Mr. Johnston

Welcome To Our Page

Posted: October 19, 2016


R. v. Hydro-Quebec, [1997] 3.S.C.R. 213  found on p.72


R. v. Crown Zellerbach Canada Ltd., [1988] 1 S.C.R. 401  found on p.73

Both cases were discussed in class on Wednesday, October 19th.  Particular points were made to pay attention to rubric (found on this website under documents) and to reference the legal/social/historical significance of the case AND to ensure you explain the decision arrived at in the case.  All of this is expected while still analysing the case using the guiding questions provided.

Due Date: 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


Wed, Oct 26/16 11:03 am

Format of the Test

Multiple Choice (20pts)

Fill-in-the-Blanks (10pts)

Short Answer (14pts)

Essay (5pts)


Sample Short Answer Questions

 1)  Give three reasons why law making is such a difficult task.

(1) laws must be able to meet both the legal challenges and the approval of most citizens;

(2) laws must be enforceable;

(3) laws should balance frequently competing interests.

 2)  Use examples to demonstrate your understanding of the terms intra vires and ultra vires. 

Answers could vary. (e.g., It would be ultra vires the federal Parliament to pass laws that relate to labour and trade unions, however, it would be intra vires if the laws pertained to employment insurance.)

 3)  Identify the two systems of government that Canada was considering at the time of Confederation and explain how they differ.

(1) a unitary system where power is concentrated in one parliament with a Prime Minister, and

(2) a federal system where power is divided between two levels of government: the central (federal) government to look after national interests, and provincial governments that govern on more regional matters.

 4)  What is the purpose of lobby groups? Provide an example.

Lobby groups consist of people who try to influence legislators to pass laws that would favour their cause. Examples will vary, but may include MADD, the Coalition for Gun Control, and LEAF.

 5)  Explain what the following means: "... the distribution of legislative powers was intended to be exhaustive".

 Section 91 of the BNA Act granted legislative control to the federal government in certain designated areas. Section 92 gave the provinces other enumerated heads of power. In addition, the opening words of s. 91 conferred residual powers on the federal government authorizing them to make laws for the "Peace, Order, and Good Government of Canada" (i.e., giving all unassigned areas of law-making to the federal government.) This had the effect of ensuring that every conceivable subject of legislation was assigned to one level of government or the other. 

 6)  Outline the problems that exist with the BNA Act with respect to jurisdictional authority over resources.

Some resources, such as fisheries, are under the jurisdiction of the federal government and others, such as timber and wood, are under provincial control. Therefore, disputes arise over which level of government would have control over other resources such as oil and natural gas. The BNA Act is silent with respect to these resources, since its drafters could not possibly have had them within their contemplation in 1867.

 7)  What obstacle to patriating the Constitution was presented at the Saskatchewan First Minister's Conference in 1982?

Quebec's premier, Renaccent(e) Laccent(e)vesque, was not prepared to support patriation until Quebec was assured of greater economic and cultural powers under the new Constitution.

 8)  Describe the four key components added to Canada's Constitution under the Constitution Act, (1982).

(1) A principle regarding the equalization of services across Canada;

(2) a clearer interpretation of jurisdiction over natural resources;

(3) a formula to clarify how amendments would be made;

(4) a charter guaranteeing individual rights and freedoms was included.

 9)  Identify two reasons why the Charlottetown Accord did not receive unanimous support throughout the country.

(1) Quebec felt the Accord did not give them enough power, but other provinces believed it gave them too much power, and, (2) Aboriginal self-government clauses were of concern to provinces like Quebec 

 10)  What is the primary purpose of Royal Commissions?

Their role is to conduct impartial investigations into specific national problems. They may indicate that new laws are necessary in order to remedy the situation.

