Celebrating the 800th Anniversary of Magna Carta 1215 – 2015
No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, nor will we proceed with force against him, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land. To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay, right or justice.
June of 2015 will mark the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, the foundation of Canada’s democracy and of our system of justice. This important event is commemorated only every fiftieth year and 2015 will be the first time that Canada has participated. Thanks to early sponsorship from SorbaraLaw, the work of SorbaraLaw lawyer Art Linton, and significant support from the Canadian Government and RBC, Canada’s celebration will rank among the most significant in the world.
Magna Carta is far more than an ancient document. It was the inspiration for Canada’s own Charter of Rights and Freedoms, for the U.S. Constitution, and the constitutions and justice systems of a great many other countries. Over the centuries, it has become the universal touchstone for human rights and the rule of law. In 2015, Magna Carta Canada will invite all Canadians to explore and appreciate these remarkably enduring principles.
Magna Carta Canada has secured all necessary approvals to bring a 1225 exemplification of Magna Carta and its companion document, the Charter of the Forest, for a first-ever tour of Canadian cities. The 1225 issuance is considered to be the most constitutionally important because King Edward I re-issued it along with the Charter of the Forest in 1297, making it one of the earliest of English statutes. Remarkably, three clauses remain in English legislation today.
A major international (Canadian) museum-planning firm has been engaged to create a world-class exhibition to display the documents and illuminate the principles of Magna Carta for the greatest possible number of Canadians. The exhibit will tour Canada throughout the second half of 2015, beginning in June at the Canadian Museum of History in Ottawa, and continuing to other equally prestigious sites in Toronto, Winnipeg, and Edmonton. The tour is designed to reach as many Canadians as possible given the rigid travel, environmental and security restrictions set by the owner of the documents, Durham Cathedral.
We are advised that this tour of Canada is the first time these documents have been allowed outside Durham Cathedral in over 600 years. Our six-month travelling exhibition is the centerpiece of Canada’s 2015 commemoration of Magna Carta.
Experts in education and justice have been recruited to create age-appropriate educational programs and materials intended to reach every grade school and high school student in Canada during 2015. These materials are designed to encourage an appreciation of Magna Carta, to help students understand the importance of the rule of law in their daily lives, and to encourage greater civic engagement. Magna Carta Canada will continue to develop these materials to provide a relevant, compelling, and sustainable legacy of constitutional learning for future generations.
You can learn more about Magna Carta and Canada’s plans for a momentous celebration of the 800th Anniversary, and contribute to the celebration at www.magnacartacanada.ca.
Art Linton. Art is a lawyer at SorbaraLaw, bringing thirty years of international business leadership to the practice of law and to finding pragmatic solutions to his client’s corporate, expropriation and environmental liability concerns.