Interview – Legal Expert – David Tanovich – 2 of 2

The Charter Project team filmed and edited interviews with legal experts and others who can offer unique historical perspectives on The Charter, its inception, and how it affects the everyday lives of Canadians. This is the first of two excerpts from our interview with University of Windsor, Faculty of Law professor David Tonivich.



David M. Tanovich, M.A. (Toronto), LL.B. (Queens), LL.M. (NYU) is a Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Windsor where he teaches and writes in the areas of criminal law, evidence, legal ethics, and racial profiling. He is also the Academic Director of Windsor’s Law Enforcement Accountability Project (LEAP) and the recipient of a $50,000 grant from the Law Foundation of Ontario for the LEAP project.

Professor Tanovich has written over 40 books and articles including  The Colour of Justice: Policing Race in Canada (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2006); and, Law’s Ambition and the Reconstruction of Role Morality in Canada (2005), 28 Dalhousie L. Rev.267-310. Professor Tanovich has been invited to present at numerous conferences and other fora, including endowed lectures at Dalhousie Law School and the College of Law, University of Saskatchewan. In 2008, he was a Robson Hall Distinguished Visitor at the University of Manitoba. Professor Tanovich’s research has been frequently cited by the Supreme Court of Canada and other appellate courts, law reform and human rights commissions. It has also been recognized in various awards such as the 2005 University of Windsor Award for Excellence in Scholarship, Research and Creative Activity and 2006 Canadian Association of Law Teachers’ Scholarly Paper Award.

Prior to joining the academy, Professor Tanovich served as a law clerk to Chief Justice Antonio Lamer of the Supreme Court of Canada for the 1995 term and as a partner with Pinkofsky Lockyer (1997-2003) where he argued more than 90 cases in the Supreme Court of Canada and Ontario Court of Appeal. Some of his more notable cases include R. v. Golden where the Supreme Court of Canada imposed constitutional limits on the ability of the police to strip-search suspects; R. v. Lyttlewhere the Supreme Court of Canada placed ethical limits on cross-examination; R. v. Richards, the first appellate case to argue racial profiling in Canada; R. v. Borde, where the Ontario Court of Appeal recognized that race is relevant in assessing sentence; and, R. v. Moore-McFarlane where the Ontario Court of Appeal held that the failure to video-tape a confession is a relevant factor in assessing admissibility.


Other legal expert interviewees include:

  • The Honourable Justice Ian Binnie (former Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada)
  • The Honourable Justice Frank Iacobucci (former Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada)
  • The Honourable Roy McMurtry (Former Chief Justice of the Ontario Court of Appeal, and key participant in the drafting of The Charter)
  • R. Douglas Elliott (counsel at the Supreme Court of Canada on the Reference Re Same Sex Marriage decision)
  • Senator Jerry Grafstein (advisor to Prime Minister Trudeau when The Charter was drafted)
  • John Whyte   (Constitutional advisor in the Government of Saskatchewan during the years leading up to the patriation of the Constitution)
  • Jean Teillet (Aboriginal rights litigator)
  • André Marin (Ombudsman of Ontario)
  • Patrick Ducharme (Criminal Lawyer, Ducharme Fox LLP)
  • Jill D. Makepeace (Criminal Lawyer, Greenspan Humphrey Lavine Barristers)
  • Windsor Law Professors: W.A. Bogart, Emir Crowne, Bruce Elman, Laverne Jacobs, and Jasminka Kalajdzic.




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