The Justice System

Cowan, P. (1984). Democracy on Trial: The Morgentaler Affair. National Film Board of Canada. Dr. Henry Morgentaler’s plight in protecting women’s rights and liberty is showcased in this powerful documentary, which also focusses on his trials and tribulations on challenging the law that prohibited women from having abortions.

  • What was Morgentelar’s biggest challenge with the courts and the law?
  • How significant and relevant is Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedom in relation to abortion laws?

McTair, R. (2000). Journey to Justice. National Film Board of Canada. The 1950s and 60s were difficult years in the United States for civil rights movements, and Canada was going through its own racial tensions and civil rights problems. This video is a powerful demonstration of the lives of African Canadians and their struggle for equality in Canada.

  • What challenges did African Canadians face in Canada during the 1960s?
  • What were the reactions of politicians and court justices during these difficult and trying times?

Weyman, R. (1951). Penitentiary. National Film Board of Canada. Although this documentary is short, it is a powerful look into the conditions of penitentiaries in Canada while also giving a succinct historical account of prisoners in the 1950s.

  • What were the conditions in Canadian prisons during the 1950s?

Zammit, S. (2005). Life Inside Out. National Film Board of Canada.  There are many documentaries that deal with prisons; however, very few of them show the inside of a female federal prison. This documentary not only takes an in-depth look into the conditions of one of the five female prisons in Canada, but it also examines the controversial nature of the rights and liberties of female prisoners.

  • Do you feel that these prisons are in good condition? Why or why not?
  • Do you think that female prisoners are treated unequally compared to male prisoners?

Lynn, L. (2013). Kids in Jail. National Film Board of Canada. (Viewer discretion is advised). This documentary provides a very touching and disturbing look into the life of youth in prisons.

  • How should youth offenders be rehabilitated?

The Agenda with Steve Paikin. (2018). Reflecting on Canada’s Justice System.YouTube. This video features an in-depth interview with Canada’s former top judge, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, Beverly McLachlin.

  • What are some of the challenges Beverly McLachlin facedon a regular basis as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada?

CBC News. (2019). McLellan advises against splitting roles of attorney general, justice minister. YouTube. This video compliments this chapter’s discussion on the dual role of the attorney general and the justice minister. Since the recent SNC-Lavalin scandal, the role of former Attorney General and Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybauld has been scrutinized by critics who want to see a separation between the two cabinet positions.

  • What are some of the reasons against splitting the dual role of Minister of Justice and the Attorney General?

Obomsawin, A. (2012). Federal Court Hearing. National Film Board of Canada. This documentary features the challenges that the First Nations community in Attawapiskat faced in the wake of one of the worst housing crisis in the country. It highlights some of the problems the community faced in the wake of federal court challenge against unconstitutional and unorthodox actions taken by the federal government to deal with the crisis.

  • Why did the Attawapiskat community file a challenge in federal court?
  • How does judicial review play a part in this matter?

The Agenda with Steve Paikin.(2018). Cannabis Legalization.YouTube. Even though the federal and provincial legislatures are responsible for enacting the actual legislation, it is up to the police and policing institutions to enforce the legislation. In this video, Steve Paikin discusses the effect of the cannabis legislation on criminals and the public with the former chief of the Toronto Police Service, Bill Blair.

  • From a policing perspective, what are some of the challenges associated with the cannabis legislation?

The Agenda with Steve Paikin. (2018).Policing the Police. YouTube. In this video, Steve Paikinhas a discussion with the former chair of the Toronto Police Services Board, AlokMukherje, on some of the issues related to city policing and reforms that will affect future policing in cities.

  • How disconnected are the police forces and bureaucratic institutions that create police reforms?
  • What are some of the alternatives to using excessive police force, asdiscussed in this video?

The Agenda with Steve Paikin. (2019). The Final MMIWG Report. YouTube. This chapter briefly discusses the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Inquiry and this short video further expands on the final report into that inquiry.

  • What are some of the key findings and recommendations from the report?
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