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The Charter and Canada’s New Political Culture: Are We All Ambassadors Now?

On January 6, 2017, The Honourable Glenn D. Joyal, Chief Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Manitoba, gave the keynote address at the Canadian Constitution Foundation’s Law and Freedom Conference. The title of this stimulating and eloquent address was “The Charter and Canada’s New Political Culture:  Are We All Ambassadors Now?” Chief Justice Joyal discussed the roots of ...

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Garland Gets a Lump of Coal; So Does the Perception of SCOTUS

The United States presidential election of 2016 will be analyzed for decades if not centuries. Most of that analysis will concentrate on the two candidates, and their respective campaigns and supporters. But as far I am concerned, one of the greatest tragedies of the election was entirely attributable to the Republican-controlled Senate. I am speaking, of course, of the Chamber’s ...

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Parliament Should be Consulted on Military Deployments

It’s always easy to seek permission when you know you’ll get it. While not required to do so, the Liberals asked the House of Commons to vote recently on whether to ratify the Paris Agreement, an international climate change accord. In contrast, they do not intend to ask Parliament to approve their plan to send 600 soldiers to Africa on a ...

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Constraint and Candour

This article is written in response to Asher Honickman’s recent article, “Reaffirming the Case for Constraint.” Mr. Honickman will post a reply to this article shortly, which will also address Mr. Sirota’s comments in a previous response entitled “Seven’s Sins“. This article was originally published at Double Aspect, Mr. Sirota’s award-winning blog. Asher Honickman has posted a reply to my ...

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Reaffirming the Case for Constraint: A Reply to Léonid Sirota

Leonid Sirota has written two excellent articles in response to my essay, “The Case for a Constrained Approach to Section 7.” I am grateful for these pieces, firstly, because Mr. Sirota takes the view that my position is “largely misguided,” meaning that he endorses at least some of my views (though perhaps I am channelling Lloyd Christmas a bit on ...

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Election Promises and Marijuana Policy: What Federalism Has to Offer

Marijuana legalization has officially been announced by Health Minister Jane Philpott for spring of 2017 and the expected outcome, for now at least, is a federally-led initiative. This is the case because section 91(27) of the Constitution Act, 1867 provides Parliament with the power to legislate on issues coming within the purview of the criminal law. That said, if Parliament’s goal is to make marijuana accessible and remove it from the Controlled Drugs ...

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How to Do Constitutional Adjudication: A Response to Asher Honickman’s Take on the Judicial Role

This is the secondof two articles Mr. Sirota has written in response to Asher Honickman’s essay entitled “The Case for a Constrained Approach to Section 7.”  Mr. Honickman’s reply to follow.  This article was originally published at Double Aspect, Mr. Sirota’s award winning blog.   As I mentioned in my previous post, I would like to respond to a number of points ...

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Seven’s Sins? A Response to Asher Honickman’s Take on Section 7 of the Charter

This is the first of two articles Mr. Sirota has written in response to Asher Honickman’s essay entitled “The Case for a Constrained Approach to Section 7.” The second article will be published shortly, following which Mr. Honickman will publish a reply.   This article was originally published at Double Aspect, Mr. Sirota’s award winning blog.   In a very interesting essay written for ...

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Brexit and the Rule of Law

It took all of us by surprise, but Brexit is putatively happening. The leader of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker aptly deadpanned: Brexit would not be “an amicable divorce”, but “it wasn’t exactly a tight romance to begin with.” A slender democratic majority of UK residents (including foreign residents- well done, civic rights) voted on June 23rd to exit the ...

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The Supreme Court is Eroding the Bedrock Principle of Stare Decisis

There is an uneasy tension at the heart of Canada’s legal system between the inherent conservatism of our legal principles and the inherent liberalism of the actors tasked with applying them. Traditionally, Supreme Court of Canada decisions were final and binding on lower courts. Today, by the courts’ own doing, this bedrock principle is being eroded. Last week, Ontario’s highest ...

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