In many ways, the treatment of ethanol in societies like Canada is exceptional. It’s the only powerfully psychoactive drug top-end hotels and restaurants will provide you in unlimited quantities as long as you can pay. It’s the only drug that large groups of strangers routinely use to the point of inebriation together, in contexts ranging […]

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One privilege during my time at U of T was to take Peter Russell’s class on Canada’s history as a series of incomplete conquests in 2013. He taught the class for several years running to a mixed group of undergrads and grad students, using it partly to help him refine the new history of Canada […]

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The fact that about 17,000 blacks traveled to the courthouse attests to the persistence of the volunteers and the extraordinary courage of those attempting to register. Although only 1,600 of the completed applications were accepted by state registrars, the lonely trips to the courthouse proved to be a major step toward the democratization of voting […]


It’s astonishing that the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline remains unresolved. First, it shows how for activists determined to block a project it’s only necessary to make one jurisdiction say no. This is akin to the argument in computer security that the structure of vulnerabilities favours attackers over defenders; defenders need to protect every […]


Step 1: British comedian John Oliver produces an absurd segment about coal CEO Bob Murray: In it, Oliver acknowledges Murray’s history of litigiousness toward critics and challenges him to do his worst. Step 2: Murray sues Oliver for defamation in West Virginia circuit court Step 3: As reported in Slate, Jamie Lynn Crofts of the […]


From CBC News: Supreme Court quashes seismic testing in Nunavut, but gives green light to Enbridge pipeline I think the Supreme Court is erring in maintaining the view that Canada’s Indigenous communities should not have the right to reject proposed resource development projects that affect their territories. The land that supposedly belongs to the Crown […]


Many journalistic sources have been commenting on the possibility that house prices in Canada have risen at unsustainable rates. Recently, The Economist printed: Household debt has climbed to almost 170% of post-tax income. House prices rose by 20% in the year to April. Looked at relative to rents, they have deviated from their long-run average […]


I was saddened to learn while watching the U.K. election that a former professor of mine — Ian Townsend-Gault — died in 2016. I studied international law with him as an undergraduate, we had many engaging conversations over the years, he encouraged one of my early publications, he edited other early pieces of writing, I […]


Almost every year the Indian Act was amended to add new measures of control, many of them requested by the government’s agents in the field. In twenty-five pages of its report, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples laid out in detail the “oppressive measures” that were added to the act right up until 1951. They […]

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In the two decades between the [1857] Gradual Civilization Act and the [1876] Indian Act, only one Indian opted for enfranchisement, and the Indian peoples did not disappear. The Government of Canada continued to negotiate treaties with Indian nations while at the same time appointing Ottawa bureaucrats to run their societies. There was no logic […]