Going Global? Canada As Importer and Exporter of Constitutional Thought
Canada In The World: Comparative Perspectives On The Canadian Constitution, Richard Albert and David R. Cameron, eds., Cambridge University Press, 2017
16 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2017
Date Written: March 18, 2017
In this chapter I assess the transformation of Canada’s stature as “giver” and as “taker” of constitutional thought. With respect to the former aspect, Canada has become a global powerhouse and a household name in comparative constitutional law. This is reflected, inter alia, in patterns of foreign reference to Canadian sources and by the extensive engagement with Canadian constitutional ideas by scholars and policy-makers overseas. In the chapter’s first part, I examine the main reasons for this stunning transformation. To a lesser degree, the cosmopolitan trend is also reflected in patterns of engagement with comparative constitutional materials in Canada. In that respect, in addition to the formal one, the Canadian constitution has indeed been repatriated. I conclude in the third part by suggesting that while the contemporary Canadian constitutional sphere is engaging with comparative constitutional thought in the area of rights and liberties, the comparative turn has not, by and large, penetrated the discourse concerning some of Canada’s structural or organic constitutional failings. In that sense, the promise of comparative constitutional inquiry has largely fallen short of making a meaningful contribution to the advancement of a sophisticated, well-informed discourse about constitutional renewal in early 21st century Canada.
Keywords: Canadian constitution, Supreme Court, constitutional law, comparative constitutional law, constitutional renewal
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