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Wagner C.J. is the Prudent Choice

Today’s elevation of Justice Richard Wagner to the position of Chief Justice is a welcome development. Justice Wagner’s collegiality and moderation will serve him well in his new role. His dissenting judgment in Saskatchewan Federation of Labour is an excellent example of understanding the judicial role vis-a-vis s. 2(d) of the Charter. It is worth adding that the alleged “convention” ...

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On the Nomination of Justice Martin to the Supreme Court

Advocates for the Rule of Law congratulates Justice Sheilah L. Martin of the Alberta Court of Appeal on her nomination to the Supreme Court of Canada. Justice Martin’s academic and professional credentials to serve on the Supreme Court — including being a law dean, law professor, commercial litigator, pro bono constitutional lawyer, and very active member of the profession generally — ...

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Lawless Society of Upper Canada

The Law Society of Upper Canada (soon to be renamed something less historic), prepares to require its members ― of whom I am one ― to supply it with individual Statement[s] of Principles that acknowledge[] [our] obligation to promote equality, diversity and inclusion generally, and in [our] behaviour towards colleagues, employees, clients and the public. Bruce Pardy has written an ...

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The Supreme Court Must Choose Principle Over Politicization

Maxime St-Hilaire is a Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Sherbrooke. The following article is Professor St. Hilaire’s response to the question asked by the organizing committee of the Supreme Court of Canada Symposium: “In your opinion, what is the most important challenge facing the Supreme Court of Canada in the coming decades, and might it meet this ...

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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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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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Justice Abella is Wrong to Prioritize Human Rights Over the Separation of Powers

In a recent commencement address at Brandeis University, Justice Rosalie Abella of the Supreme Court took a stab at President Donald Trump. Decrying “narcissistic populism,” Justice Abella argued that a “shocking disrespect for the borders between power and its independent adjudicators like the press and the courts” defines the modern era.  This isn’t her first foray into political terrain. Last year, after receiving ...

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The Notwithstanding Clause is no Longer the Nuclear Option

Section 33 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms – better known as the “notwithstanding clause” – is one of the most controversial parts of the Canadian constitution. Despite being an integral part of the formation of the Charter, commentators such as Andrew Coyne have suggested that the provision is “dead letter” or “taboo”. But on Monday, Saskatchewan Premier ...

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The Perils of the Purposive Approach

The Supreme Court of Canada has repeatedly said that, in interpreting statutes, courts should undertake a unified textual, contextual and purposive approach. Under this approach “the words of an Act are to be read in their entire context and in their grammatical and ordinary sense harmoniously with the scheme of the Act, the object of the Act, and the intention ...

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