The 2023 “In Conversation” Series

Explore. Investigate. Inquire.

Learn about complex Canadian issues from an expert perspective.
Dialogue about the questions that matter most.
Share what you learn with your communities. 


The 2023 "In Conversation" series is an opportunity for Canadians of every perspective and background to come together in conversation about Canadian legal and social issues. In this series, we explore freedom of religion in Quebec and Canada, the function of protests in democracies, the truth about the Freedom Convoy, and the impacts of digital identification programs on the privacy of Canadians.

Each online Zoom event consists of a 45-minute presentation and a 15-45-minute question-and-answer period. If you purchased a ticket but cannot attend the whole conversation, a recording of the conversation will be sent to you.

If you have any questions, please visit our FAQ section or email workshops@jccf.ca.


    Freedom and the Emergencies Act: What we’ve learned from the Public Inquiry

    In February 2022, Canada experienced an unprecedented–and arguably, highly successful–protest when hundreds of trucks arrived in Ottawa to protest the extension of federal border vaccine mandates to truckers. In response, the Federal Government invoked the Emergencies Act on February 14, 2022.

    As a safeguard, the Emergencies Act mandates that an inquiry be held to investigate the circumstances leading to the Act’s invocation and the appropriateness of the measures taken. The Public Order Emergency Commission was launched, and the testimonies of protesters, officials, and politicians were heard by the Commission to determine the truth about what happened in the nation’s capital and to investigate the Government’s justification for using emergency powers. The Commission’s final report will be released on February 20, 2023. This conversation will explore what was revealed at the hearings, what was found by the Commission, and what it means for your rights and freedoms.



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      What to do about Digital ID? Surveillance, Privacy, and Risk

      Governments across Canada and around the world are implementing Digital ID systems, generally with the public intention of providing more and better government services to its citizens. Some of these systems have produced positive results while others have served as tools for governments to monitor and suppress political dissidents.

      Digital ID, like any other technology, can be used at any scale: small scale with minimal risks, or large scale with monumental risks. As Canada continues its experiment with Digital ID, it is worth considering how these technologies, policies, and relationships between government and industry may pose risks to Canadians’ fundamental freedoms. We should consider the experiences of other countries, the history of Digital ID in Canada, and look to the publicly available plans for expanding Digital ID within Canada and around the world.



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        Protests and Democracy: Perspectives on Canada and Iran

        In this conversation, we explore the role of peaceful protests and democracies. Lawyer Sayeh Hassan draws from her 20 years of experience as a human rights advocate in her country of birth, Iran, and years of practice as a criminal defence lawyer and Charter advocate, to discuss the importance of the right to peaceful assembly in free and democratic societies, and how curtailing this right can have a devastating impact on freedom and democracy. Sayeh has spent the past two years defending Charter rights and civil liberties of Canadians and will highlight some of the cases where Covid-19 measures have impacted the right to peaceful assembly across Canada.



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          La filière française : laïcité de l’État et neutralité religieuse au Canada

          Depuis la Révolution tranquille, la province de Québec est devenue de plus en plus hostile aux manifestations de croyances religieuses et d’appartenances confessionnelles. Des arrêts marquants de la Cour suprême concernant la « neutralité religieuse » de l'État et le programme obligatoire d'éthique et de culture religieuse au secondaire sont issues de dossiers québécois. Cette tendance a culminé récemment avec le projet de loi 21 sur la laïcité de l'État, qui interdit les symboles religieux visibles dans de larges pans de la fonction publique provinciale. La Cour supérieure du Québec a confirmé la validité de la plupart des articles de la Loi (maintenant en vigueur) en raison de la clause dérogatoire qui y est insérée ; l'affaire est maintenant devant la Cour d'appel.



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            The French connection: laicity of the State and religious neutrality in Canada

            Since the Quiet Revolution in the 1960s, the province of Québec has become increasingly hostile to displays of religious beliefs and affiliations. Major Supreme Court rulings respecting the "religious neutrality" of the State and mandatory ethics and religious culture program in school have come out of Québec cases. This trend culminated recently with Bill 21 on the Laicity of the State, which bans ostensible religious symbols from large swaths of the provincial public service. The Québec Superior Court upheld the validity of most sections of Bill 21 because of the notwithstanding clause inserted therein; the case is now before the Court of Appeal.

            Samuel’s talk will address legal and philosophical issues surrounding Bill 21 and a few high-profile Court cases, and expand on other manifestations of Québec’s growing intolerance to Christianity. He will also comment on the central role of the Catholic church in the history of French Canada, and the impact of the current crisis (scandals, class actions, etc.) on public discourse.


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            Frequently Asked Questions | Foire aux questions


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            Get to know your host

            "Inquiry and dialogue are the most powerful tools at our disposal for discovering the truth and for repairing the divisions in our country. This series is an opportunity for Canadians to inquire into the notions of democracy, freedom, and law. It is an opportunity for Canadians to learn from each other, to disagree with each other, and to imagine the future of our great country together."

            Luke A. Neilson is the Education Programs Coordinator at the Justice Centre. He completed a Master of Arts in Philosophy at the University of Calgary in 2022 and addressed the social value of truth and inquiry in his thesis. As a complement to his work at the Justice Centre, he will be studying public policy analysis from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2023. 

             

             

            Columns & Reports - COVID-19


            April 14, 2020 - Alberta's Bill 10 is an affront to the rule of law By John Carpay, The National Post

            April 10, 2020 - The cost of the coronavirus cure could be deadlier than the disease - By John Carpay, The Post Millenial

            April 7, 2020 - Analysis of Part 3 of Alberta’s Public Health Act: (Communicable Diseases and Public Health Emergencies)  - By John Carpay

            April 5, 2020 - Canadian coronavirus prediction models must be transparent  - By John Carpay, The Post Millenial

            Mar 31st, 2020 - Careful, crises are an ideal time for the state to grab powers: we’re already seeing it in Canada - By Justice Centre board member Bruce Pardy, The Financial Post

            March 20, 2020 - Justice dismantled as restrictions placed on court systems - By staff lawyer Lisa Bildy, The Post Millenial

            Columns & Reports - COVID-19


            April 14, 2020 - Alberta's Bill 10 is an affront to the rule of law By John Carpay, The National Post

            April 10, 2020 - The cost of the coronavirus cure could be deadlier than the disease - By John Carpay, The Post Millenial

            April 7, 2020 - Analysis of Part 3 of Alberta’s Public Health Act: (Communicable Diseases and Public Health Emergencies)  - By John Carpay

            April 5, 2020 - Canadian coronavirus prediction models must be transparent  - By John Carpay, The Post Millenial

            Mar 31st, 2020 - Careful, crises are an ideal time for the state to grab powers: we’re already seeing it in Canada - By Justice Centre board member Bruce Pardy, The Financial Post

            March 20, 2020 - Justice dismantled as restrictions placed on court systems - By staff lawyer Lisa Bildy, The Post Millenial