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The Limits of a Culture of Justification

In Vavilov, the Supreme Court of Canada held that, to the extent possible, the law of judicial review should “develop and strengthen a culture of justification in administrative decision making” (Vavilov, at para 2). What is this culture of justification as adopted in Vavilov? It asks decision-makers to ensure that their exercise of delegated public power can be justified to ...

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Quebec’s Bill 96 is an Unconstitutional Attempt to Amend the Constitution of Canada

Section 159 of the current Quebec bill on “the official and common language of Quebec, French” intends to amend the Constitution Act, 1867 by introducing in it what follows: FUNDAMENTAL CHARACTERISTICS OF QUEBEC90Q.1. Quebecers form a nation.90Q.2. French is the only official language of Québec. It is also the common language of the Quebec nation. This scheme has been referred ...

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Non-Delegation and the Constitution of Liberty

Justice Côté’s partial dissenting reasons in References re Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, 2021 SCC 11 offered an original interpretation of the Constitution Act, 1867 that challenges the conventional view on the Parliament of Canada’s authority to enact Henry VIII clauses. A Henry VIII clause is a statutory provision that delegates to the executive the power to amended an enabling ...

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Law, Liberty and the Pursuit of the Common Good

There is a lively debate afoot in legal circles, both in the United States and now in Canada, on the “common good.” It began with Adrian Vermeule’s call for a “common good constitutionalism,” in which vague provisions would be infused with values drawn from the Catholic natural law tradition. Many others have now adopted the “common good” moniker, though it ...

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The Common Good in Legal Interpretation: A Response to Leonid Sirota and Mark Mancini

A renaissance of interest and juristic thinking about the moral foundations of the law and legal reasoning is underway, and its reverberations have now reached Canadian shores. On February 22, Leonid Sirota and Mark Mancini published a post on the Double Aspect Blog entitled “Interpretation and the Value of Law”.[1] Although the post itself merely claims to show “[w]hy the ...

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Moving to Strike

I recently went on the Runnymede Radio podcast to discuss how the law on motions to strike pleadings to determine novel questions of law may be changing after decisions from the Supreme Court of Canada earlier this year in Nevsun Resources Ltd v Araya (“Nevsun”) and Atlantic Lottery Corp Inc v Babstock (“Atlantic Lottery”). In this blog post, I briefly ...

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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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Destabilizing the Doctrine: A Critique of Uber v. Heller

Under Uber's standard form contract, all disputes were subject to mandatory mediation and arbitration in the Netherlands with an upfront fee of US $14,500, representing most of a driver's annual salary.

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A Textualist Critique of Bostock

The Supreme Court of the United State’s recent decision in Bostock v. Clayton Country, Georgia has already elicited a great deal of controversy and scholarly commentary. I typically refrain from commenting on U.S. decisions as I am not an expert on U.S. law. However, the decision in Bostock turned entirely on the principles of statutory interpretation, which has long been an interest of mine. What makes ...

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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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