Common Law Professors Weigh in on SCC’s Senate Reference

Posted on Monday, May 11, 2015

Several of Common Law’s prominent constitutional law experts, including Adam DodekCarissima Mathenand Errol Mendes, have been inundated with media requests to comment on the Supreme Court of Canada`s Senate reference ruling on April 25, 2014.

The Supreme Court`s unanimous decision declared, among other things, that any proposed changes to the Senate would require the consent of the Provinces.  The decision seemingly puts a halt to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s bid to unilaterally overhaul the Upper Chamber.

“What’s surprising is both the clarity and the decisiveness in which the court sets out the fundamental rules of the game for amending our Constitution,” explained Prof. Dodek.  The prospect of constitutional amendments, adds Prof. Mathen, put the government at risk of having to deal with other issues that it is not currently ready to address.  “You really can’t open the Pandora’s box of the constitution and expect to limit it to just one issue,” she says. 

“The real importance of the decision is that the court is yet again warning Stephen Harper that he has to do more than respect the letter of our highest law — he must also respect its spirit,” wrote Prof. Mendes.

Click here to read Prof. Dodek’s op-ed for the National Post, “Hitting the brakes on Harper’s unilateralism.” 

Click here to view Prof. Mathen discussing the ruling on Global News.

Click here to read Prof. Mendes’ op-ed for iPolitics, “How the Supreme Court explained the obvious to Mr. Harper.

Click here to view Prof. Mendes discuss the ruling on CTV News.

Click here to hear Prof. Mendes address the future of the Senate on CBC Radio’s Ottawa Morning.

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