Dominique Clément: Says the boomers bring peace to Canada

Historians in the News

Canada's baby boomers have been waiting to hear this: Flower-power worked. The hippies' giddy make-love-not-war-movement of four decades ago actually resulted in a more loving country.

University of Victoria historian Dominique Clément says today's plethora of human-rights legislation and institutions can be traced directly back to the demands by young people in the 1960s and 1970s for a Canada that would be more caring and sensitive toward their marginalized fellow citizens: the poor, the disadvantaged, homosexuals and racial minorities.

“Biology alone did not define the baby-boom generation,” he says in a paper presented at this week's Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Saskatchewan.

“The youth of the Sixties were the front-runners of a specific historical movement in which political activism and radical ideas were pronounced. Though the generation was not revolutionary, it had a revolutionary impact.”

Dr. Clément's paper weighs in on a subject that has been hotly debated for years: whether the hippies generation and their dewy-eyed embrace of Bob Dylan's The Times They Are a-Changin' actually made any difference.

He says they did. They changed the times. They didn't just make a lot of noise and then fade into middle age.

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