________________ CM . . . . Volume VI Number 21 . . . . June 23, 2000

Government Of Canada: Citizenship in Action Series.

Jane Churchill (Director). Tamara Lynch (Producer).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 1991.

Grades 5 and up/Ages 10 and up
Review by Susan Fonseca.

**** / 4


Part 1: Democracy at Work - It's Your Choice.
24 min., 45 sec., VHS, $39.95.
Order Number: C0190 125.


Part 2: Our Constitution - The Law of the Land.
28 min., 11 sec., VHS, $39.95.
Order Number: C0190 126.


Part 3: Our National Parliament - The Inside Story.
31 min., 5 sec., VHS, $39.95.
Order Number: C0190 127.


Part 4: Local & Provincial Governments - Working Together.
37 min., 4 sec., VHS, $39.95.
Order Number: C0190 128.

This is a four-part series produced in 1991 by the National Film Board in cooperation with Citizenship Branch, Multiculturalism and Citizenship Canada. The focus of the series is to provide students with an understanding of a democracy and the operation of each level of government - federal, provincial and municipal. The content is presented in a student-friendly manner with the use of video clips, photographs, newspaper articles, humourous cartoons, and archival footage. The sound track is very catchy and is also interspersed with radio clips and excellent narratives. There is continuity throughout the series so that important facts are reinforced not only with repetition but also with excellent images and comparisons. Attention is given to the two official languages, the contributions of men and women and the multicultural diversity of Canada. The underlying message throughout the series is that everyone can have an impact on the way our country is run. Educators will find this series very useful in the study of Canadian History, Social Studies and Civics.

Part 1: Democracy at Work - It's Your Choice

Everyone can take part in the democratic process of Canada. This participation can take many forms - speaking out, finding out what others think, supporting a political party or candidate, voting in an election or actually running for office. This first video in the series outlines the development of our system of government beginning with the history of democracy in ancient Greece to the present day Elections Canada which is ready at any moment to prepare Canadian citizens for a vote. Care has been taken to point out many of the flaws in the system, such as the internment of the Japanese during World War II and the need for women and aboriginals to fight for the right to vote. A brief introduction is provided in the areas of constitution, political parties, the federal government and the process of election.

Part 2: Our Constitution - The Law of the Land

Just as in the game of hockey, a country requires a set of rules for its political process. Beginning with a history of the original Constitution Act of 1867, this second video takes students through the many changes and developments that have occurred since the British North America Act, touching on the Statute of Westminster in 1931, the replacement of the Privy Council by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1949, the 1982 repatriation of the Constitution, the Meech Lake Accord and the continuing struggle for constitutional reform.

Part 3: Our National Parliament - The Inside Story

In this video, a parliamentary page guides the viewer through the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa. Students will gain an understanding of the role of the Prime Minister and his/her party, the Cabinet and the opposition parties. A new bill is followed from the initial preparation, through the committee and the different Houses of Parliament in an attempt to create a new law. The video also follows a northern member of Parliament throughout her day-to-day activities as an member of the Opposition.

Part 4: Local and Provincial Governments - Working Together

Getting closer to home, the final video in this series looks at local issues and outlines how the federal, provincial and municipal governments work together to look after such concerns as garbage collection, libraries, water, recycling and Sunday shopping. A family gets involved in saving a local green space from a condominium development. The children canvass the neighborhood and plan a meeting which leads to a presentation at city council. The various responsibilities of the provincial and municipal governments are outlined. The series concludes with a return to the initial emphasis that everyone in a democracy is encouraged to get involved whether it be through just asking questions or actually deciding to run for a political office.

Highly Recommended.

Susan Fonseca is the teacher-librarian at Glenwood School in St. Vital School Division in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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