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Royal Commissions in Canada: Comparing the Significance of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women and the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples

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Submitted By bgroves
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Royal commissions are a form of official inquiry into matters of public concern. Topics under these Canadian commissions include, but are not limited to, highly contested issues such as transportation, health services, immigration, and the penal system. This paper will compare two of numerous federal investigations that have taken place in Canada between the years 1868 and 2008: the Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada (The Bird Commission) and the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. Both of these commissions tackle matters of early childhood education and care, education, the Indian Act, economic self-reliance, special treatment, the renewal of a relationship, the private sector, and the criminal code. After a more extensive comparison has been achieved between these two reports, I will decide which commission has had the largest impact on our Canadian constitution. Before forming a comparison, it is important that I explain briefly how each of these federal commissions came before us: Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson instituted the Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada (RCSW) in February of 1967 (Royal Commission on the Status of Women, vii). It was launched as a direct response to a six-month campaign mounted by a coalition of thirty-two women's organizations and led by Ontario activist Laura Sabia, who, at the time, was president of the Canadian Federation of University Women (Encyclopædia Britannia). Sabia called a meeting of the coalition in Toronto in May of 1966 to discuss concerns surrounding the status of women in Canada. Because of the coalition’s lobbying efforts, mounting pressure in the media, and a threat from Sabia to lead a women’s march on Parliament Hill, Prime Minister Pearson established the Commission. The mandate of the RCSW was to investigate and report on the status of women and to make specific…...

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