The Constitution

Churchill, J. (1990). Our Constitution: The Law of the Land. National Film Board of Canada.Documentary. This educational documentary analyses the Canadian constitution, with historical references to the 1867 BNA act and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It also discusses the significance and changes associated with the Constitution such as federalism, jurisdictional disputes, rights of citizens, and role of courts.

  • How has Canada’s constitution progressed since 1867?
  • Do you think that the changes associated with the Canadian Constitution have had a positive or negative impact in Canada? (Make specific references to democracy, rights and freedoms, and jurisdictional issues.)

Bulbulian, M. (1987). Dancing Around the Table, Part 1.National Film Board of Canada. One of the most challenging aspects affecting Indigenous Canadians today is self-government. This documentary looks at dialogues between politicians (including Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau) and members of the Indigenous committee at conferences on constitutional rights of Indigenous people in Canada. Some of the discussions center on equality, values,process, and principles of both cultures.

  • What are some of the cultural challenges discussed that is impeding the progress of Indigenous self-government in Canada?
  • What are some of the major themes discussed in the video that specifically contribute towards the lack of progress between the three different Indigenous groups in Canada?

Duncan, R. (1982). The Road to Patriation. National Film Board of Canada.  In this documentary, Duncan thoroughly documents the processes, challenges, and factors that led to the patriation of the Canadian Constitution in 1982.

  • Why was it necessary to patriate the constitution?
  • Why were former prime ministers (before Pierre Trudeau) unsuccessful in patriating the Constitution?

The Agenda with Steve Paikin. (2017). The Charter at 35.YouTube.  This discussion focusses on how the Charter has evolved over the last 35 years and the challenges and restrictions of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms especially in court cases.

  • What are some of the ways that the government can limit the rights presented in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms?

The Agenda with Steve Paikin. (2010). Alan Young: Decriminalizing Prostitution. YouTube. One of the cases briefly discussed in the text is on prostitution (Bedford v. Canada) and this video provides some background information on the politics of prostitution in Canada, specifically in Ontario.

  • Whatare some of laws regarding prostitution that were challenged?

The Agenda with Steve Paikin. (2012). Three Amigos of the Constitution. YouTube. Roundtable discussions of sorts moderated by Steven Paikin takes us back to the original three justice ministers who negotiated the Kitchen Accord,which included constitutional changes such as the amending formula and the notwithstanding clause.

  • What was the connection between the failure of the Quebec referendum and the constitutional amendments?
  • How did each of these justice ministers deal with issues of constitutional amendments?

Obomsawin, A. (2014). Trick or Treaty? National Film Board of Canada. This documentary profiles the plight of Indigenous people in Canada and their claim to land and resources. It also looks into treaties and negotiations between the government of Canada and Indigenous leaders with specific mention to fishing, hunting, and self-governing rights.

  • What does Treaty 9 signify?
  • How did the Indigenous leaders try to raise awareness on Indigenousissues? Have they been successful?

Brittain, D. (1986). The Champions, Part 3: The Final Battle. National Film Board of Canada. This documentary is the last of a three-part series, but the most relevant to this chapter as it discusses the final stages of the patriation of the constitution with a more direct focus on René Lévesque’s and Pierre Trudeau’s leadership.

  • What led to the demise of René Lévesque’s leadership?
  • What led to the demise of Pierre Trudeau’s leadership?
  • What eventually led to the patriation of the constitution in 1982?
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