Reconciling Truths
268 pages, 6 x 9
Release Date:15 Nov 2021

Reconciling Truths

Reimagining Public Inquiries in Canada

SERIES: Law and Society
UBC Press

Reconciling Truths explores the role and implications of commissions such as Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, particularly their limits and possibilities in an era of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. Since before Confederation, colonial governments have used this legal mechanism to address deep societal challenges. Whether it is a public inquiry, truth commission, or royal commission, the chosen leadership and processes fundamentally affect its ability to achieve its mandate. Kim Stanton provides in-depth critical analysis of these factors to offer practical guidance on how an inquiry can do more than have its recommendations quietly gather dust on a shelf. She argues that even if recommendations are initially ignored, holding an inquiry can create a dialogue about issues of public importance that prepares the way for attitudinal change and policy development.

As a forthright examination of the institutional design of public inquiries, Reconciling Truths acknowledges the risks inherent in their use. It also affirms their potential to shift the dominant Canadian narrative over time.

This book will be invaluable to scholars and students of law and socio-legal studies, Indigenous studies, public administration and social policy, sociology, and history, as well as to legal practitioners, public policy analysts, and activists. Increased use of commissions of inquiry across jurisdictions with similar colonial legacies will also ensure interest in countries such as Australia and New Zealand.

Kim Stanton is a lawyer, a former legal director of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), and a senior fellow of Massey College at the University of Toronto. Her legal practice in British Columbia and Ontario has focused on constitutional and Aboriginal law.

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