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Democracy and the Rule of Law

Lesson Six: Making Reasoned Laws, Part I

Objective
Students will understand how proposed laws must be considered and reviewed numerous times. Such checks help ensure that reason guides law-making.

Procedure

1. Lead a class discussion of the following question:
• Is a first reaction necessarily the correct reaction? Is more detailed consideration necessary to form a full opinion?

Teachers may wish to illustrate the nature of this question by presenting a controversial or complex current event, asking for first reactions, and then more deeply exploring the idea.

2. Distribute and read the handout Preventing Mob Rule: Passing a Law then assign Think questions.
KEY QUESTIONS:
• Do mobs bring forward or set back public discourse?
• How does mobbing happen on social media?

3. Lead class discussion of the following statement:

Canada is said to be a country of peace, order, and good government. However, Canada’s laws are not always perfect or ideal. There are many laws and policies that could be changed for the better. Because liberal democracies are made up of complex institutions—such as courts, Parliament, the Senate, and provincial legislatures—moving change forward can be a slow process.

a) When should change be quick?
b) When should change be slow and deliberative?

Case Study
4. There are imperfections in Canada’s system of law-making. Governments of all stripes have exploited these imperfections. Imperfections in our Law-Making: Omnibus Bills looks at the trend of governments to introduce legislation that is simply too big to be fully understood by every parliamentarian.

Further Exploration
5. Teachers interested in exploring the division of power in government should check out Lesson 2.1: The Structure of Provincial Governance in Our Government, Our Election.

6. Teachers interested in exploring how rule by the mob can break down a society should check out Lord of the Flies: The Novel Study.

Preventing Mob Rule: Passing a Law

Handout

Imperfections in our Law-Making: Omnibus Bills

Case Study

Using Distance Learning?

Every student handout in our digital learning resources is a downloadable PDF. Ideal for posting, sharing, or printing!