Graduate Theses & Dissertations

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History of Canada's UFO Investigation, 1950-1995
From 1950-1995, the Canadian government investigated the phenomenon of unidentified flying objects (UFOs), amassing over 15,000 pages of documentation about, among other matters, nearly 4,500 unique sightings. This investigation was largely passive and disconnected, spread across a number of federal departments and agencies that infrequently communicated about the subject. Two official investigations, Project Magnet and Project Second Storey, were initiated in the early 1950s to study the topic. The government concluded that the UFO phenomenon did not “lend itself to a scientific method of investigation,” and terminated the projects. After this point, the investigation entered a state of purgatory, with no central communication, and every government department eager to pass the responsibility onto someone else. As such, Canadian citizens writing to the government for straight answers to the UFO enigma were often on the receiving end of what they called “doublespeak.” Citizens were seeing things in the sky and wanted the government to simply tell them what they were. The government was unable and unwilling to do this, and over time frustration grew on both sides. What began for the government, in its own words, as an irritating intrusion into more important matters, became the catalyst for a dynamic of mutually-reinforced mistrust between state and citizen during the postwar period. This dissertation offers a chronological history of the efforts that the Canadian government and citizens made to investigate UFOs, and when and why these efforts came into conflict. The main argument is that the Canadian state attempted to use UFOs as a site to assert its modernity during a time of uncertainty and anxiety over its legitimacy, by drawing on the cultural authority of the scientific community. The project was one of ridding the public of ignorance and creating instead a more rational citizen. This attempt ran up against beliefs and attitudes that some citizens shared, that tapped into a spirit of anti-authoritarianism present during the 1960s and even earlier. These citizens considered themselves to be iconoclasts, unmoved by claims of expertise, and accused the government of conspiracy theory. These approaches fed into one another, contributing to further misunderstanding and conflict. The history of Canada’s UFO investigation is thus more broadly a history of changing attitudes toward authority and expertise in the postwar era. Author Keywords: Canada, citizenship, history of science, scientific object, state, UFO
Struggling for a New Left
This study examines the emergence of the New Left organization, The New Tendency, in Windsor, Ontario during the 1970s. The New Tendency, which developed in a number of Ontario cities, represents one articulation of the Canadian New Left’s turn towards working-class organizing in the early 1970s after the student movement’s dissolution in the late 1960s. Influenced by dissident Marxist theorists associated with the Johnson-Forest Tendency and Italian workerism, The New Tendency sought to create alternative forms of working-class organizing that existed outside of, and often in direct opposition to, both the mainstream labour movement and Old Left organizations such as the Communist Party and the New Democratic Party. After examining the roots of the organization and the important legacies of class struggle in Windsor, the thesis explores how The New Tendency contributed to working-class self activity on the shop-floor of Windsor’s auto factories and in the community more broadly. However, this New Left mobilization was also hampered by inner-group sectarianism and a rapidly changing economic context. Ultimately, the challenges that coincided with The New Tendency’s emergence in the 1970s led to its dissolution. While short-lived, the history of the Windsor branch of The New Tendency helps provide valuable insight into the trajectory of the Canadian New Left and working-class struggle in the 1970s, highlighting experiences that have too often been overlooked in previous scholarship. Furthermore, this study illustrates the transnational development of New Left ideas and organizations by examining The New Tendency’s close connections to comparable groups active in manufacturing cities in Europe and the United States; such international relationships and exchanges were vital to the evolution of autonomist Marxism around the world. Finally, the Windsor New Tendency’s history is an important case study of the New Left’s attempts to reckon with a transitional moment for global capitalism, as the group’s experiences coincided with the Fordist accord’s death throes and the beginning of neoliberalism’s ascendancy. Author Keywords: Autonomist Marxism, Canada, Labour, New Left, Rank-and-file Organizing, Working-Class History
Historical Ecology and Shifting Baseline Syndrome in the Kawartha Lakes, Ontario
Archaeological faunal data, historic records and documents and recent biological data are used to construct a historical ecology for Pigeon Lake, Ontario, focusing on fish exploitation. The faunal collections of twelve archaeological sites in the Kawartha Lakes are reviewed to examine pre-contact Indigenous fishing trends and comment on the historic presence, abundance and range of a number of indigenous fish species. A review of historic documents outlines environmental, industrial, and social changes that have played a role in changing the community structure of fish species in Pigeon Lake since the arrival of European settlers in the area. Additionally, interviews were undertaken with local anglers to explore evidence of shifting baseline syndrome (SBS) in modern populations. Finally, statistical tests were performed on the interview data to explore evidence of SBS, and found that SBS is effecting modern anglers perception of ecological change in Pigeon Lake. Author Keywords: Archaeology, Canadian History, Faunal Analysis, Fish, Historical Ecology, Shifting Baseline Syndrome
Making home and making welcome
