Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Resolving Constitutional Issues
More than 100 years after Confederation, Canada still struggles with many constitutional issues, from a formula for amending the constitution to the protection of regional and minority rights to the role of the monarchy in Canada's government.
The following constitutional issues are not yet resolved in Canada:
The "distinct society" claim of Quebec
A constitutional amending formula
The division of powers between federal and provincial governments
The future of the Canadian Senate
The status of aboriginal peoples in Canada
The protection of regional and minority rights
A constitutional veto
The Supreme Court's role in constitutional review
The impact of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms
The monarchy's role in Canada's
Assign or have students choose one of the above issues. Students should research the issue thoroughly, prepare a summary of the data, and include their views on the issue and how they think it could best be resolved. Using their information, students will draft several proposals for addressing the issue. Each group or student will then write a position statement explaining how its issue could be resolved by constitutional or other governmental/political reform.
Students can work individually or in small groups. They should begin their research by thoroughly reviewing the topic Canada's Constitutional Debate: What Makes a Nation? on the CBC Radio Digital Archives website. They can continue their research online or by using any other resources they find relevant. Students should note all resources consulted and cited.
Assemble all students to begin your classroom constitutional convention. Invite each group to present its issue and its recommendations for resolution, and to read its position statement about how to achieve the proposals. The rest of the students should consider and discuss what steps would be necessary in order for such constitutional or governmental reform to occur and be successful.