‘Supreme Law’: The Court is Now in Session

By Pat Mullen

Last night, Hot Docs audiences were treated to the debut of Kat Cizek’s new interactive work Supreme Law. This NFB project schools users on the Canadian Constitution, particularly Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau’s mission to patriate it and give the nation its right to make its own laws, rather than leave everything in the lands of tea-drinking England. YouTube personality Jus Reign has a lot of fun playing a new take on the PM and guides users through the history of the constitution with its many flaws and nuances.

Reign is joined by a host of other manic YouTubers who revisit the same story from the perspectives of women (although all others in the work are women), Quebecois, Western Canadians, and Indigenous persons whose land we occupy. The effort to challenge the idea of a singular national identity or history is admirable, although the project’s emphasis on identity politics makes the dynamics of inclusion/exclusion somewhat glaring despite the understandable narrative conveniences offered by the categories that frame the work. The gaps revealed by the project, however, should inspire Canadians to recognize the need to continually evaluate the rights and freedoms outlined by the Constitution and ensure that they are fair and just for the wide-range of experiences that shape the nation.

There’s a lot more outside of the influencers’ short film segments, however. Users can learn more as they take a break from the high-energy YouTubers and explore the “deep dives” of the project that engage with the Canadian Constitution in more depth. Supreme Law obviously contains some invaluable information and resources that audiences will have to explore in more detail, and it makes Canadian history more accessible than the average high school civics class.

Supreme Law is now available to explore online via the NFB at supremelaw.nfb.ca.

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