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A Citizen’s Guide to the Rule of Law

The following is an excerpt from the author’s chapter in Constitutional Democracy Under Stress – A Time For Heroic Citizenship, Peter L. Biro (ed.), forthcoming from Mosaic Press, Oakville, Canada The Rule of Law entails the existence of a legal framework, binding at all times on the government and also on individuals in at least some of their interactions with ...

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Constitutional Democracy Under Stress: Developing A Resistance To Unaccountable Government

One of the litmus tests of the legitimacy of any government that presides over a “democracy”, is the extent to which it is genuinely and adequately accountable to its citizens.  While this may seem a trite observation, it has sadly become normal, within so-called democratic societies, to find governments that are wanting in the accountability department.  In Ontario, for example, ...

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Deconstructing Section 28

Professor Kerri Froc has written a thoughtful guest post for Double Aspect, in which she argues that s. 28 of the Charter is not merely an interpretive provision, but is rather a substantive and justiciable section in its own right. The implication if she is correct should not be understated. Section 28 states: Notwithstanding anything in this Charter, the rights ...

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Deference to Administrators Must be Legislated not Assumed

Earlier this month, Mark Mancini wrote two very thoughtful blog posts on the Double Aspect blog, attempting to bring administrative law back to first principles. These intriguing posts are worthy of commentary. I will respond to Mancini’s two posts today, and follow up next week with an addendum in light of the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent decision in Canada ...

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Abdicating Legislative Power: The Carbon Tax Case

If there is one aspect of Canadian administrative law that is relatively understudied, it is the constitutionality (or, less ambitiously, the desirability) of the delegation of legislative power from Parliament to the Cabinet and administrative actors. The recent Saskatchewan Carbon Tax Reference puts into stark relief the underdeveloped nature of the law in this area, and the stakes underlying the ...

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Our Pythic Judges: SNC-Lavalin

In Ancient Greece, travelers from far and wide descended upon the Oracle at Delphi. Known collectively as the Pythia, these priestesses or women of Delphi, over generations, provided advice and counsel to anyone wishing to seek it. The Pythia were thought to channel the god Apollo. As the mythology of the Pythia grew, with kings, leaders, and leaders of armies ...

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The Problem with Prosecutorial Independence in Canada

As has been widely reported, the PMO has been embroiled in a scandal over the last two weeks for allegedly exerting pressure upon its former Attorney General, Jody Wilson-Raybould, regarding the prosecution of SNC Lavalin.  Precisely what occurred remains unknown, and contrary to many social media commentators, we are not going to give our opinion on what may or may ...

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Substantive Equality: Some People are More Equal Than Others

Double Aspect, the law blog of Leonid Sirota and Mark Mancini, recently hosted The 12 Days of Christmas, in which contributors offered their picks for the five worst public law Supreme Court of Canada decisions between 1967 and 2017. My list included Andrews, which I criticized for starting the mess that the Supreme Court has made of section 15(1) of ...

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In Defence of Substantive Equality

In a guest post on the Double Aspect Blog over the Christmas break, Professor Bruce Pardy (Queen’s Law) picked the Supreme Court’s decision in Andrews as one of the worst decisions since 1967. While I believe Professor Pardy offered some important criticisms of the Court in his post, I must respectfully disagree with his attack on the Andrews decision and ...

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Unearthing Canadian Originalism: Reflections on my Conversation with Justice Stratas

Earlier this month, I had the true privilege of taking part in a discussion with Justice David Stratas of the Federal Court of Appeal, who is one of Canada’s most prominent jurists, on the subject of statutory and constitutional interpretation. The conversation was part of the Runnymede Society’s annual Law & Freedom Conference. Justice Stratas and I covered a lot ...

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