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Rights of Aboriginal People and Vision of Just Society in Canada: Analytical Essay

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In Canada, during the 1968 election, Pierre Trudeau campaigned his vision of a ‘just society.’ He was known for defining what his version of a ‘just society was. He envisioned a society where every Canadian had a reasonable standard of living and where every citizen had the same individual rights. Thus, after he was elected, he brought the Charter of Rights and Freedom to Canada, which protected a citizen’s rights by preventing laws that unfairly discriminate or take away human rights. Although the expectations of a ‘Just Society’ were met for white Canadians in the 1970s, there were still many groups of people who lived in an ‘Unjust Society.’ The LGBTQ+ community lived in an unaccepting society and were not able to meet the same rights as straight Canadians. The black Canadian community were oppressed and segregated because of their different ethnic background. The Aboriginal community were not able to voice their opinion on their land.

The LBTQ+ community in the 1970s felt like they lived in an unjust society, as they were not accepted. In the 1970s, gay marriage was not legal, and amendments to the criminal code addressed homosexuality as a ‘criminal sexual psychopath and ‘dangerous sexual offender.’ Also, many police raids took place, raiding areas that many members of the LGBTQ+ community were in. For example, in 1979, Toronto police arrested almost 300 men in raids in four bathhouses, for doing ‘indecent acts.’ Another example of this is in 1978 when Edmonton police attempted to raid a popular gay bar in Greenwich Village. Such raids continued for more than twenty years. Many LBTQ+ people feared for their lives and knew that there were consequences for coming out as an LBTQ+ member. In 1975, Everett George Klipperis (a gay man) was arrested on charges of ‘gross indecency’ and was deemed a ‘sexual offender’ by prison psychiatrists. Knowing this, LGBTQ+ members could say they lived in an ‘unjust society in the 1970s and were one of the many groups that can say this.

Many Black Canadians were discriminated against and experienced hateful things in this ‘just society.’ In the 1970s, racism and segregation were still prominent in big cities such as Toronto and Edmonton. Police were extraordinarily biased and unmerciful towards black Canadians. A study done by Bcblackhistory shows that in 1975, 57% of inmates in Canada were black. Also, The executive director of the Black Action Defense Committee stated Toronto had the ‘most murderous’ police force in North America, and police bias against blacks were worse in Toronto than in Los Angeles. From the late 70s to the early 90s, many unarmed black Canadians were shot and killed by Toronto police. For example, Daniel Whitkens, one of the many unarmed black Canadians, was shot to death by Toronto police. Also, in the 1970s, KKK groups attempted to organize, notably in Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia. Canada also maintained its restriction of immigration until 1972, including people of African heritage. Black Canadians were poorly treated because of their ethnic background. They can say they lived in an unjust society in the 1970s.

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Aboriginal people were treated like foreigners in their land, and experienced prejudice in this society. Indigenous people were always fighting for rights. In the 1970s, ‘The White Paper was invented, which abolished all legal documents that had previously existed, including the Indian Act., and other treaties within Canada. The purpose of ‘The White Paper was to eliminate Indian Status. Aboriginal people had to fight back against land claims through the documents called citizen plus, more commonly known as The Red Paper. Also, in the 1970s, residential schools were still running. This lead to forever-lasting mental damage to the aboriginal community. Aboriginal men were also seen as unemployed and drunkards.

Aboriginal women experienced the worst out of the many groups that lived in this unjust society. Indigenous women have been described as facing a double burden- that for being discriminated against as aboriginal, and discriminated against further for being a woman. In 1973, the indigenous population with sexual abuse affected 25-50% of aboriginal female children versus 20-25% of the general population. Also, 75% of missing and murdered women in the 1970s were aboriginal women. A quote from the documentary, Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women: A National Operational Review states: ‘Indigenous women in Canada are underrepresented among the missing and murdered women in Canada.’ As much as they lived an unfair life, Aboriginal women were not acknowledged and had to suffer in silence.

During the 1970s, the concerns of many minorities such as black Canadians, the LGBT+ community, and the Aboriginals felt on deaf ears. The Three groups were poorly treated and were oppressed in many different ways by society. For Black Canadians, racism and segregation were what they faced for having a different skin tone. For LGBTQ+ Canadians, they were shamed and banned from marrying the people they love. Lastly, the aboriginal community were not even able to voice their opinion on their land. Although the society in which Pierre Trudeau envisioned was not ‘just,’ Canadians could look forward to meeting those expectations in the near future.

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Rights of Aboriginal People and Vision of Just Society in Canada: Analytical Essay. (2022, September 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved January 31, 2023, from
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