Search This Blog

Monday, September 18, 2017

Travel grant for research on environmental groups at Laurier archives

via H-Canada:

Applications are currently being accepted for the Joan Mitchell Travel Grant at the Laurier Archives, Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario.  The travel grant will support a graduate student or established scholar who wishes to travel to the Laurier Archives to conduct research.  For more information on the grant, please visit:  The application deadline is: December 2, 2016.
The Laurier Archives collects in three main areas: The history of the Lutheran Church in Canada; the environmental conservation movement in Canada; and Canadian music....

In our environment conservation collection, records of the Canadian Arctic Resources Committee document many of the major environmental issues facing Canada's north.  It contains series documenting pipelines, (including the McKenzie Valley Pipeline; the Alaska Highway Pipeline; the Foothills Pipeline); hydro-electric projects in the Hudson Bay area; interviews with Indigenous leaders about the effects of large scale dams; marine conservation, national parks; Northern communities and Indigenous peoples.  The Ken Hewitt fonds document hydrological research in the Himalayas.  Also check out the records of the Canadian Water Resources Association; the Canadian Environmental Law Association; the Canadian Biosphere Reserve Association; and geographer George Francis.

For more information, please contact the Laurier Archives.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Harris, "Property and Sovereignty: An Indian Reserve and a Canadian City"

Doug Harris has posted "Property and Sovereignty: An Indian Reserve and a Canadian City" on SSRN. The article will appear in volume 50 issue 2 of the  UBC Law Review

Here's the abstract.

Property rights, wrote Morris Cohen in 1927, are delegations of sovereign power. They are created by the state and operate to establish limits on its power. As such, the allocation of property rights is an exercise of sovereignty and a limited delegation of it. Sixty years later, Joseph Singer used Cohen’s conceptual framing in a critical review of developments in American Indian law. Where the US Supreme Court had the opportunity to label an American Indian interest as either a sovereign interest or a property interest, he argued, it invariably chose to the disadvantage of the Indians. Within Canada, Indigenous peoples have struggled to have their interests recognized as property rights, let alone as sovereign power. As John Borrows makes clear, Canadian courts have established Canada’s sovereignty as the jurisdictional bedrock on which Indigenous peoples must establish their property rights. This article uses the uses the concepts of property and sovereignty as revealed by Cohen and as interpreted by Singer and Borrows in the context of the rights of Indigenous peoples to recount the history of the appearance, disappearance, and reappearance of an Indian reserve in the City of Vancouver. Allotted by the colony of British Columbia in the 1860s and expanded in 1876 after British Columbia joined the Canadian confederation, the Kitsilano Indian Reserve is one of more than 1500 Indian reserves scattered across the province. Using archival material, much of it introduced in litigation, the article examines the changing character of the Indian reserve in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as a property interest and as a limited delegation of sovereignty, in a context where the distribution of sovereignty between Indigenous peoples and the Canadian state remains unresolved.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Foster, "Another good thing: Ross River Dena Council v. Canada in the Yukon Court of Appeal: or: Indigenous title, 'presentism' in law and history, and a Judge Begbie Puzzle revisited."

In the June issue of the University of British Columbia Review, an article by Hamar Foster, "Another good thing: Ross River Dena Council v. Canada in the Yukon Court of Appeal: or: Indigenous title, 'presentism' in law and history, and a Judge Begbie Puzzle revisited." 

No abstract available, sorry.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

RIP James Snell

We were saddened to hear of the recent death of University of Guelph university professor emeritus James G. Snell. Professor Snell was a co-author (with Frederick Vaughan) of one of the Osgoode Society's earliest legal histories, a well-regarded volume entitled Supreme Court of Canada: History of the Institution.

Here's his obituary from the Guelph Mercury.

h/t David Cameletti

Poutanen, “Due Attention Has Been Paid to All Rules”: Women, Tavern Licences, and Social Regulation in Montreal, 1840–1860"

In the May 2017 issue of Histoire Sociale/ Social History, Mary Anne Poutanen has published “'Due Attention Has Been Paid to All Rules': Women, Tavern Licences, and Social Regulation in Montreal, 1840–1860."

