The Mild, Mild West: Living by a Code in Canadian Law and Film
Law, Culture and the Humanities, Vol. 2, pp. 115-135, 2006
21 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2006 Last revised: 28 Oct 2009
Canadians live by the rules. If the overriding myth of American history is that of rugged individualism and the conquest of the frontier, the story told of Canada is one of socialized, orderly engagement with and development of the north. This article probes the national image as it appears in the poplar and the legal realms. The vehicles for this exploration are Canadian constitutional law and Canadian film. A species of case law - that dealing with the division of powers and, more specifically, with federal criminal jurisdiction - will be juxtaposed with a species of movie - the Canadian North Western and, more specifically, The Grey Fox (1982). The imagery and national aspirations expressed in one medium help illuminate the equivalent motifs in the other. It turns out that if Canadians live by anything, it is a code of continuous dissent, since the constitutional rules that govern national life are in an evolving state of debate.
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