The Nature of Eugenic Thought and Limits of Eugenic Practice in Interwar Saskatchewan
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Unlike its western neighbours, Alberta and British Columbia, the Canadian province of Saskatchewan never passed legislation providing for eugenic sterilization. During the interwar years, the popularity of eugenic thought in Saskatchewan was comparable to Alberta, a province that would eventually sterilize 2822 people, but eugenic practice never progressed beyond confining a limited number of people deemed mentally defective to one of the province’s mental hospitals. This chapter considers this gap between eugenic theory and practice and explores some of the forces that constrained eugenic ambitions. In Saskatchewan, political circumstances allowed Catholics to block sterilization legislation while the economic depression of the 1930s prevented the construction of the institutional infrastructure needed for eugenic segregation. These factors, more than any strong moral objections, curtailed the local initiatives.