Eugenics and Sterilization in Alberta

Leilani Muir sued the Alberta government in 1965 for sterilizing her and falsely stigmatizing her as a moron. The trial was held in Edmonton. Muir won the case and inspired hundreds of other victims to seek compensation. The reasons for judgment by Madame Justice Joanne Viet provide many details about the Muir case in the context of policies of the Eugenics Board (see Veit, 1996). A new trial with more than a dozen Plaintiffs is set to begin in Edmonton in September, 1999.

Wahlsten, D. The eugenics of John. M. MacEachran warrant revocation of honours. History of Psychology and Philosophy Bulletin, 1999, 10, 22-25.

Wahlsten, D. Leilani Muir versus the Philosopher King: eugenics on trial in Alberta. Genetica, 1997. 99, 185-198.

Wahlsten, D. Review of "Race, Evolution and Behavior" by J. P. Rushton. Canadian Journal of Sociology, 1995, 20, 129-133.

Other useful references:

Veit, J. (1996) Muir v. The Queen in Right of Alberta. Dominion Law Reports, 132(4th series): 695-762.

MacEachran, J. M. (1932) A philosopher looks at mental hygiene. Mental Hygiene, XVI (January): 101-119. [reprinted as pp. 1-19 in the University of Alberta Health Science Library document, call number RA 790 M14] [ MacEachran was Chairman of the Alberta Eugenics Board from 1929 to 1965. He was also regarded by some colleagues as founder of the Department of Psychology at the University of Alberta. He was Professor of Philosophy but not psychology, however. He gave up teaching psychology as soon as he could hire a psychologist. In my opinion, the real beginning of the Department of Psychology as a distinct entity separate from philosophy occurred in 1960 with Joseph Royce as Chairman.]

Pringle, H. Alberta barren. Saturday Night, June, 1997, pp. 30-74. [popular magazine article on the Alberta experience with eugenic sterilization]

Bidault, C. Canada: stérilisée de force à 14 ans! La République du Centre, October 1, 1997. [report on speech by Leilani Muir in Orleans, France]