Introduction to Canadian Law and Society

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Vancouver is the largest city in the province of British Columbia, and serves as Canada's main gateway to Asia.

15-19 February 2022

Introduction

Welcome


Welcome to Introduction to Canadian Law and Society, a five-day, online program that aims to introduce students to the Canadian legal system, showcase the rich history of First Nations in British Columbia, and explore Western Arts and other facets of Canada’s dynamic west coast culture and society. Participants can expect to enhance their English abilities, reinforce their understanding of the law-making process in Canada and gain valuable cross-cultural insights and skills.

We would of course prefer to be hosting you in person, as we have had the privilege of doing with Professor Matsuda and previous cohorts of Kagoshima law students since 2014, and be able to offer you the full experience of our campus, city, and way of life. But while circumstances beyond our control conspire to keep us apart physically, we hope that our program, delivered through a diverse roster of content area experts, provides you with a well-rounded, engaging and stimulating window into law and society on this side of the Pacific.

Happy learning from us at the Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives (CAPI),

Victor V. Ramraj

Victor V. Ramraj 

Director and Chair in Asia-Pacific Legal Relations

Helen Lansdowne

Helen Lansdowne

Associate Director

CAPI logo

About the University of Victoria (UVic)

Territorial Acknowledgement


We acknowledge with respect the Lekwungen peoples on whose traditional territory the university stands and the Songhees, Esquimalt and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples whose historical relationships with the land continue to this day (learn more about the University of Victoria's territorial acknowledgement).

In this video, Songhees Elder Elmer George welcomes visitors to the traditional lands of the Songhees, Esquimalt and W̱SÁNEĆ people in Lekwungen and English, and UVic President Jamie Cassels gives a territory acknowledgement and talks about UVic’s commitment to redressing historical and continued barriers facing Indigenous students.

aerial image of uvic campus Situated on the edge of the Pacific: The University of Victoria (UVic, above) in the capital of British Columbia, located on Vancouver Island, 87km closer to Tokyo than to London, England. UVic is home to more than 21,000 students and is consistently noted for its comprehensive academic programming, strength in international research collaborations, and preparation of students for the global workplace. It also houses the world's first law program to combine the intensive study of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous law, and is the future home of a new National Centre for Indigenous Laws.


See more videos from the Welcome to UVic playlist on YouTube.

About the Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives (CAPI)

King of Thailand receiving a UVic honourary degree

CAPI was front and centre on November 5th, 1999, when UVic conferred the Degree of Honorary Doctor of Science upon His Majesty King Bhumipol Adulyadej of Thailand at Chitralada Royal Villa in Bangkok "for his service to the Thai people and his standing in the wider global community as a Head of State respected for his integrity, his appreciation of education and his record of service in the public interest."


Over 30 years of Bridging the Pacific

Since its founding in 1988 on the westernmost edge of Canada, the Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives (or "CAPI," as it is affectionately known) at the University of Victoria has been involved with the Asia-Pacific through an active program of policy research and engagement with universities and civil society organizations across the region. The longest-running research Centre at the university, we hold international conferences and events, facilitate student and scholarly exchanges, and generally act as a resource facility for the university and the wider community on this important and diverse part of the world (read more about CAPI's history).

Japan in focus

Japan has been a particular focus of the Centre since its establishment around a core of three permanent research chairs, including one dedicated to the study of Japanese and east Asian business relations - we are excited to have been joined by Dr. Endo Takahiro (previously of Hitotsubashi University) as our new Japan Chair in the summer of 2021. Recent notable Japan-related programming at CAPI has included hosting a major international academic conference in 2018 on "The Nonhuman in Japanese Culture and Society: Spirits, Animals, Technology," an evening of Noh Theatre, several Japanese tea ceremony demonstrations (cha-no-yu), various Japanese movies at the annual Victoria Film Festival, and the 2019 annual conference of the Canadian Association for Japanese Language Education. As part of the Centre's international student internship program, CAPI has sent ten UVic students to Japan for four-month work placements with CITYNET Yokohama over the past five years. Finally, for the last seven years, CAPI has served as the headquarters of the national Landscapes of Injustice project, whose team has been examining the forced dispossession of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War.

  

About Victoria and the west coast of Canada


Victoria is the capital city of the Canadian province of British Columbia, on the southern tip of Vancouver Island off Canada's Pacific coast (Google Map). Greater Victoria has a population of 367,770 people. The region's Coast Salish First Nations peoples established communities in the area long before British settlement began in 1843. Victoria's Chinatown, which dates back to the 1850s, is the second oldest in North America after San Francisco's. 

Known as "The Garden City," Victoria is a popular tourism destination with a large civil service workforce and a technology sector that has risen to be its largest revenue-generating private industry. Victoria is consistently rated among the top cities in the world for its quality-of-life. Contributing to its increasingly cosmopolitan character, the city has a large non-local student population, who come to attend the University Of Victoria, Camosun College, and other highly-regarded educational institutions. The city and surrounding area is known for its natural beauty, temperate climate, and relaxed pace of life.