This thesis documents an oral history of the New Canadians Centre, the only immigrant-serving organization in Peterborough, Ontario. This case study builds on scholarship that critically examines immigrant settlement work in Canada. Drawing on interviews and archival research, and employing the analytical concept of home, I investigate how differently-located actors have practiced home and welcome in Peterborough in the context of settlement work. I demonstrate how the New Canadians Centre’s work consolidated as well as challenged normative discourses of home that disadvantage racialized new immigrants and privilege white settlers represented as “host.” I argue that this false binary between immigrant and host is harmful, inadequate in accounting for the complexities of people’s lives, and easily reinforced in settlement work without efforts to challenge it. I conclude that accountability to power in settlement work is crucial to envisioning a more inclusive welcome and a more just home in Peterborough and Canada. Author Keywords: home, immigrant settlement sector, migration, oral history, Peterborough, welcome
Branding of the Prime Minister
From 1949-1957, Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent was the face of the Liberal Party. Party branding was wholly devoted to his friendly, ‘Uncle Louis’ brand image. St. Laurent’s image was manipulated and manufactured without public preconception, establishing the modern tactics of personal branding still used by his successors. This thesis studies the elections of 1949, 1953, and 1957, analysing photos, advertisements, speeches, archival documents, memoirs, newspapers, and other sources to show the development of Liberal branding strategy. It employs political scientist Margaret Scammell’s conceptualization of brand theory, showing how marketers used emotional brand differentiators and rational substantive performance indicators to sell ‘Uncle Louis’ to Canadians. The Liberals used St. Laurent and branding tactics to win two massive majorities in 1949 and 1953, and the Diefenbaker Tories used those same tactics to defeat them in 1957. ‘Uncle Louis’ proved the effectiveness of personal branding and leader-centered campaigns in Canadian politics. Author Keywords: Brand Theory, Canadian Politics, Elections, Liberal Party of Canada, Louis St. Laurent, Political Marketing
Class Struggle, The Communist Party, and the Popular Front in Canada, 1935-1939
This thesis is an attempt to provide a critical history of the Communist Party of Canada (CPC) during the Popular Front era, roughly November 1935 to September 1939. This study contains a detailed examination of the various stages of the Popular Front in Canada (the united front, the height of the Popular Front, and the Democratic front), with special attention paid to the CPC’s activities in: the youth movement, the labour movement, the unemployed movement, the peace movement, and the anti-fascist movement. From this I conclude that the implementation of the Popular Front, the transformation of the CPC from a revolutionary party to a bourgeois party, was not a smooth process, but instead was punctuated and resisted by elements within the CPC in what can be considered a process of class struggle internal to the CPC itself. Author Keywords: Canada, communism, Great Depression, labour, Popular Front, socialism
Colonialism, Capitalism, and the Rise of State Schooling in British Columbia, 1849-1900
This dissertation examines the historical relationship between settler colonialism, capitalism, and the rise of state schooling in what is now known as British Columbia between 1849 and 1900. It aims to “unsettle” conventional views of Canadian schooling history by bringing accounts of Indigenous and non-Indigenous education into one analytical frame, and it shows how the state used different forms of schooling for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous children—company, common, public, mission, day, boarding, and industrial schools—to assist colonial-capitalist social formation in the Pacific Northwest. In combining interdisciplinary insights from Indigenous studies, historical materialism, political economy, and critical pedagogy, the dissertation highlights the ways in which state-supported schooling facilitated capitalist accumulation by colonial dispossession. The central argument of the dissertation is that between 1849 and 1900, colonial, provincial, and federal governments strategically took on greater responsibility for schooling as a way of legitimizing the state and supporting the emergence of a capitalist settler society. Author Keywords: Capitalism, Education, Indian Residential Schools, Indigenous Peoples, Settler Colonialism, Violence
Union Organizing in the Canadian Banking Industry, 1940–1980
In this dissertation, I examine union organizing in the Canadian banking industry between 1940 and 1980. By demonstrating that bank workers consistently sought to unionize throughout the twentieth century, I challenge claims that bank employees and other private sector white-collar workers have low rates of unionization because they are not interested in unions or suffer from false consciousness. This research also suggests, however, that many bank workers saw themselves as different from blue-collar industrial workers; the lived reality of bank work as precarious, poorly paid, and rife with gender inequality intersected with ideas about professionalism and aspirations of advancing up the career ladder. Banks, unions, and workers drew on these ideas and experiences in their arguments for and against unionization. I also look at why previous organizing efforts did not establish a strong union presence in the banking industry. Most of these attempts failed, I argue, due to several key issues, including the banks’ anti-union activity, federal and provincial labour board decisions, and labour movement disputes over ideology, jurisdiction, and strategy. The banks consistently opposed unionization and used a variety of tactics to thwart union organizing, both overtly and covertly. The state, in the form of labour legislation and labour boards, provided unions and workers with some means by which to compel the banks to recognize unions, negotiate contracts, and deal with employee grievances; however, state action and inaction more often worked to undermine union organizing. The attitudes and strategies of high-ranking labour movement officials also shaped the outcome of union drives in the banks. Between 1940 and 1980, the mostly male labour leadership repeatedly used top-down organizing strategies and appointed male organizers with no experience of bank work to oversee union drives in a sector with an increasingly feminized workforce; labour leaders’ inability or unwillingness to reflect on this approach and to support grassroots campaigns and alternative strategies hindered bank union organizing. I thus highlight the intersection of gender and class and reveal how these factors have historically shaped the labour movement bureaucracy, union organizing, and the relationship between labour and the state. Author Keywords: banks, gender, labour bureaucracy, trade unions, union organizing, white-collar workers
