THE ADVOCATE 711
VOL. 76 PART 5 SEPTEMBER 2018
PETER A. ALLARD
SCHOOL OF LAW,
By Catherine Dauvergne*
THE CHALLENGE OF THE TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION CALLS TO ACTION:
THE VIEW FROM THE ALLARD SCHOOL OF LAW
The final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (“TRC”) in
2015 included 94 calls to action (the “TRC Calls to Action”). While only one
of these was specifically directed to Canadian law schools, a great many of
the calls are legal in nature. These include calls to amend Canadian legislation
in a number of areas; calls to embrace the United Nations Declaration on
the Rights of Indigenous Peoples across diverse social, governmental and business
sectors; a call to alter the common law doctrine of terra nullius; and a
call for a new Royal Proclamation to reset the relationship between Indigenous
peoples and the Canadian state.
Taken all together, the TRC Calls to Action have deep resonance for law
schools and the legal profession. The next generation of lawyers must be
equipped to answer these calls.
Call Number 28 reads:
We call upon law schools in Canada to require all law students to take a
course in Aboriginal people and the law, which includes the history and
legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal–
Crown relations. This will require skills-based training in intercultural
competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.
Responding to this call requires a deep and thoughtful engagement both
with the specific ideas that the call outlines and with the spirit of reconciliation
more broadly. It is insufficient to simply add a few topics to the curriculum
and move on. Indeed, it is fair to say that over the past three years,
as all Canadian law schools have worked to fulfill our commitments to this
* Catherine Dauvergne is the dean of Allard Law.