Congratulations!  UAlberta Law wins Gale Cup for 3rd year running!
2020 ILSA Speaker Series: Justice & Injustice for Indigenous Peoples within the Canadian legal system; March 2: Colten Boushie Case; March 3: Criminal Justice System; March 4: Alternative Sentencing; March 5: MMIWG Inquiry; March 6:
Info Session: Law 599 Summer Course; Wahkohtowin Project Intensive; Principles/practice & four-day, on-the-land camp; February 28, Noon, 1-19 Pembina Hall; Wahkohtowin Law & Governance Lodge; RSVP:
ILSA & NFB Present: Nipawistamasowin: We Will Stand Up: A Film About The Colten Boushie Case; Directed by Tasha Hubbard / NFB/ONF; Noon, Thursday, February 27; McLennan Ross Hall
Cindy Blackstock

Sen. Paula Simons describes massive Senate changes to law students

Dressed in top hat and Victorian-style long coat, Senator Paula Simons of Alberta delivered a concise and captivating history of the Senate to upper-year students of Professor James Muir’s Legal History class on February 13.

She traced its background from 1867, when it was created to be a facsimile of Britain's landed gentry class and designed to keep the rabble in check when voting on matters important to wealthy landowners, to its current era of transformation.

Since 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has appointed 52 independent senators, turning the upper house of Canada’s Parliament from a starkly partisan body in which senators representing the government’s official opposition kept a check on proposed government policies, to a body in which almost three-quarters of its members are non-partisan.

Simons questioned whether Canadians are aware of what’s happening because the Senate is “invisible” to most, and even whether the press or members of Parliament comprehend that Trudeau’s reforms have made individual senators significantly more powerful than ever before.

“We’re here to be a hedge against majority cheerleading,” she said. But with so many strongly independent thinkers in the Senate, the future is certain to hold challenges when controversial legislation is considered, she said, even though a senator’s role is to protect regional and Constitutional interests and not oppose party platforms.

Yet it’s an exciting and historic era in which to participate, said Simons. “If we can reshape the Senate so it’s more than decorative … and give us not just better laws but better governance, I think that’s a really valuable undertaking.”

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