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Restraining Equality addresses the contemporary financial, social, legal, and policy pressures currently experienced by human rights commissions across Canada. Through a combination of public policy analysis, historical research, and legal analysis, R.Brian Howe and David Johnson trace the evolution of human rights policy within this country and explore the stresses placed on human rights commissions resulting from greater fiscal restraints and society's rising expectations for equality rights over the past two decades. The authors analyse sources of these tensions in relation to the delivery of equality rights in both federal and provincial jurisdictions since the Second World War. Through a series of interviews with human rights commission officials and a survey of advocacy groups, business organizations, and human rights staff the authors explore the performance and the internal workings of these. Howe and Johnson also analyse human rights commissions in light of the theoretical literature and empirical data, and discuss the political and legal contexts in which the commissions operate, and the reform measures that have been implemented.
R. Brian Howe is a professor in the Department of Political Science and director of the Children's Rights Centre at Cape Breton University. David Johnson is Professor of Political Science at Cape Breton University.