Massey Dialogues — The Toronto G20: Where are We Ten Years Later?

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Massey Dialogues — The Toronto G20: Where are We Ten Years Later?

Thursday, June 25 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT

It has been ten years since Canada saw the largest mass arrests in its history during the weekend that Toronto hosted world leaders for a G20 Summit. The G20 weekend was a turbulent one that exposed how vulnerable Canada is to serious restrictions on fundamental civil liberties like the right to protest. The weekend also demonstrated that police powers could be used and abused with minimal accountability. What has been learned in the ten years since the Toronto G20? How does the future of protest in Canada look? This panel discussion will explore these questions in an informal and interactive format.

Massey College Principal Nathalie Des Rosiers — former General Counsel for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) — will moderate this conversation with Cara Zwibel, Director of CCLA’s Fundamental Freedoms Program, Murray Klippenstein, a Toronto litigator who is representing the plaintiffs in the G20 class action and has litigated a number of significant police powers and protest cases that came out of the G20, and Basil Alexander from the Faculty of Law at the University of New Brunswick, who spent several years practising at a public interest and social justice law firm in Toronto before returning to academia.


Click here to tune in to the livestream. This event is open to the public – no registration is required. We invite everyone to join and take part in what will be a very informative online discussion. Participants are welcome to submit questions to the speakers in real time via the youtube channel’s chat function. For information about the Massey Dialogues salon series, click here.


Cara Zwibel is Director of the Fundamental Freedoms Program at the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, where her work focuses on freedom of expression, freedom of religion, the right to protest, and democratic rights. Cara was called to the Ontario bar in 2005. She has a political science degree from McGill University and law degrees from Osgoode Hall Law School (LL.B.) and New York University (LL.M.). Her work with CCLA involves providing legal opinions and research, coordinating litigation and interventions, representing CCLA before the courts, preparing submissions to legislative bodies and assisting with the public education work done by the Canadian Civil Liberties Education Trust.


Basil Alexander is Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of New Brunswick.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts & Science (Honours) from McMaster University, a Bachelor of Laws (Co-op) and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Victoria, and a Master of Laws from the University of Toronto. During law school, he worked for the judges of the Nunavut Court of Justice and with Woodward & Company on Indigenous issues and litigation. His Master of Laws thesis and professional experience forms the foundation for his work regarding demonstrations and the law. His PhD (Queen`s University, in progress) focuses on Canadian cause lawyering (i.e. how lawyers work with and support social causes). Before returning to academia, Basil spent several years practising at a public interest and social justice law firm in Toronto, where he participated as a team member during the Ipperwash Inquiry (for the Estate of Dudley George and George family members) and during the early stages of the Toronto G20 class action.


Murrray Klippenstein has practiced as a public interest organizational and litigation lawyer in Toronto for three decades, founding his own small law firm twenty years ago.  Murray has represented clients and organizations in the fields of Indigenous law, environmental law, civil rights, affordable housing, international human rights, and other areas.  Murray has for many years represented an indigenous Cree Tribal Council in the far north James Bay area of Ontario in defending their indigenous and Treaty rights on issues arising from mining and forestry in their ancestral territory.  Murray is also lead litigation counsel in a ground-breaking international human rights lawsuit against international Canadian mining company Hudbay Minerals, on behalf of a group of indigenous Mayan individuals in Guatemala, for alleged gang rapes and murder at the Hudbay mine there.  Murray is currently co-lead litigation counsel in a class action for approximately 1,000 protestors and citizens who were detained by Toronto Police in wrongful mass arrests during the 2010 G-20 Economic Summit in Toronto.

Murray has received many awards for his human rights work from the labour union, Indigenous and academic sectors.  He has twice been named by Canadian Lawyer Magazine in their annual survey as one of the Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers in Canada.


Nathalie Des Rosiers became the 6th Principal of Massey College on August 1, 2019. From 2016-2019, she was a Member of Provincial Parliament for Ottawa-Vanier in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Prior to entering politics, she was the Dean of the Faculty of Law, Common Law Section, at the University of Ottawa (2013-2016). Her areas of expertise are constitutional law and women’s rights. She also served as the General Counsel for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA), a national organization that acts as a watchdog for the protection of human rights and civil liberties in Canada, from 2009 to 2013. In that capacity, she appeared in front of Parliament and various legislative bodies to defend the rule of law and constitutional protections. The CCLA is also an intervener in front of all levels of courts in Canada.

Prior to her appointment to the CCLA, Ms. Des Rosiers was Interim Vice-President – Governance for the University of Ottawa (2008-2009), Dean of the Civil Law Section, University of Ottawa (2004-2008), and President of the Law Commission of Canada (2000- 2004). She has been in private practice in Montreal and London, Ontario and was professor of law at Western Law School for many years. She was a member of the Environmental Appeal Board of Ontario, of the Pay Equity Board of Ontario, a Commissioner of the Ontario Law Reform Commission and a Board member of the Law Commission of Ontario. She also served as the President of the Federation of Social Sciences and Humanities, President of the Council of Law Deans, President of the Canadian Association of Law Teachers and of the Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Ontario.

Ms. Des Rosiers has received many honours, including the Order of Canada in 2013, the Order of Ontario in 2012, an Honorary Doctorate from the UCL (Université catholique de Louvain) in Belgium in 2012, an Honorary Doctorate from the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Medal from the Law Society of Upper Canada, the NUPGE Award, the APEX Partnership Award and was named one of Canada’s 25 most influential lawyers in both 2011 and 2012 and the Personality of the Year -Education (Radio-Canada – Law) in 2004. She holds a law degree from the Université de Montréal, a master’s degree from Harvard Law School and she is a member of the Quebec and Upper Canada Bars. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.