Call for Papers for the 2016 Conference on Emerging Issues in Canadian Public Law

May 25, 2016, 8h00 – 13h00
12102 Desmarais Hall, 50 Laurier Avenue East, Ottawa
Organized by the Public Law Group, University of Ottawa

Following on successful Emerging Issues in Canadian Public Law conferences since 2011, planning is now underway to host the sixth annual conference.  As before, our intention is to highlight the importance of public law issues in Canada, and the strength and depth of public law interest and expertise in Ottawa. We also hope to include speakers from outside Ottawa, as well as from Common Law, Civil Law and the Department of Justice. 

For the 2016 Emerging Issues conference, we have decided to focus on two themes:

  1. Reforming our institutions -- Reforming our institutions was a major theme in the recent election and Speech from the Throne. What sort of Senate should we have? Should we abolish the Senate? How should we elect our House of Commons? What measures should be taken to enhance the fairness and protect the integrity of the electoral process? Moreover, institutional reform discussions extend beyond the legislature. Is our current monarchical system out-dated? Should the conventional rules that govern so much of what the executive can and cannot do be written down and made available to the public? How can we meaningfully increase government transparency and accountability? Are there other institutional reform issues that need to be discussed? What role will Indigenous peoples and Indigenous political collectivities play in institutional reform? Where do Indigenous institutions fit in the reform process?
  2. Cooperative federalism and beyond -- The Supreme Court of Canada has for some time subscribed to what it refers to as “cooperative federalism”. In the recent case AG Quebec v. AG Canada, 2015 SCC 14, the Court divided on the implications of the term. Has cooperative federalism reached its limits? If so, how should we describe those limits? Or is cooperative federalism a work in progress? If so, what components are most in need of elaboration and/or refinement? How do we conceive of a model of cooperative federalism that includes cooperation with Indigenous peoples and Indigenous political collectivities?

These two themes each raise distinct, important public law issues, but we are also very open to crosscutting takes on these themes.

Please feel free to suggest papers on Emerging Issues that do not necessarily fall within our suggested themes.  It is possible that we will adjust the themes, and in any event, suggestions that are not taken up this year may be explored and taken up with proposers in subsequent years.

Please set out a half-page description of your proposal and send it to by Friday, January 15, 2016 at the latest.  Please keep in mind that presentations will be approximately 10-15 minutes.  Written papers will be expected by mid-May. They will be published on the Public Law Group website as part of a Working Paper series that may lead to publication, either in the National Journal of Constitutional Law or, if appropriate, in book form.  We would welcome hearing from you if you are interested in the Working Paper series, even if you are not interested in giving a paper at the Conference.

If you have any questions, about the Conference or about the Public Law Group, please feel free to speak to any of the members of the Organizing Committee.  We look forward to hearing from you.


The Organizing Committee

Angela Cameron
Yan Campagnolo
Peter Oliver

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