Re-Living the Residential School Experience
The residential school legacy is one of the darkest chapters in Canadian history. From the mid-1850s to 1996, thousands of Aboriginal children were taken from their homelands and placed in residential schools. Taken against their will, many dreaded attending these schools. Some attended for as long as ten to fifteen years, only to be strangers in their own communities upon their return. In the past thirty years, survivors began disclosing the loneliness, confusion, fear, punishment and humiliation they suffered within these institutions, and also reported traumatic incidents of sexual, physical or emotional abuse. These childhood traumas still haunt them today. This dissertation examines the four compensation processes (Litigation, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Independent Assessment Process and the Common Experience Process) used by survivors to determine whether the compensation payments made to them assisted in reconciliation of their residential school experience. To complete an analysis of the processes, twenty-four residential school survivors from Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia were interviewed about their experiences with one or more of the compensation processes. The study begins with a historical overview of the residential school legacy and continues with the residential school healing movement that initiated and finalized a negotiated settlement agreement for all living survivors. This dissertation provides a unique perspective to the residential school legacy by using a cultural framework, Anishinabe teachings and concepts to share the voices of residential school survivors. The pivotal Anishinabe teaching within this study comes from The Seventh Fire Prophecy. This prophecy states that: “If the New People will remain strong in their quest, the Waterdrum of the Midewiwin Lodge will again sound its voice.” In this dissertation the residential school survivors are the New People. As the dissertation unfolds the author utilizes various Anishinabe concepts to illustrate how the compensation processes failed to assist the New People to reconcile with their residential school experience. This study presents a medicine wheel understanding of reconciliation and the Residential School Legacy. It concludes with an important message to the second and third generation survivors to continue the reconciliatory efforts that the New People introduced. It is crucial that the children and grandchildren of the New People begin the reconciliation process not only for themselves but for the next seven generations. Author Keywords: Anishinabe, compensation, Indian residential schools, reconciliation, survivors
Rights, Resources, and Resistance
The development of pan-Indigenous political organizations in northeastern Alberta in the context of oil and gas development during the 1970s created disparate effects on Indigenous communities in the region. Resistance to assimilation policies led the Indian Association of Alberta to transform itself into a unified voice that represented Aboriginal and treaty rights in the late 1960s; however, the organization lost legitimacy following the divergence of goals between influential Indigenous leaders, Harold Cardinal and Joseph Dion. Tripartite agreements began to unfold between the federal and provincial governments, the oil and gas industry, and individual local leadership; environmental degradation spread throughout the landscape. Some communities benefitted financially whereas other communities, like Lubicon Lake Nation, received little compensation and felt the full force of industrial contamination of their traditional territories. Without the support of pan-Indigenous political organizations, Lubicon Lake developed an individual response that was successful in gaining international attention to their conditions. Author Keywords: 1970s, Indigenous politics, Lubicon Lake Nation, northern Alberta, political economy, tar sands
Class Struggle and Solidarity in Neo-Liberal Times
The lengthy and raucous 1986 Gainers meatpacking plant strike in Edmonton, Alberta was one of the most important events in recent Alberta labour history. In the midst of the economic crisis of the 1980s and the rise of neo-liberal ideas, the strike marked a backlash by both the labour movement and ordinary citizens against attacks on workers and unions. Characterized by widely covered picket line violence, repressive police and court actions, and government unresponsiveness, the strike generated massive solidarity within and beyond the labour movement. This solidarity originated in a rejection of the neo-liberal new reality of Alberta typified by high unemployment, anti-union laws and practices, and lack of government welfare support, and it generated a provincial change the law campaign, national boycott, and rising class consciousness. The working class mobilization during the Gainers strike was a watershed for the Alberta labour movement. Author Keywords: Alberta Federation of Labour, Gainers strike, neo-liberalism, solidarity, working class
Elite Canadian Print Media Construction of the Cuban Revolution, 1956-1962
This study examines the elite national print media reaction to, and coverage of, the Cuban Revolution, between 1956 and 1962. It finds that media, equally alienated by both Fidel Castro and the United States, progressively pursued an independent narrative predicated on an homage to Cuban sovereignty. Specifically, media uniformly adopted veteran New York Times' reporter Herbert L. Matthews' conflation between Cuban postcolonial independence and the Revolution following his exclusive interview with Fidel Castro in February 1957. Media maintained it until 1962 as it remained the only consistent, defensible theme amid Castro's apparent failure to meet expectations and the United States' cautious indifference to a revolution in kind and abject disregard for Cuban sovereignty. Research is based on an exhaustive review of eleven carefully selected elite broadsheets and three national magazines. Overall, this study offers an important counterpoint to the broader body of Canada-Cuba-U.S. postwar historiography that almost exclusively addresses foreign policy. Author Keywords: Canada-Cuba-U.S. relations, Canadian print media, Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, Herbert L. Matthews, journalism

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