On 4 April 1949, in the auditorium of the State Department on Washington’s Constitution Avenue, the foreign ministers of Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, France and eight other countries signed the North Atlantic Treaty. An armed attack on one member, the treaty’s Article 5 pledged, would be an armed attack on them all.
The leading historian of the event called it a Second American Revolution, radically transforming United States foreign policy. It was no less a revolution for Canada. North America was engaging itself in the security of Europe for the long haul.
On February 15, 1965, at hundreds of ceremonies across the country and around the world, the red and white Canadian maple leaf flag was raised for the first time.
In Ottawa, 10,000 people gathered on a chilly and snow-covered Parliament Hill. At precisely noon, the guns on nearby Nepean Point sounded as the sun broke through the clouds. An RCMP constable, 26-year old Joseph Secours, hoisted the flag to the top of a specially-erected white staff, and a sudden breeze snapped the maple leaf to attention.
In 1946 John Humphrey became director of the United Nations Division on Human Rights, and Eleanor Roosevelt was named the United States representative to the UN’s Commission on Human Rights.
He was an obscure Canadian law professor. She was the world’s most celebrated woman. For two years, they collaborated in the creation of one of the modern world’s great documents, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted on December 10, 1948.
On this day in 1963, Prime Minister L. B. Pearson announced the establishment of a Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism under the direction of André Laurendeau and A. Davidson Dunton. All three saw it as a grand inquest, to use Pearson’s term, into the relationships between Canada’s French and English language groups, with the aim of a genuine partnership of the two cultures.