Hot Docs presents In the Name of All Canadians 

In the Name of All Canadians
 is a documentary film comprised of six short documentary films which are inspired by Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, one part of the Canadian constitution.   The six documentaries are:  IN PART directed by Khoa Lê, L’inspecteur directed by Jérémie Wookey and Annick Marion, The Long Way Home directed by Aisha Jamal and Ariel Nasr, Notwithstanding directed by Patrick Reed and Andréa Schmidt, Last Resort directed by Vivian Belik, and Lessons Injustice directed by Karen Chapman.  The filmmakers and/or teams of filmmakers have focussed on a specific aspect of the charter to explore, examine and shine a light on how it resonates in the stories of Canadians.  Hot Docs, North America’s largest documentary film festival, commissioned the film.

IN PART celebrates Canada’s diversity, rich multicultural heritage and official languages, and serves as book ends to the other documentary films.  It is an UPLIFTING film.

L’inspecteur is an important lesson in protecting minority language education rights and chronicles the story of Franco-Manitobans who found themselves outside the law in order to protect their language and culture as French Canadians.

The Long Way Home is a dark tale of what happened to Canadian Abousfian Abdelrazik who was falsely labelled and accused of being a terrorist.

Notwithstanding is a speculative interpretation of the notwithstanding clause of the Canadian Constitution and is based on real accounts of people’s experiences.  They include Muslims in Canada Facing Discrimination, G20 Detainees, Japanese Canadian Internees, and Prisoners in Solitary Confinement.  The notwithstanding clause allows the federal government or a provincial legislature to enact legislation to override several sections of the charter that deal with fundamental freedoms, legal rights and equality rights.

Last Resort is a compelling documentary about indigeneous rights, experiences and aboriginal spirituality.  The documentary focusses on British Columbia’s Ktunaxa First Nation’s legal case before the Supreme Court of Canada on having aboriginal spirituality recognised into the Charter’s Right of Religious Freedom.  Plans are afoot to build a ski resort on Jumbo Mountain, Qat’muk to the Ktunaxa First Nation, which is home to the Grizzly Bear Spirit, a powerful and important figure in Ktunaxa spirituality.

Lessons Injustice is a thought provoking documentary that exemplifies the gap between charter rights Sections 8, 9 and 15 and the reality on the streets for men like Danardo Jones.

The documentary resonates and has resonated with me on many levels and invites societal reflection. The gap between the principles and lofty vision of the charter of rights and freedoms and reality is disturbing.  It brings into question what confidence can we have in our charter rights and freedoms when they are failing to protect minorities and Canada’s indigeneous peoples.  When you think of it, to mount a charter challenge is beyond the means of the vast majority of Canadians.  Should we be celebrating Canada’s sesquicentennial birthday when so many Canadians are denied their rights and freedoms?   It’s a complicated question because there is much to celebrate with recently made inroads with Canada’s medically assisted dying and same-sex marriage legislation.  The charter made it possible to argue the same-sex marriage and medically assisted dying cases.

The documentary has tremendous educational appeal, can serve as a primer into our charter rights and freedoms, and will no doubt spark meaningful dialogue and debate,  and social action.  I highly recommend it!

Hot Docs releases In the Name of All Canadians at Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema on June 30 for a limited engagement.


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