Constitution and Strategy: Understanding Canadian Power in the World

96 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2009

See all articles by Irvin Studin

Irvin Studin

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School

Date Written: February 19, 2009


In this article, Irvin Studin provides a wide-ranging audit of Canada's Constitution, broadly defined, to distill an original picture of Canadian strategic power in the world. Whereas Canadian constitutional scholarship and jurisprudence are typically rooted in considerations of federalism and Charter rights, this article attempts to usher in a 'third school' of Canadian constitutional discourse exercised by the relationship between the Constitution and strategy - that is, the ways in which the Constitution explains and informs the federal state's capacity to pursue strategic interests in the world. The said audit focuses on the constitutional treatment of the diplomatic and military instruments of the Canadian state, as well as the constitutional treatment of key 'factors of strategic power' like executive efficiency, natural resources, the economy and the national population - factors of power that impact the potency of the diplomatic and military instruments. The audit centers around what Studin calls Canada's Strategic Constitution, and issues in a determination that while Canada was not, at its constitutional genesis, made to project strategic power in the world, and while Canada lacks a deep jurisprudential culture of strategic affairs, the federal state indeed has significant strategic capacity; that is, Canada's Constitution suggests considerable Canadian strategic power, even if policy-political praxis does not necessarily translate this theoretical constitutional capacity into on-the-ground outcomes.

Keywords: Canadian Constitution, Strategy, Power, Foreign Affairs

JEL Classification: K10, K30

Suggested Citation

Studin, Irvin, Constitution and Strategy: Understanding Canadian Power in the World (February 19, 2009). CLPE Research Paper No. 4/2009. Available at SSRN: or

Irvin Studin (Contact Author)

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3

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