Tag Archives: race

Episode 40 (Dec 2012) – Race, Gender, and Social Context

Welcome et bienvenue to LegalEase: a monthly Montreal-based and produced radio show on 90.3 FM CKUT – a broadcast about law, cast broadly. Le collectif LegalEase est un groupe d’étudiants et étudiantes en droit de la communauté montréalaise.This month the program is entitled, “Race, Gender, and Social Context.”

Listen to the Episode Here

Host Garrett Zehr chairs an array of reflections on the subject of discrimination in Canada, specifically looking at race and gender. First, contributor Alyssa Clutterbuck presents a segment on the nature of discrimination. Sonia Lawrence, Professor at Osgoode law school, discusses the subject – “Is all discrimination alike?” Lawrence is the Director at the Institute for Feminist Legal Studies at Osgoode. Twitter – @osgoodeifls. This pithy presentation is worth listening to several times over.

Second, LegalEase remembers R v. RDS at 15 years – a seminal decision on race and and the judicial system. R. v. S. (R.D.), 1997 CanLII 324 (SCC), [1997] 3 SCR 484, In the case, the Supreme Court of Canada ruminates over the decision of Nova Scotia judge Sparks to take judicial notice of the systemic racism within the justice system. A finding of reasonable apprehension of bias against Sparks was overturned at the Supreme Court. Contributor Alyssa Clutterbuck sets up the piece, explaining why the case remains a chilling representation of the manner in which the Canadian legal system discusses race. Next, Legalease contributor Lillian Boctor interviews Dr. Esmeralda Thornhill James Robinson Chair at Dalhousie University and visiting scholar at McGill.

Finally, LegalEase revisits an earlier story presenting a study by Natai Shelson on the gendered experience of law school. You can find part of Shelson’s study at p 4 of the this edition of the Quid Novi, February 2011.

LegalEase on 90.3 FM is a radio program broadcast every second Friday of the month at 11am EST from Montreal, Quebec. Originally founded by the McGill Legal Information Clinic in 1989, LegalEase is now run by a collective of progressive of law students from McGill University. Our weekly radio show deals with legal topics of interest to the community, with the intention of making the law both accessible and engaging. Tune into our show, follow us on Twitter @LegalEaseCkut, email legalease[at]ckut.ca or check our podcast library for past programming.

Canada’s Most Astonishing Courthouses

Old Supreme Court of Canada

At work today, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of Old City Hall. So I decided to write a quick bit on Courthouses in Canada. There are at least 261 buildings in Canada designated heritage sites, so we have some ground to cover! We welcome additions, so please, if I overlook a magnificent / thoughtful building, please let me know.

Note: this post will double up as a link directly to the Court information of the particular Courthouse in question. That way, in case you randomly found this page in search of ‘useful’ information, all birds will have been killed.

1. Old City Hall, Ontario Court of Justice, Toronto, Ontario

Old City Hall, Toronto Archives, 1914

Even before being one of Canada’s most beautiful courthouses, Old City Hall makes the list as one of Canada’s most astonishing buildings. This court does mostly criminal – provincial and federal. Inside, you will find murals, stone work, stained glass, and remnants of its former self, the seat of municipal government for the City of Toronto. Absolutely beautiful, it is worth a stroll. This, coupled with the increasingly absurd treatment of criminals provides a fascinating vista into Canadian society. If ever in Toronto and so inclined, consult this online tour of the building to add nuance to a visit.

In the 2000s, CBC produced a show featuring a new criminal defence lawyer situated within Old City Hall. This is Wonderland ran for four seasons and, even though it is a comedy, gives a pretty accurate depiction of the every-day happenings at OCH.

2. Battleford Courthouse, Battleford, Saskatchewan

Welcome to Battleford

Unveiled 1785 – Like an fully-grown, old tree. This building is over 200 years and is still still simmering. Described as ” Romanesque Revival-style exterior.” The wikipedia article gives me lots of useful information. This building was formerly a trading post for Hudson’s Bay, post for the RCMP, and perhaps was even the seat of government, when the bustling metropolis of Battlefield was made capital of the North West Territories from 1877 to 1883. Indeed, the site is linked with the ignominious Red River Rebellions and several comrades of Louis Riel were probably executed at this site. For Canada approved history, look here; for critical history, look here.

Aside from standing as one of Canada’s oldest Courthouses, this building represents a relationship between First Nations peoples in Canada and White settler society. Thus, we find this building within the registry of buildings of Heritage Canada.

Talking Shop at Battleford

3. More to come…