« Rights, Freedoms and Social Justice: What scope? What meaning? »

On January18th 2016, the Research Chair in Legal Pluralism and Comparative Law invites three keynote speakers to discuss the scope and the essence of people’s rights and freedoms. For Marie-Thérèse Toutant, this fight for liberty means a struggle with poverty and social marginalization. For Marc-Antoine Cloutier, it is about ensuring better access to justice through concrete measures. For Nadine Crookes, this battle concerns better understanding and respect for aboriginal peoples. Students attending the course “Rights and Freedoms” will be the privileged guests of this rich and dynamic conversation!

– Marie-Thérèse Toutant: Fighter, activist, irrepressible and energetic are terms that describe Marie-Thérèse Toutant from Sainte Julie in Montérégie. She made her life a fight to defend the rights of vulnerable members of society, more specifically people suffering from mental health problems and the homeless. She is involved in the field of homelessness. She helps people experiencing social exclusion take charge of their own citizenship by sharing their experience, knowledge and social vision. She has become active in the homeless community since her nomination as president of the Montreal Caregivers Group and the housing network “Chez Soi”, an organization on the south shore of Montreal. She is also a mother of four and has taken care of her husband who has suffered from schizophrenia over the past thirty years. In 2015, she received an award from the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse, for her exemplary lifelong commitment to human rights.


– Me Marc-Antoine Cloutier: Partner in the Deveau law firm, he works in the fields of agricultural law, partnerships, corporate law, municipal law, as well as civil and commercial litigation. Me Cloutier has been quite active within the agricultural sector and community organizations, such as the legal clinic Juripop, which he founded in 2009. He employs this activism to develop successful and tailored strategies for municipalities, companies, organisms, administrators, business people and farmers who contact him. In 2015 he received a distinction from the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse, for his exemplary lifelong commitment to human rights. Me Cloutier has been a finalist in the “Gens de Coeur” Manuvie (2013) competition, as well as, the Arista of the Young Montreal Chamber of Commerce competition. He won the competition “Je prends ma place” of the Secrétariat d’action de la jeunesse (2012). In addition, in 2010, his Juripop team, placed first in the “Paix, Entraide et Justice” category of the Force Avenir organization.


– Nadine Crookes: Nadine Crookes is an Ahousaht First Nations member, which forms part of the larger Nuu-chah-nulth Tribe on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Nadine holds a Masters of Arts in Leadership from the Royal Roads University. Since 2001, Nadine has worked for Parks Canada in a variety of capacities in both field operations and in national policy development. She is the current director of administration for Aboriginal Affairs. Her team is responsible for providing strategic advice and leadership to assist the Agency in building trust and meaningful relationships with Aboriginal partners. Most notably, in the domains of engagement, consultation and treaty negotiations.

image N. Crookes