State Trials, Honorary Protestants, and the Red River, Highlight the 2015 Osgoode Society List

The Osgoode Society has announced the fall line up of new titles in its series of original writings on Canadian Legal History. This year the Society will publish two titles with the University of Toronto Press and one with the McGill Queens University Press.

Security and the Limits of Toleration in War and Peace: Canadian State Trials, Volume IV, 1914-1939, edited by Barry WrightEric Tucker and Susan Binnie, published by the University of Toronto Press.

This latest in the collection of State Trials series looks at the legal issues raised by the repression of dissent from the outset of World War One through the 1930’s and the Great Depression. All the regions of the country are covered with special attention given in one essay to the repression of radicalism in Quebec. the volume focuses attention on older manifestations of contemporary dilemma: what are acceptable limits of dissent in a democracy, and what limits should be placed on state responses to perceived challenges to its authority.

“Honorary Protestants”: The Jewish School Question in Montreal, 1867-1997, by David Fraser, published by the University of Toronto Press.

Section 93 of the Constitution Act 1867 guaranteed certain educational rights to Catholics and Protestants in Quebec, but not to anyone else. The study of the challenges, legal and otherwise, encountered by Jewish parents in educating their children in Montreal in the shadow of s. 93 will undoubtedly became the standard works on the subject. Faced wit alternating periods of hostility and tolerance, the Jewish community of Montreal carved out an educational modus vivendi based on complex and continuing negotiations with the Protestant and Catjholic school boards, the provincial government, and individual municipalities. Bargaining in the shadow of the law, the parties made their own constitutions long before the constitutional amendment of 1997 finally put and end to the Jewish school question.

Law, Life and Government in Red River, by Dale Gibson, published by McGill Queen’s University Press.

The General Quarterly Court of Assiniboia can be justly called the first “British” court in Western Canada. Although there were predecessor institutions and judicial arrangements for hearing criminal and civil cases, the establishment of the Quarterly Court in the 1830’s put the administration of justice in the Red River region on a firm and regularized footing. Professor Gibson’s comprehensive history of the Court waves together the legal history of the Red River with its social, economic and political history. At the centrepiece of the book sits the complete court proceedings of the General Quarterly Court from 1844 until 1872, which are examined in detail and in context to provide a compelling narrative of the administration of substantial rather than formal justice in a company community.

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