Friday, October 12, 2012

Historians of the big issues

Medicare and gun-control are always hot button current-affairs issues.

Good to see University of Toronto Press has a couple of big histories this fall on the historical roots of these topics.

R. Blake Brown has Arming and Disarming: A History of Gun Control in Canada.  Years ago, I read how, at the time of the Saskatchewan River rising of 1885, the Government of Canada proposed to control guns -- mostly for fear that the First Nations and Metis would get more of them -- and provoked vigorous "right to bear arms" rhetoric in the House of Commons.  David Mills, Ontario Liberal and future Minister of Justice and Supreme Court of Canada justice:  “The constitutional rule is that it is one of the rights of a British subject to have fire arms in his possession; it is in fact one of the provisions of the declaration of rights. We see it in the Constitution of the United States when they were copying the fundamental privileges of British liberty.” The 'it's in the constitution' line struck me at the time, so it's good to see someone taking the question up seriously
 Meanwhile Gregory Marchildon edits a collection called Making Medicare: New Perspectives on the History of Medicare.  It is just fifty years since the Saskatchewan Doctors' Strike.

UTP's fall/winter 2012 catalogue, with other history titles available here.

Update, same day:  The Declaration of Rights, 1689, actually says, "Subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law" which ain't quite the right to bear arms tout court, but is still interesting as an influence of the American second amendment.
Follow @CmedMoore