The Democratic Resilience of the Canadian Constitution

Constitutional Democracy in Crisis? (Mark Graber, Sanford Levinson and Mark Tushnet, eds., Oxford University Press 2018, Forthcoming)

19 Pages Posted: 21 Dec 2017 Last revised: 27 Jan 2018

See all articles by Richard Albert

Richard Albert

University of Texas at Austin - School of Law; Yale University - Law School; University of Toronto - Faculty of Law; Universidad Externado de Colombia - Facultad de Derecho; Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliyah - Radzyner School of Law

Michael Pal

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section

Date Written: December 18, 2017

Abstract

In this Chapter prepared for the Oxford volume on “Constitutional Democracy in Crisis?” edited by Mark Graber, Sanford Levinson and Mark Tushnet, we advance three categories of institutional explanations for the resilience of Canadian constitutional democracy in the face of the increasingly global phenomenon of democratic decline. First, we show that Canada’s choice to chart its own unique course in the debate pitting presidentialism and parliamentarism has borne the fruits of democracy. Second, we demonstrate that Canada’s robust “democracy branch” has been both a source and driver of its democratic resilience. Third, we illustrate how the Supreme Court of Canada has managed to issue highly political and quite controversial decisions without becoming perceived as a partisan institution — making it an overtly political but not politicized institution. The upshot of our inquiry is that constitutional design — and not political culture alone — has been critical in reinforcing the democratic resilience of the Canadian Constitution. We conclude with some long-term challenges that we view as significant, despite Canada’s relatively enviable position among the countries of the world in our day.

Keywords: Constitutional Democracy, Separation of Powers, Democratic Decline, Presidentialism, Parliamentarism, Democratic Resilience, Democracy Branch, Fourth Branch, Supreme Court of Canada, Constitution of Canada, Electoral Management Bodies, Elections Canada, Constitutional Design, Independent Agencies

Suggested Citation

Albert, Richard and Pal, Michael, The Democratic Resilience of the Canadian Constitution (December 18, 2017). Constitutional Democracy in Crisis? (Mark Graber, Sanford Levinson and Mark Tushnet, eds., Oxford University Press 2018, Forthcoming). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3089941 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3089941

Richard Albert (Contact Author)

University of Texas at Austin - School of Law ( email )

727 East Dean Keeton Street
Austin, TX 78705
United States
512.213.1113 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://law.utexas.edu/faculty/richard-albert

Yale University - Law School

127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.yale.edu

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 and 84 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.utoronto.ca

Universidad Externado de Colombia - Facultad de Derecho

Calle 12 # 1-17 este
Calle 12 0 83
Bogota D.C, Cundinamarca 3456
Colombia

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.uexternado.edu.co/derecho/

Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliyah - Radzyner School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 167
Herzliya, 46150
Israel

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.idc.ac.il/en/schools/law/pages/home.aspx

Michael Pal

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Street
Ottawa, K1N 6N5
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://www.commonlaw.uottawa.ca/index.php?option=com_contact&task=view&contact_id=799&Itemid=151

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