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Articles on Canadian Constitution

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Left to right, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, Finance Minister Allan MacEachen and Québec Premier René Lévesque attend the constitutional conference in Ottawa on Nov. 5, 1981 — the morning after eight premiers hastily pieced together a constitutional accord. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ron Poling

Canada inked a landmark constitutional accord 40 years ago — and it’s still causing problems

The constitutional reform agreement reached in November 1981 has produced a bitterness in national relations that lingers to this day and imposes on Canada a cost that has weakened the nation.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney gives a COVID-19 update in Edmonton in September 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Why Alberta lacks a mandate to reopen Canada’s Constitution

Given low levels of turnout and high levels of “no” support in urban areas, Alberta lacks a clear mandate to press for changes to Canada’s Constitution after its equalization referendum.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks as Ontario Premier Doug Ford listens at a groundbreaking event at a gold mine in 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Doug Ford uses the notwithstanding clause for political benefit

Ontario has historically been the province in Confederation most concerned about buoying Ottawa and limiting its own relative power for the sake of national unity. Doug Ford puts that legacy at risk.
Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau speaks during a dramatic meeting with the entire federal cabinet and a delegation of about 200 First Nations leaders on Parliament Hill in Ottawa in 1970. THE CANADIAN PRESS/R. Mac

Pierre Trudeau’s failures on Indigenous rights tarnish his legacy

How did a national leader whose animating political spirit was protecting human rights come to adopt a passive acceptance of Canada’s worst face of colonialism?
Worried about another 1980s-style constitutional crisis? Don’t be. There may be less than meets the eye to Québec Premier François Legault’s recent constitutional proposals. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

What’s behind Québec’s latest, and largely superficial, constitutional gambit

Québec Premier François Legault’s recent constitutional proposals have caused alarm. But it’s largely a game aimed at finding common ground between federalist and separatist voters in the province.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen with Québec Premier Francois Legault in December 2018 at the opening of a first ministers’ meeting. Legault has accused Trudeau of insulting Québecers because of the federal Court Challenges Program. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Canadians are entitled to legal help to protect their Charter rights

Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms doesn’t mean much if it can’t be enforced. That’s why the Court Challenges Program is so important — no matter what the Québec premier says.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s threat to wield the notwithstanding clause reveals flaws in Canada’s Constitution in terms of how municipalities are completely unprotected. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Ford’s fight with Toronto shows legal vulnerability of cities

Ontario’s recent threat to use the notwithstanding clause to reduce the size of Toronto’s city council is a reminder that municipalities have little protection under the Constitution.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford speaks to reporters in Toronto on Sept. 10, 2018, after announcing he’ll invoke the notwithstanding clause in his battle to shrink Toronto city council. Is Ford taking on the “Court Party?” THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov.

Doug Ford’s attack on the ‘Court Party’

Doug Ford’s wielding of the notwithstanding clause is part of a broader opposition to judicial activism that has developed among right-wing politicians and academics in the post-Charter era.

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