Essay Question #1
Throughout the course, several themes have been covered related to political participation and
mobilization – including various social movements, political parties, and voting behaviour.
From the various case studies and conceptual frameworks discussed, select two examples that
you believe explain the dynamics of participation in Canada.
From the examples selected, how have individuals and groups facilitated social change? What
are the key challenges facing meaningful political participation and promoting Canadian
democracy? Use course materials (and additional research if relevant) to support your argument.
• Aboriginal movement:
o Various acts have been put in place in order to “deal” with the Canadian
Indigenous population such as the IndianAct (1876 – 2011), the 1960 White
Paper and the ConstitutionAct of 1982.
o The Indian Act, through its initial enforcement, restricted mobilization,
organization and travel; and replaced traditional Indigenous government with
IndianAct and council. It played a significant role in dividing the “Indigenous
community into status and non-status Indians or between federally recognized
Indians and those Indigenous peoples recognized only as ‘Canadians’. (Ladner,
2008, p. 234)
o The 1969 White Paper was “a federal policy brief proposing the elimination of
Indian status and the assimilation of theAboriginal population into the dominant
Canadian society” (Ramos, 2012, p. 76) The impact of the policy would have far-
reaching effects among variousAboriginal peoples and “provided a common
collective action frame, aligning goals and grievances” (p. 77) The mobilization
against the White Paper was successful and led to a core funding program for
Aboriginal groups at the federal level and due to the newly available resources,
there was a shift in focus “from local organizing to national-level politics” (p. 78)
o The Constitution Act of 1982: The patriation process created an opportunity for
‘extending and recognizing [Aboriginal] rights’– and for all groups this would be
a significant opportunity. The process ‘raised the bystander public’s consciousness
of grievances’and thus allowed for ‘an extension ofAboriginal collective action
frames’and the opportunity for an ‘alignment of much of the dominant
population with their concerns’(p. 81) While some gains were achieved, the
results were not ideal and led to further divisions among groups and the end of the
decade brought cuts to funding and ‘a failure to gain more specific recognition of
Aboriginals in post-constitutional conferences’(p. 82)
o From these various acts, many, if not all, of the aboriginal population felt a new
focus to act as a group against the governments. Younger aboriginal elites, often
who had been forced into residential schooling, therefore lived outside their
aboriginal communities, were familiar with dominant institutions.
o Many social movements came about due to the new focus on interacting with
judicial and bureaucratic institutions rather than local communities.
o Assembly of First Nations (AFN) often entered into relationships and agreements
relating to “program administration and policy discussions… taxation,
membership registries, and land management” • Women’s and LGBTQ movements
o The Women’s movements include 3 distinct waves: the first wave began in the
19 century with a focus on suffrage. In Canada, women won the right to vote in
1918. Following this achievement, this wave began less visible. The second wave
began in western countries in the 1960s with ‘the personal is political’(expansion
of rights to include demands around reproductive rights and violence against
women) as a collective action frame, and a diverse array of interests to affect
social change. The Third wave emerged in the 1990s with a shift in feminist
discourse, arguing for a more ‘inclusive type of feminism’with a particular focus
on ‘interlocking systems of oppression’.
o Dobrowolsky explains that the women’s movement has used multilevel political
coordination to act as a signifying agent. In so doing, it has helped to transform
the terms of what it means to be political, as well as the terrain of political
o LGBTQ movement has grown in recent decades. In the 1960s, there were
significant challenges due to social and legal conditions. We saw the
establishment of theAssociation for Social Knowledge (ASK). In the 1970s, gay
liberation movement and lesbian feminism. In the 1980s we saw the emergence of
AIDS, the Charter and its impact on framing the movement and addressing
growing countermovement’s. the 1990s brought forth same-sex
marriages/relationships, education systems and responses to heteronormativity
o Various collective action frames are associated with the LGBTQ movement such
as liberation, sexual freedom and rights frames.
• Aboriginal, women’s and LGBTQ movements have all brought forth social change due to
their social movements. For example, significant legislative changes have been made in
regards to same-sex marriage, violence against women, reproductive rights, and access to
education all due to women’s and LGBTQ social movements that have taken place in the
past and still today.
• In her article, Ladner explains that the Indigenous movement has been so extensive and
capable of coming together in times of need due to the fact thatAboriginal peoples
“perceive themselves as being in a constant battle with the government over their rights
to live as Indigenous peoples in their homelands; to govern themselves; to exercise those
rights and responsibilities accorded to them as nations; and to better their economic,
social, and political conditions.” (p. 239)
Essay Question #2
Social change in Canada is often attributed to multi-level activities, including government
lobbying, electoral politics, social activism, and other forms of political organizing and
mobilization. Scholars have provided varied theoretical frameworks to understand how and why
individuals and groups engage with the political system.
Choose two theoretical frameworks presented in the course and