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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 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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There are Problems with Personal Injury Law, but Bill 103 is not the Answer

Personal injury litigation has come under the microscope over the last few months. Numerous articles have been written criticizing the conduct of personal injury lawyers, specifically with regard to advertising and fees. Most recently, MPP Michael Colle has put forward a private member’s bill that would require every personal injury advertisement to be approved by the Law Society, cap contingency ...

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Coercion or Consent: A Response to Honickman’s Review of Ecolawgic

I am grateful to Asher Honickman for his engaging and thought-provoking review of my book, Ecolawgic: The Logic of Ecosystems and the Rule of Law.  I expected nothing less: Honickman was one of the sharpest and most engaging students in the property class that he mentions having taken with me in his first year of law school. In this comment, ...

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Why I am Not a Conservative Either: Thoughts on Chief Justice Joyal’s Address

Glenn D. Joyal, Chief Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Manitoba, gave the keynote address at last January Canadian Constitution Foundation’s recent Law and Freedom Conference. His talk, “The Charter and Canada’s New Political Culture: Are We All Ambassadors Now?”, was interesting and thought-provoking. Although the prepared text has been available on the website of Advocates for the Rule ...

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Parting with Pardy: A Review of Ecolawgic

Professor Bruce Pardy has written an enjoyable and thought-provoking book entitled Ecolawgic: The Logic of Ecosystems and the Rule of Law. He argues from a familiar libertarian perspective, but his thesis is original in that he compares markets to ecosystems. His argument is summed up nicely in the abstract to the full text on SSRN as follows: Ecosystems contain their own immutable logic: ...

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Ecolawgic: The Logic of Ecosystems and the Rule of Law

The following is an excerpt from Professor Bruce Pardy’s book, Ecolawgic: The Logic of Ecosystems and the Rule of Law. The footnotes from the original version have been omitted. The full text can be accessed here. Bruce Pardy is Professor of Law at Queen’s University. He has written extensively on a wide range of legal topics, taught at law schools ...

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Judge Gorsuch’s Consequential Views on Administrative Law

Many of Donald Trump’s actions during his first weeks as President have understandably unsettled much of the world. However, there are already hopeful signs that they will be resisted by some combination of public protest, the courts, and/or, at the very least, his successor. So the recent nomination of 49-year old Court of Appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch to the United ...

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Still Playing Favourites: Some Objections to the Court Challenges Program

The federal government has officially announced that it is bringing back the Court Challenges  Program, which provides money to individuals or groups who pursue litigation in which they assert certain constitutional or quasi-constitutional rights. In comparison with past iterations, the program will subsidize claims based on a broader range of rights ― not only equality and language rights under the ...

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