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School Services of Canada and Breakthrough Films, 1991. VHS cassette, 24:30 min., $174.90. Includes teacher's guide.
Distrib­uted by School Services of Canada, 66 Portland St., Toronto, Ont. M51 2M8

Grades 7 and up/Ages 12 and up

Reviewed by Colleen Casey Stewart

Volume 20 Number 3
1992 May

This excellent video succeeds very well in bringing together three separate legal issues by focusing on the issue of the "fairness" of the Canadian judicial system. In a brief 25 minutes we are introduced in turn to the issues of 1) equality rights for women under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, 2) the treatment of offenders - punishment versus rehabilitation, and 3) native self-government.

Each suggestion begins with a brief historical perspective on the issue, illustrated by black-and-white film footage or contemporary paintings. The viewpoint then shifts to a current personal example of how each of the legal issues affects us. The first case focuses on Justine Blainey, a young woman who, at the age of eleven, fought for the right to play on a boys' hockey team. Through interviews with Justine now, the lawyer who represented her, and clips from CBC news, the viewer is introduced to various opinions and interpretations of the "equality rights" clause as it appears in the Charter.

The second and third segments proceed within a similar structure. The time given to each case study is sufficient, except perhaps for the third segment, which attempts to compare the adversarial underpinnings of the Canadian legal system with native peoples' "Great Law of Peace."

An effort has been made to make the material relevant to a teen audience through appealing, believable characters, clearly stated viewpoints, effective editing, and a final summing up. Each segment can stand alone and would provide a good forum for discussion with upper elementary and high school students.

Highly recommended.

Colleen Casey Stewart, Greater Victoria Public Library, Victoria, B.C.

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