Program schedule


February 15 (火)

Welcome and ice breaker | 8:30-9:30am

Lesson 1: Understanding Canadian Law in Context | 9:30-11:00am

 

Instructor

Qian Liu

Dr. Qian Liu

Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Calgary, Canada

Biography

Dr. Qian Liu is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Anthropology at the University of Calgary. She completed her Ph.D. in Law from the University of Victoria in 2020. Dr. Liu’s research focuses on gender and the law, feminist legal theory, law and society, legal pluralism, postcolonial feminist theory, and qualitative research. Dr. Liu is the author of several articles, including “Legal Consciousness of the Leftover Woman: Law and Qing in Chinese Family Relations,” which won the 2019 Asian Law and Society Association Graduate Student Article Award. Her doctoral research was featured by BBC World News in 2017. Dr. Liu has taught several courses at UVic and uCalgary, including Introduction to Legal Studies, Legal Process, and Sexual Orientation and the Law.


Lesson Summary

This lesson introduces students to the Canadian Constitution and Legal System. It starts with a brief introduction of the history, geography, and peoples of Canada to situate the historical and social context for the course. From a legal pluralism perspective, this course focuses on Indigenous Legal Orders, Civil Law, and Common Law systems in Canada. It also discusses the Canadian Constitution and the Judicial System.

 


Key terms

Key terms list

February 16 (水)

Lesson 2: History of British Columbia | 8:30-10:00am


Instructor

Justine Semmens


Dr. Justine Semmens

PhD, University of Victoria Department of History

Biography

Justine Semmens has a PhD in history from the University of Victoria. Teaching in CAPI’s Introduction to Canadian Law and Society Program is important to her because building opportunities for cross-cultural exchange, knowledge, and connection is a vital component of twenty-first century post secondary instruction and learning. In addition to teaching history, Justine is also a learning strategist, humanities tutor, and matching facilitator with UVic’s Learning Assistance Program and is an Associate Fellow at the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society.

Teaching philosophy

My pedagogical philosophy is grounded in a commitment to inquiry-based learning and an accessibility framework which encourages inquisitiveness and an engaged approach to problem solving.  History consists of the stories that we tell about the past. It reflects not only the values and perspectives of the people who we study, but also reflects the evolving vantage points and methods of interrogation of the historians who write this history. It is important that my students come away with an appreciation of these rich relationships between the past and the present.


Lesson Outline

  1. The arrival of people in pre-historic Canada
  2. Indigenous nations across Canada
  3. Plurality of languages and indigenous nations in BC
  4. Coast Salish people, society, and economy
  5. Era of Colonization from Captain Cook to Confederation
  6. The Indian Act, First Nations Reservations, and Indian Residential Schools
  7. Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

 


Key terms

Key terms list

Lesson 3: Japanese Canadian Migration History and Internment | 10:15-11:45am

 

Instructor

Mike Abe

Mike Abe

Project Manager, Landscapes of Injustice Project

Biography

Michael Abe, a Nikkei Sansei (third generation) has been involved in the Japanese Canadian community in both Ontario and Victoria, maintaining close ties with Japan. He is past president of the Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society, serving as president for 8 terms over the last 13 years. He has been involved with the National Association of Japanese Canadians Victoria chapter and was the editor of the Victoria Nikkei Forum from 2001-16. Mike was instrumental in forming Support Japan 2011 Gambare Nippon, which brought the Japanese Canadian community and greater community in Victoria together to raise funds for the earthquake and tsunami victims. He worked in the tourism industry for over 20 years, marketing and promoting Victoria and British Columbia as a world class tourist destination and holds a B.Sc. degree from McMaster University.

February 17 (木)

Lesson 4: Canadian Environmental Policy | 8:30-10:00am


Instructor

George Benson


George Benson

Co-founder, Climate Displacement Planning Initiative

Biography

George P.R. Benson is a resilience practitioner and writer working on urban resilience, climate action, and equitable and inclusive economic development. He is the co-founder of the Climate Displacement Planning Initiative, a non-profit raising awareness and building solutions to address climate change displacement, and currently works on decarbonization and resilience planning in Vancouver and around the world. He is the North American lead on climate action within the World Economic Forum’s young leaders network, the Global Shapers Community, has served in the leadership of both the Canadian and American urban planning associations, and has been both a Canadian and civil society delegate to UN and other, global forums. In 2018 he was awarded the City of Vancouver’s Award of Excellence for his work on climate action and equity.

