CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: The Laws of the Land

History, Political Science
2 to 3 weeks
To write a research essay, to perform research
Using a variety of web-based resources, students will investigate the evolution of one aspect of the Omnibus Bill and write a research paper to share their findings.

Lesson Plan


The Omnibus Bill included 109 clauses that covered important issues ranging from homosexuality and abortion to breathalyzer tests. Pierre Trudeau believed that this bill brought "the laws of the land up to contemporary society," but, as society evolves, changes continue to be made to the Criminal Code, and Canadians continue to debate the issues introduced by the Omnibus Bill.

The Task

Begin by asking students to identify why we need a Criminal Code. Brainstorm what issues the Criminal Code should, and should not, cover.

Students will then consider one of the issues covered by the Omnibus Bill and write a research paper on the topic. It can be an issue that the government is still debating or one that they believe still needs some refinement. Some topic suggestions include:

drunk driving



gun ownership


The Process

Direct students to the topic Trudeau's Omnibus Bill: Challenging Canadian Taboos on the CBC Digital Archives website to select a topic and start their investigation. Students will then expand their research to include relevant online and print resources. Students should identify how their issue has evolved over time and explore the relationship between the issue and contemporary society. Students should create a thesis statement and outline for their research essay, write a rough draft, revise it, and have it peer edited. Students must cite all sources used in their essay. Have students submit their essays for evaluation.


As a class, discuss the issues explored in the students' essays. Ask: At the time of the Omnibus Bill's introduction, Trudeau believed it brought "the laws of the land up to contemporary society," but did it? Does the law continue to reflect contemporary society?