Posted: October 3, 2016

PDF icon case_analysis_rubric_g-3.pdf983.94 KB

Posted: October 3, 2016

Complete an analysis for either of the two following cases found on pp.49 & 50 respectively:

1. Spain v. Canada (1998), Fisheries Jurisdiction (I.C.J), on-line <>


2. Mazuelos v. Clark (2000), B.C.H.R.T.I.  

Due Date: 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Posted: October 3, 2016


Wed, Oct 12/16 9:40 am


  • Canada's eight landforms; Western Cordillera, Interior Plains, Canadian Shield, Appalachian Highlands, Hudson Bay Lowlands, St. Lawrence -Great Lake Lowlands, Innuitian Mountains, Arctic Lowlands.  Check your textbook for information on these regions OR visit this website is external)
  • You will be expected to know and describe any of the landforms physical features.-
  • Need to know the five different types of climate: A)Tropical Climate, B)Dry Climate, C)Warm, Moist Climate; D)Continental Temperate (cool, moist), Moist Climate; E)Polar Climate
  • Need to know where these climates are found in Canada; which one is not present in Canada
  • Weather: We learned that weather is affected by Global AND Regional elements.  Be prepared to name and describe the factors under each of these categories which affect weather
  • know the the following theories, names, and concepts associated with earth's formation: continental drift, plate tectonics, Alfred Wegener, layers of the earth,
  • know the four ways we describe topography = elevation, relief, gradient, geology-know the five ways we classify landfroms

Posted: September 30, 2016


Wed, Oct 12/16 11:03 am


Multiple Choice (15pts)

True & False (7pts)

Fill-in-the-blank (10pts)

Matching (5pts)

Short Answer (10pts)

Case Study (5pts)


1)  What happens to a law if it is found to be inconsistent with the Constitution?

It is struck down by the courts and considered to be invalid on the grounds that it is "unconstitutional".


2)  Explain the legal principle of stare decisis.

Judges apply decisions made by other courts when determining the outcome of similar cases.



3)  Why is it necessary that judges be able to "distinguish" circumstances when deciding common law cases? 

The applicable precedent may be out-of-date or involve new or unique technology not covered by case law.


4)  In what way are Indian Bands similar to local governments?

Indian Bands are entitled to enact bylaws to deal with local Band issues.



5)  Identify three major functions of Canada's constitution.

(a) It determines the structure of the federal government.

(b) It divides law-making powers between the federal and provincial governments.

(c) It limits the powers of government by setting out certain basic laws, principles, and standards that all other law must adhere to.


6)  How can international law exist when there is no global law-making body in existence?

Laws exist between nations as a matter of custom. Custom means consistent and general practice among states and the acceptance of this practice as law by the international community. In addition, treaties and agreements between nations are considered as legally binding as any law.


7)  Define domestic law.

Law that is made and enforced within a nation's borders. It includes both case law and statute law.



8)  Identify the three branches of law that make up public law. Provide a brief description of each.

(1) constitutional law: a body of law that deals with the distribution and exercise of government powers;

(2) administrative law: law related to the relationship between people and government departments, boards, and agencies;

(3) criminal law: law that identifies crimes and prescribes punishment.



9)  What is the purpose of the criminal law?

The criminal law is designed to protect the public and prohibit and punish behaviours deemed unacceptable by Parliament. 



10)  Why are criminal charges brought against the accused in the name of the Queen?


Criminal acts are not seen as being limited to the immediate victim. Rather, there are considered to be against society as a whole. Consequently, charges are brought against the accused in the name of the Queen because the monarch is the ultimate representative of Canadian society. 

Research the Giller and Governor General Award winners of the past decade or so; provide a brief overview of the storyline and make observations on themes, characters, settings, conflicts, etc. that might help develop a sense of what Canadian Literary Texts is.  Students should choose 3 different authors from the 2 lists below; attempt to spread out the names so there is no duplicate; it may not be possible but try as best you might.  Students can find these two lists on my website for their ease.  They may discuss in class amongst themselves who is choosing which novel & author. If they book they are currently reading is in the list, they should avoid researching so as not to spoil the endings.

