Prince Edward Island

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Before the Prince Edward Island Civil Liberties Association (PEI CLA) was established in 1971, there was no rights association in the province. Although a committee had been formed to celebrate the 1968 anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but it did not develop into an independent association as was the case in Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Newfoundland. The PEI CLA, which was created in reaction to Pierre Trudeau’s use of the War Measures Act, helped establish the Canadian Federation of Civil Liberties and Human Rights Associations. Its co-founder and future president Norville Getty was a senior civil servant in the Department of Development, and most of its other directors were professors at the University of Prince Edward Island. Their initial small membership of fifty people increased to a hundred by 1972. Among the earliest successes of the PEI CLA was a report on the poor state of the prison system, which prompted the construction of a new provincial prison in Sleepy Hollow, just outside Charlottetown. Perhaps its most lasting triumph, however, was convincing the government to establish a permanent Human Rights Commission in 1975. Although the province had enacted human rights legislation in 1968, it was not enforced by a full-time commission. The PEI CLA remained an active member of the Canadian Federation of Civil Liberties and Human Rights Associations until both groups ceased operating in the 1990s.

Prince Edward Island Civil Liberties Association (chapter in Summerside)


Further Reading

Clément, Dominique. Canada’s Rights Revolution: Social Movements and Social Change, 1937-82. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2008.