Core Courses: CDST 350

CDST 350B, 2023W: Constitutions in Canadian History

3 credits

Professor Bradley Miller, Program Chair of Canadian Studies

Tuesday/Thursday, 11-12:30

Course Description

Constitutions shape countries, peoples, and governments. This course explores the history of constitutions and constitutional thought in Canada from eighteenth to the twenty-first century – from the start of the British colonial period to the era of the Charter of Rights. It examines how constitutions in what is now Canada defined, entrenched, and often limited the rights of individuals and groups, such as religious, linguistic, and racial minorities. Students will also explore how constitutions organized and structured political power and democratic government, providing crucial frameworks for both popular politics and the emerging system of federal governance in post-Confederation Canada. Finally, students will examine the growing influence of human rights in the early and mid-twentieth century and the resulting push for a Canadian bill of rights. We will finish by focusing on the role of Charter of Rights in debates over issues like First Nations rights, gay marriage, abortion, and medically-assisted dying.

For more information, contact Prof. Miller at