear that in the early stages there were fewer women than there were men, that the imbalances were overcome during a century or more in regions where agriculture was possible, but persisted in more northerly territories or unstable military zones. The sources from which women came were: interbreeding with indigenous peoples, government attempts to provide women for male settlers and rapid natural increase, with the probability that more female than male offspring survived. Clear parallels exist between the Siberian and Canadian experience, despite the cultural, economic and political differences. Soviet denials of an early imbalance seem to have been dictated by a need to prove that the USSR had never experienced colonialism of the type characteristic of the European empires.