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Restorative justice in colonial Saskatchewan : an analysis



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This thesis is an examination of the place of restorative justice in the practice of criminal law in Canada generally and in Saskatchewan in particular. It takes as its focal point the fundamental tension between traditional Anglo-Canadian Law in this area, and the newly founded practices of restorative justice. This project accepts that retribution, vengeance and proportional justice are important components of current practice. It argues that these imperatives find their place not only in practice, but also in justice system structure. This space is made both culturally and legislatively. Earlier societies are examined to develop a sense of the connection between societal norms and punitive paradigms, and an argument is made that Canada is no different from earlier societies in the way its legal values reflect the social values of the dominant settler culture. Into this analysis is then added reflections concerning the effect of colonialism on aboriginal people generally and on Canada in particular. The thesis then goes on to situate this tension specifically in current criminal justice by analysing legislation, policy, courts and practice. It examines restorative justice, and demonstrates that it has significant potential to ameliorate the deleterious effects of the colonial project on aboriginal peoples. However, it remains a marginalised practice precisely because it is an anti-colonial force in a powerful colonial justice structure. It concludes that the forces that have the inclination to change this situation have not acted to do so, and the justice system actors with the power to effect change have proven themselves to be similarly disinclined.



Saskatchewan, restorative justice, aboriginal courts



Master of Laws (LL.M.)


College of Law


College of Law


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