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Alberta Law Review to Publish “Watertight Compartments”

I am very pleased to report that my paper, “Watertight Compartments: Getting Back to the Constitutional Division of Powers,” has been selected for publication in the upcoming edition of the Alberta Law Review. In this paper I argue that ss. 91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867 (formerly the B.N.A. Act, 1867) establish mutually exclusive jurisdictional spheres – what the Privy ...

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Runnymede Society Student Leadership Conference – Call for Applications

Current law students (both in Canadian law schools and Canadians at international law schools who intend to return to Canada to practice law) are invited to apply to the second annual Runnymede Society Student Leadership Conference, to be held at Horseshoe Resort in Barrie, Ontario on August 18-20, 2017. This stimulating weekend will include seminar-style legal discussions, chapter leader training, ...

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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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The Advocates’ Quarterly Publishes “The Paradoxical Presumption of Constitutionality”

The Advocates’ Quarterly, a Canadian Journal for Practitioners of Civil Litigation, has published my paper, “The Paradoxical Presumption of Constitutionality” in its March 2017 edition. The paper, which was also published on this website, argues that the presumption of constitutionality has entered a paradoxical state, in that it simultaneously applies to one part of the Constitution (the division of powers ...

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Vriend v Alberta Revisited: A Road to Constitutional or Judicial Supremacy?

The Supreme Court of Canada  has on numerous occasions insisted upon the primacy of the written text of the Constitution.[1] In the Reference Re Secession of Quebec, the Supreme Court explained that the recognition of underlying constitutional principles “could not be taken as an invitation to dispense with the written text of the Constitution”. It noted that “[a] written constitution ...

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Introducing Runnymede Radio

The Runnymede Society launched its new podcast Runnymede Radio today. Runnymede Radio features conversations with leading scholars, judges, and legal thinkers. Some of the first guests include Chief Justice Glenn Joyal of the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench, Dr. Leonid Sirota of the award-winning Double Aspect Blog, and Professor Jordan Peterson of the University of Toronto. The podcast is available ...

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