We can thank Prime Minister, John George Diefenbaker, for giving Canadians their own Bill of Rights. Like our current Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who represents an Alberta riding, Diefenbaker was an Ontario born- Conservative. He moved west as a child and, eventually, represented a Saskatchewan in Canada's House of Commons.
Diefenbaker's training as a criminal defence lawyer strengthened his committment to Human Rights. Unlike some right wing Canadian Conservatives in 2009, Diefenbaker, opposed Capital Punishment because he believed innocent men and women were sometimes convicted in CDN courts.
He was a true old-style prairie populist: committed to Canadian independence from the US, strengthening Canada's international position internationally, and retaining Canadian institutions like the Crown. 'Dief' also championed Human Rights and public health. It was his government that created the Canadian Bill of Rights, the Royal Commission on Health Services, and the Agricultural Rehabilitation and Development Act.
Many so-called populists (who appear to champion big business and the erosion of rights would do well to read Canadian Bill of Rights: The rest of us would do well to get a thorough understanding of what Canada's Conservatism tradition really is.