Taverns and inns were centres of neighbourhood life, places for travellers seeking meals, drink, and accommodation and commercial and domestic spaces where keepers and their families earned a living and that they called home. Women figured largely in public houses as patrons, servants, family members, and publicans in their own right. The article focuses on a sample of 90 female publicans who held tavern licences from 1840 to 1860, arguing that keeping these establishments afforded them distinct levels of economic independence and power. It considers broadly those characteristics that constituted ideal female keepers in mid-nineteenth-century Montreal and how they maintained a respectable status precisely at a moment when alcohol consumption and associated licensed and unlicensed commercial sites were coming increasing under scrutiny by temperance advocates, authorities of the criminal justice system, and elites. To retain their licences, female keepers had to negotiate the landmines of respectability by following licensing regulations, maintaining a reputable demeanour, and regulating the public house’s culture and clientele.

Les tavernes et les auberges étaient des lieux où la vie de quartier battait son plein, des endroits où les voyageurs trouvaient à manger, à boire et à se loger, des aires commerciales et domestiques où les tenanciers et leur famille gagnaient leur vie et qu’ils considéraient comme leur chez eux. Les femmes étaient très présentes dans ces établissements, soit comme clientes, servantes, membres de la famille ou patronnes de plein droit. L’article porte sur un échantillon de 90 tenancières qui détenaient un permis de taverne de 1840 à 1860. Le fait qu’elles tenaient ces établissements leur procurait des niveaux d’indépendance et de pouvoir économiques appréciables, selon l’auteure. Celle-ci se penche en gros sur les caractéristiques qui en faisaient des tenancières idéales dans la Montréal du milieu du XIXe siècle et sur la façon dont elles préservaient leur respectabilité, précisément à un moment où la consommation d’alcool et les établissements commerciaux – avec ou sans permis – où elle avait lieu étaient de plus en plus surveillés de près par les apôtres de la tempérance, les autorités du système de justice criminelle et les élites. Pour conserver leur permis et préserver leur respectabilité, les tenancières devaient donc observer la réglementation sur les permis, conserver leur bonne réputation et régir la culture et la clientèle de l’établissement.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Osgoode Society Legal History Workshop: Winter 2018 schedule

Here is the schedule for the winter term, 2018. I will provide room numbers and any other updates when available.

Note that there is one slot currently open. If you are interested, please email Jim Phillips.


All sessions at 6.30. Room TBA.

Wednesday January 10 or 17: TBA 

Wednesday January 31 – Elizabeth Koester, University of Toronto: ‘Litigating Eugenics:  The 1936 Eastview Birth Control Trial’.

Wednesday February 14: Tom Telfer, Western University: ‘The New Bankruptcy “Detective Agency”? The Origins of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy in Great Depression Canada.’

Wednesday February 28 - Donald Fyson, Laval University: TBA

Wednesday March 14: Jeff McNairn, Queen’s University: ‘ “Where covert guile and artifice abound:” Making Legal Knowledge of Insolvency and Fraud in Upper Canada, 1794-1843.’

Wednesday March 28: Michael Boudreau, St Thomas University: ‘Capital Punishment in New Brunswick, 1869-1957’.

Wednesday April 4 - Shelley Gavigan, Osgoode Hall Law School: ‘Historicizing Criminalization of Canada’s First Nations: A Project for Legal Historians?’

Roach, "The Judicial, Legislative and Executive Roles in Enforcing the Constitution: Three Manitoba Stories"

Kent Roach has posted "The Judicial, Legislative and Executive Roles in Enforcing the Constitution: Three Manitoba Stories" on SSRN. The essay is forthcoming in Canada in the World: Comparative Perspectives on the Canadian Constitution, edited by Richard Albert and David R. Cameron (Cambridge University Press).


The comparative strengths and weaknesses of judicial, executive and legislative enforcement of the Constitution are examined through a case study of attempts to enforce the rights of the overlapping Francophones, Roman Catholics and the Métis minorities in Manitoba. In these case studies, the courts were generally the more reliable protector of minority rights than legislatures or the executive. At the same time, there was not always compliance with judicial decisions and courts often produced remedies that were less effective than had there been co-operation with the executive, the legislature and civil society. In particular, legislative remedies both with respect to restoring funding to Catholic schools and ensuring French language services from the government would have been more effective than judicial remedies. They were, however, blocked by filibusters by legislators hostile to the minority rights in question. The 1983 legislative obstruction forced the Supreme Court of Canada in 1985 to pioneer the innovative remedy of a suspended declaration of invalidity. This remedy allows both courts and legislatures to participate in devising remedies. It is now used frequently in Canada and is enshrined in the 1996 South African Constitution.