Teaching philosophy

Optional video: Living and Grieving in the Age of Climate Change

  • Action-oriented - focused on creating a conceptual understanding of issues to drive real work in the world
  • Engagement and discussion focused - I will present and provide information, but I always aim to create a rich space for student discussion 
  • Critically reflexive - I am to equip students / colleagues / collaborators with the tools to ask critical questions about contemporary issues, with an eye towards creating inclusive, just, and sustainable public policy and community responses 
  • Intersectional - I strive to be as intersectional in my work as possible, highlighting the disproportionate impacts of climate change, for example, on historically marginalized communities, and, in the Canadian context specifically, to situate work in an understanding of Canada's settler-colonial history and the need for reconciliation with Indigenous peoples 
  • Institutional - much of my teaching and analysis is focused on the institutional context and much of my research and teaching is focused on navigating diverse institutional contexts, particularly on transnational issues


Lesson Outline

  1. Introduction
  2. Canada’s Environmental Context
    - Key climatic regions
    - Key performance on major issues
  3. The Legal Construction of Canada’s Environment
    - Treaties with First Nations
    - Multi-level, pluralistic governance
  4. Canada’s Environmental Challenges
    - Emissions reductions
    - Materials consumption
    - Natural Resources and the Just Transition
  5. Case Study: Climate Action in Vancouver
    - Context of Greenhouse Gas Emissions
    - Climate Emergency Action Plan and Strategies
  6. Looking Forward
  7. Discussion

 


Key terms

Key terms list

Lesson 5: Canadian Foreign Policy and Canada-Japan Relations | 10:15-11:45am


Instructor

Ken Macartney


Ken Macartney 

Former Canadian Ambassador, Associate Fellow at UVic's Centre for Global Studies

Biography

Recently retired from Global Affairs Canada, Ken Macartney is now an Associate Fellow at the Centre for Global Studies at the University of Victoria. Throughout his 36-year career in the Canadian foreign service, Ken served in many capacities, including as Ambassador to Sweden, Deputy High Commissioner to India, Director General for South and Southeast Asia and Oceania and Director for International Environmental Relations. He worked in the Political Affairs sections of the Canadian embassies in Norway, Sweden and Japan, and in 2018/19 filled in as acting Ambassador to Norway. At headquarters he also dealt with such issues as the UN, relations with the Middle East and anti-apartheid measures, and led Canadian delegations in numerous multilateral negotiations, in particular on global sustainable development issues.


Lesson Outline

Canada in the World

  • foreign policy based on interests and values
  • multilateralism, tackling global challenges
  • gender equality, democracy, human rights, environmental sustainability
  • member of G7, G20, NATO, UN, APEC, OAS, Arctic Council, etc
  • importance of trade and trade agreements
  • USA key relationship, close ties with Europe but emphasis shifting to Asia
  • concern over China, stronger ties with Japan and South Korea
  • development assistance focuses on women and girls, education, health & mitigating climate change
  • security policy reflects changing global challenges

Canada-Japan Relations

  • friendly, cooperative relations for past 75 years
  • Canadians view Japan most positively of all Asian countries
  • both countries share values, depend on trade and international rules
  • Canada-Japan trade and CPTPP
  • partnership on climate change, pandemics, sustainable oceans
  • importance of regional and global security, e.g. DPRK and South China Sea
  • emerging areas of cooperation: AI, robotics, clean energy
  • people-to-people ties, e.g. students, culture, tourism

 


Key terms

Key terms list

February 18 (金)

Lesson 6: Canadian Settler and Indigenous Art | 8:30-10:00am


Instructor

Patricia Kidd


Patricia Kidd

M.A. in History, Professional Certification in Cultural Resources Management

Biography

Patricia Kidd is a cultural historian who has been working in the field of art history and material culture for more than three decades. She has lectured in those fields at the University of Victoria, and widely at the community level. She holds a B.A. in Fine Arts from the University of Victoria, an M.A. in History, Professional Certification in Cultural Resources Management, and is currently pursuing her Doctorate. 

Teaching philosophy

I love to learn, and I love to teach just as much!  My life-long engagement with academia, in its many facets, is testament to those facts.  Everything I learn is in service to my greater understanding of the world’s many diverse and remarkable cultures.  As intrigued as I am by the differences we exhibit in the way we live our lives, my focus has always been commonalities.  I share what I’ve learned because I delight in seeing those remarkable moments when inspiration and understanding strikes in my students.  I know, then, that they will use what I’ve taught them in their own search for wisdom, confidence, and to better appreciate the beauty possible in humanity.


Lesson Summary



This is a brief introduction to the major themes in Canadian landscape painting, and to West Coast Indigenous art in Canada.  It concentrates on crucial developments during the 20th Century, and touches on contemporary practice.

 


Key terms

Key terms list

February 19 (土)

Final Group Presentations and Closing Ceremony | 8:30-10:30am

Students will form groups to deliver presentations to their classmates, program instructors, and members of the CAPI team. Each group will focus on one particular topic that was covered during the program. The presentation should be fifteen minutes in length and power point presentations can be used.