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On Responsible Scholarship: A Reply to Stepan Wood, Meinhard Doelle, and Dayna Scott September 8, 2020

Accusations of irresponsible scholarship are a serious matter, and they have an even graver dimension when they give the appearance of being framed and timed so as to attempt to interfere with academic contributions to a major public debate.  In this post, I address a recent paper by Stepan Wood, Meinhard Doelle, and Dayna Scott attempting to challenge my well-known ...

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Deconstructing Quebec’s “Shocking” Bill 61

The Quebec legislature has been considering Bill 61 to “restart” the province’s economy in the wake of its initial easing of lockdown measures. The government of Quebec imposed the lockdown on March 13 under the emergency provisions of the Public Health Act. Bill 61 essentially circumvents these provisions of the Public Health Act. This Act would not be formally amended, but the more specific and recent provisions of Bill 61 would override its ...

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Nothing to Declare: Part II

This is the second of a two-part essay written by Professor Maxime St-Hilaire and Xavier Foccroulle Ménard. Part I can be read here. Assessment of the Fourth Argument on British, Australian and New Zealand Law While not convincing, we find the comparative argument to have more weight, and this despite the following clarification. Grégoire Webber, Eric Mendelshon and Robert Leckey give two examples taken from Australian law: that of the Human ...

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Nothing to Declare: A Response to Grégoire Webber, Eric Mendelsohn, Robert Leckey and Léonid Sirota on the Effects of the Notwithstanding Clause

The following is the first in a two-part series. Part II will be published next week. Introduction In the wake of the legal challenge to Quebec’s law on state secularism,[1] Professor Grégoire Webber, lawyer Eric Mendelsohn and Dean Robert Leckey jointly published a post in which they argue that the invocation of the “notwithstanding clause” in s.33 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not preclude a court from making a declaration on ...

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The Constitutional Basis for Judicial Review in Canada

In the wake of the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Vavilov, I’ve decided to pick up a copy of A.V. Dicey’s Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution. I had read passages from this book more than a decade ago when I was in law school, but very little since beyond the odd paragraph. Dicey’s book is valuable primarily as a historical work. It lays ...

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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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