By James W. St.G. Walker
4 situations within which the felony factor was once “race” — that of a chinese language eating place proprietor who used to be fined for using a white girl; a black guy who used to be refused provider in a bar; a Jew who desired to purchase a cottage yet was once avoided via the valuables vendors’ organization; and a Trinidadian of East Indian descent who used to be appropriate to the Canadian military yet used to be rejected for immigration on grounds of “race” — drawn from the interval among 1914 and 1955, are in detail tested to discover the position of the superb court docket of Canada and the legislations within the racialization of Canadian society. With painstaking examine into modern attitudes and practices, Walker demonstrates that ideal court docket Justices have been expressing the present “common feel” approximately “race” of their felony judgements. He exhibits that injustice at the grounds of “race” has been continual in Canadian heritage, and that the legislation itself was instrumental in growing those situations. The ebook concludes with a arguable dialogue of present instructions in Canadian legislations and their power impression on Canada’s destiny as a multicultural society.
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Additional info for Race, Rights and the Law in the Supreme Court of Canada: Historical Case Studies
Where there has been critical comment a canvassing of scholarly opinion upon the case will be presented, both contemporary and retrospective, to give readers different insights and, perhaps, more foundation upon which to build their own evolving analysis of the procedures under observation. Once made, the Court's decision will be appraised for its impact on the development of "race relations" in Canada (its social legacy) and its implications for an understanding of Canadian society and history (its theoretical, or interpretive, legacy).
This direction in thinking about "race" was being reinforced both by scholarly analyses and by the reverberations from World War II. Psychologists began to theorize that the tendency to discriminate was a characterological defect to be found and explained within the discriminatory individual, rather than a symptom of group competition. John Dollard developed a "frustration-and-aggression" hypothesis in 1937, 26 in which he proposed that accumulated resentment can turn into aggression against "acceptable" targets such as racial minorities, compensating for feelings of individual powerlessness.
Was it simply that "community standards" were being interpreted according to the honest understanding of the judges? Are there signs of an "implied Bill of Rights" discernible in these cases? Did the abolition of appeals to the Privy Council make any difference to Canadian enthralment with British standards? Two of the cases occurred before and two after the change in 1949, making it possible to form some observations. More generally still, judicial decisions can provide a fruitful research resource for the social history of Canada, especially for those groups or issues which are underrepresented in the more standard sources.