Governor General’s Award Winners

·· 2000: Michael Ondaatje, Anil's Ghost · 2001: Richard B. Wright, Clara Callan · 2002: Gloria Sawai, A Song for Nettie Johnson · 2003: Douglas Glover, Elle · 2004: Miriam Toews, A Complicated Kindness · 2005: David Gilmour, A Perfect Night to Go to China · 2006: Peter Behrens, The Law of Dreams · 2007: Michael Ondaatje, Divisadero · 2008: Nino Ricci, The Origin of Species · 2009: Kate Pullinger, The Mistress of Nothing · 2010: Dianne Warren, Cool Water · 2011: deWitt, Patrick, The Sisters Brothers · 2012: Linda Spalding, The Purchase · 2014 Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries· 2014: Thomas King, The Back of the Turtle · 2015: Guy Vanderhaege, Daddy Lenin and Other Short Stories



Giller Prize Winners

·2000: David Adams Richards, Mercy Among the Children · 2001: Richard B. Wright, Clara Callan · 2002: Austin Clarke, The Polished Hoe · 2003: M.G. Vassanji, The In-Between World of Vikram Vall · 2004: Alice Munro, Runaway · 2005: David Bergen, The Time In-Between · 2006: Vincent Lam, Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures · 2007: Elizabeth Hay, Late Nights on Air · 2008: Joseph Boyden, Through Black Spruce · 2009: Linden McIntyre, The Bishop’s Man · 2010: Johanna Skibsrud, The Sentimentalists · 2011: Esi Edugyan, Half-Blood Blues · 2012: Will Ferguson, 419 · 2013: Lynn Coady, Hellgoing · 2014: Sean Michaels, Us Conductors · 2015: Andre Alexis, Fifteen Dogs


Posted: September 15, 2016


Wed, Sep 21/16 9:43 am

Chapter 1: An Introduction to Canadian IdentityBelow are a list of possible topics/questions that may appear on the test.  By no means are they guaranteed or is this list everything that may appear.  Students are responsible for all things discussed/completed in class and all material covered in Chapter 1. 

-What is Canadian Identity?  How would you define your own identity?

-5 Factors that influence identity = p.2(purple section)

-Canadian symbols = be prepared to draw or name

-art forms = notes & pp.5-9

-First Nations art = notes or p.5

-French Art = notes or p.6

-British Art = notes or p.6

-What is the CRTC? = notes or p.10

-Vocabulary-Analyze song lyrics(will be given lyrics for a song played in class) for aspects of Canadian identity. 

Assignment A

Write a letter (~one page) in which you answer the following questions:

  • What does the term “Canadian Literary texts” mean to you?

  • How is it different than, say, British and American literature?  What characteristics does it possess that make it distinctively unique?

Assignment B

Write a one page response to the videos which depict or show Canadian identity.  The videos were:

Your response could include such things as, “What does it mean to you to be Canadian?”; “why are we so obsessed with how the rest of the world sees us or thinks of us?”; “Why doesn’t the world know more about us?”; “Why do so many stereotypes exist of Canadians?”

Posted: May 31, 2016


Thu, Jun 2/16 10:50 am

Chapter 5: What is Culture? Test Review

·Be able to give a definition of culture and explain the different elements that make up culture.

·What is the difference between a genetic trait and a cultural trait?

·Know what an anthropologist is.

·What are the common characteristics that are found in all cultures according to George P. Murdock? (p.68 in textbook)

·Be able to list/describe what physical needs and emotional needs are.  Also, if given a scenario like on p.70, be ready to describe what needs are being met by that situation.

·What is the difference between material and non-material culture?  What category do values fit in?  Be ready to divide a list AND explain why you did so of cultural characteristics into material and non-material.

·What is traditional culture vs. popular culture?  Explain from where we get popular culture.  How can popular culture sometimes come into conflict or tension with our traditional culture? (eg: for First Nations, it would be popular culture to speak English but many homes still try to promote their First Nations language)

·What is an agent of socialization?  It is an institution or organization which passes culture onto the next generation.  Be prepared to list a few agents of socialization and explain how they pass on culture.

·What are three methods for resolving conflict?  Why do you think we studied those in a chapter called “What is Culture?”  



LAW 120 Case Analysis Rubric
World Issues Scrapbook Project Guidelines
Module 3 Assignment (Can. Geog. 120)
Canadian Geography Module 2 Assignment