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Yearly Archives: 2017

Courts, Legislatures, and the Illusion of “Dialogue”

I.     WHAT IS A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT? It has been said that Constitutions are a “mirror reflecting the national soul”[1].  While these comments were made before the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter) came into effect, there is no reason to believe that the Charter, which focusses on a guaranteed set of civil liberties (Charter rights), should be any less ...

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ARL on Facebook

Advocates for the Rule of Law is now on Facebook.  As of the time of writing, our Facebook page has already been followed and liked by dozens of people. We thank everyone for their continued support. Stay tuned, as always, for more articles and other ARL activity. The Facebook page can be accessed here.

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The Legal Case Against the Khadr Settlement

Was the Government of Canada’s decision to settle with Omar Khadr for $10.5 million a pragmatic choice that saved the taxpayers millions in the long run? This is certainly what the government and some commentators would have us believe. If true, this would provide a sensible justification for the settlement. A multi-million dollar payout to an individual who previously participated ...

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The Courts are not Supreme Arbiters of Morality

In a post over at Slate, Omar Ha-Redye sets out what his title describes as “A Judicial Vision of Canada at 150 and Beyond“. The post is a rather rambling one, but insofar as I understand its overall purpose, it is meant to highlight the centrality of the Supreme Court to our constitutional framework, as illustrated in particular by the ...

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A Respectful Dissent from the Khadr Consensus

The case of Omar Khadr gives scholars a rare opportunity to question the fundamentals of public law damages. Such damages are notoriously difficult to quantify. As Lord Shaw once put it, “the restoration by way of compensation is therefore accomplished to a large extent by the exercise of a sound imagination and the practice of a broad axe.” This is ...

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Debating Human Rights with Professor Pardy

Recently, I had the pleasure of discussing and debating human rights law with Professor Bruce Pardy of my alma mater, Queen’s Law. The topic of the debate was Parliament’s Bill C-16, which amended the Canada Human Rights Act and Criminal Code, along with recent amendments to the Ontario Human Rights Code. The relevant amendments in both human rights statutes concern ...

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On Canada Day, Let’s Celebrate our Constitution

The Government of Canada has spent a considerable sum to promote “Canada 150” over the last few months, but it has done next to nothing to explain to Canadians what exactly it is we are celebrating. July 1 marks the date that the British North America Act, 1867 came into force. The B.N.A. Act, as it was commonly known, endowed Canada with its own ...

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The Courts Have No Jurisdiction to Review “Church Discipline”

Can a matter of church discipline be appealed from a church to a court? The question has made its way up to the Supreme Court of Canada in Wall v Judicial Committee of the Highwood Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. It may surprise you that it was answered in the affirmative by the chambers judge, Justice Wilson, and by a majority ...

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Alberta Law Review to Publish “Watertight Compartments”

I am very pleased to report that my paper, “Watertight Compartments: Getting Back to the Constitutional Division of Powers,” has been selected for publication in the upcoming edition of the Alberta Law Review. In this paper I argue that ss. 91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867 (formerly the B.N.A. Act, 1867) establish mutually exclusive jurisdictional spheres – what the Privy ...

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