The Narwhal, April 13, 2018: In the fall of 1981, Jack Woodward was a young lawyer in Ottawa when NDP leader Ed Broadbent and prime minister Pierre Trudeau struck a deal to include aboriginal rights in the Canadian constitution.
“I banged out a first draft,” Woodward recalls. “I typed it out on a manual typewriter. I had to do it in a hurry.”
In less than an hour, Woodward had laid the foundation of Section 35, the part of the Canadian constitution that recognizes and affirms the rights of Indigenous peoples.
In the ensuing 37 years, Woodward has come to know a thing or two about Canada’s constitution. For one, he fought the Tsilhqot’in Nation’s title case for a quarter century, resulting in the landmark Supreme Court ruling that the nation holds title to about 1,900 square kilometres of its traditional territory in B.C.
So when Woodward hears pundits and politicians bandying around the phrase “unconstitutional,” his ears perk up.
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