HomeTag Archives: division of powers

Tag Archives: division of powers

A Conversation on Comeau

This informal discussion between myself, Asher Honickman and Professor Malcolm Lavoie is owed, first of all, to a mea culpa. It’s a transcription of a discussion that was meant to be a podcast, but due to a recording issue wasn’t captured correctly. Since Asher, Malcolm and I agreed the discussion was useful and worth preserving, we’ve decided to present it ...

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Comeau is a Casualty of Confused Doctrine

The Supreme Court delivered a bizarre decision last week in R.v. Comeau. By way of background, Comeau concerned the interpretation of s.121 of the Constitution Act, 1867, which states: “All Articles of the Growth, Produce, or Manufacture of any one of the Provinces shall, from and after the Union, be admitted free into each of the other Provinces.” The issue for the Court was ...

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The Myth of Sovereign Provincial Legislatures: Canada’s Federal Crown Beyond Provincial Control

Following the adoption of the British North America Act 1867, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (the “Privy Council”) went to great pains to give full effect to the written text of the Canadian Constitution. In doing so, it emphasized the sovereignty of the federal and provincial orders of government. While the Supreme Court of Canada (the “Supreme Court”) ...

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A Province Cannot Shut Down anti-Abortion Expression

This summer, the Ontario government conducted consultations regarding its plan to enact “safe access zones legislation” (SAZL) modeled on British Columbia’s. I’ll give a brief background on B.C.’s law before diving into a division of powers argument against enacting such a law in Ontario. In short, I will argue that just as a province cannot enact a penal prohibition on ...

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“Watertight Compartments” Has Now Been Published

I am pleased to announce that my paper, “Watertight Compartments: Getting Back to the Constitutional Division of Powers” has now been published in the Alberta Law Review. Per the abstract: This article offers a fresh examination of the constitutional division of powers. The author argues that sections 91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867 establish exclusive jurisdictional spheres — ...

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The Courts are not Supreme Arbiters of Morality

In a post over at Slate, Omar Ha-Redye sets out what his title describes as “A Judicial Vision of Canada at 150 and Beyond“. The post is a rather rambling one, but insofar as I understand its overall purpose, it is meant to highlight the centrality of the Supreme Court to our constitutional framework, as illustrated in particular by the ...

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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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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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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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Parliament’s Post: The City of Hamilton Cannot Regulate Community Mailboxes

Recently, the Ontario Court of Appeal in Canada Post Corporation v Hamilton (City)[1] had an opportunity to revisit the doctrine of federal paramountcy in the context of the most exciting of subjects: community mailboxes. Below, I briefly review the facts of the case, and argue that the case should have been decided on the grounds of validity rather than operability. ...

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