HomeTag Archives: originalism

Tag Archives: originalism

The Original Meaning of Military Law

Advocates for the Rule of Law returned to the Supreme Court of Canada last month in the Stillman and Beaudry appeals to make important submissions on the topic of stare decisis. I attended with my co-counsel, Adam Goldenberg and Peter Grbac. Mr. Goldenberg’s oral submissions were stellar and the panel kept him up for an additional few minutes to ask him ...

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Unearthing Canadian Originalism: Reflections on my Conversation with Justice Stratas

Earlier this month, I had the true privilege of taking part in a discussion with Justice David Stratas of the Federal Court of Appeal, who is one of Canada’s most prominent jurists, on the subject of statutory and constitutional interpretation. The conversation was part of the Runnymede Society’s annual Law & Freedom Conference. Justice Stratas and I covered a lot ...

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The Original “Living Tree”

One of the main arguments in Canada in favour of the “living tree” is that it has deep roots in our constitutional tradition. As the Supreme Court of Canada said in Reference Re Same Sex Marriage, the living tree is “one of the most fundamental principles of Canadian constitutional interpretation.”[1] The argument goes something like this: beginning with the famous ...

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Has the Supreme Court Moved Beyond the “Living Tree”?

One of the first things law students are taught is that our Constitution is a “living tree.”  The Supreme Court has said that the living tree doctrine, which holds that our Constitution must be capable of evolving to meet new social realities, is “one of the most fundamental principles of Canadian constitutional interpretation” (See Reference Re Same Sex Marriage, at ...

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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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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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Sirota Discusses Canada’s Dirty Little Secret: Originalism

Legal professor, proficient blogger, ARL contributor, and self-described “law nerd” Léonid  Sirota recently gave a talk at Université de Montréal on the subject of constitutional originalism. This well-received talk was hosted by the Runnymede Society and can be viewed here. Mr. Sirota’s talk was based upon two excellent papers that he co-wrote with Benjamin Oliphant, one of which has been published ...

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The Comeau Decision is a Welcome Example of Serious Doctrinal Analysis

Constitutional law and alcohol are forever linked. Many famous distribution of powers cases giving rise to new federalism doctrine were about alcohol. It should not be a surprise that we can now add another case to the list. R. v. Comeau, coming out of the New Brunswick Provincial Court, is a novel judicial meditation on Canadian federalism, specifically regarding the ...

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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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The Case for a Constrained Approach to Section 7

This article will appear in the upcoming edition of Law Matters, a publication of the Canadian Bar Association Introduction The consensus in the academic community when it comes to interpreting the Charter is that more is better. There is little debate that the Charter is a “living tree,” such that its meaning must “evolve” over time so that it “accommodates ...

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