Windsor Law students get celebrity boost to encourage Charter awareness

Such well-known Canadians as Alex Trebek, Mike Holmes, Hayley Wickenheiser, Paul Gross, Kristen Kreuk and Howie Mandel have thrown their support behind a Windsor Law project celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The group will launch The Charter Project today at 1 p.m. during a ceremony at Osgoode Hall in Toronto. The event, sponsored by the Law Society of Upper Canada, will include such speakers as Ontario Lieutenant Governor David C. Onley and Roy McMurtry, former Chief Justice of the Ontario Court of Appeal and one of the charter’s 1982 architects.

The Charter Project, the brainchild of Windsor Law’s 2012 graduating class, includes a series of public service announcements featuring Canadian celebrities discussing the charter and encouraging Canadians to “Join the Discussion.”

The project’s co-founders, Byron Pascoe and Michael O’Brien, say they intend the nationwide educational and public awareness campaign to involve Canadians in a dialogue about their rights and freedoms.

“Canada is the best country in the world to live for many reasons, including the fact that we can have open discussion about rights without the fear of being persecuted,” Pascoe says. “As students studying the law, we have a responsibility to play an active role in ensuring that all members of our community at large have access to justice, including education of the law.”

Join the Discussion public service announcements will begin appearing in movie theatres this Friday, March 16th, and can be viewed at The projects’ media relations coordinator Lama Sabbagh and Heather MacIvor, a former political science professor now studying law, will discuss the project on Research Matters, a weekly talk show that airs on CJAM 99.1 fm, Thursday at 4:30 p.m.

The students have also developed a workshop for high school classrooms promoting Access to Justice, the theme of Law Day 2012, to be held in mid-April. Additionally, the group has filmed a series of interviews with legal experts and others who can offer unique historical perspectives on the historic document.

As a legacy project, Windsor Law 2012 plans to endow a social justice fellowship at the Faculty of Law that will provide law students with a yearly opportunity to work for a Canadian social justice oriented organization of their choice with no cost to the organization.

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