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Immigration and Federalism in Canada: beyond Quebec Exceptionalism?

Abstract

The paper focuses on Canadian Provinces’ role in migrant selection. After an asymmetric approach, that benefited only Quebec, the federal government granted devolutionary powers in migrant selection to the other Provinces as well, moving towards de facto asymmetry. This process has proved to be successful over the years, but recently the federal government has reacted, recentralizing some aspects of immigration policy. This does not apply to Quebec.

This policy change may suggest that, although immigration federalism may be grounded on reasons other than the need to accommodate linguistic or ethnic claims, it remains the case that the former are “weaker” than the latter, and are more subject to pressure from the central government.

This is also confirmed by looking at the mechanisms through which intergovernmental agreements have been translated into law. Unlike the Quebec case, immigration’s devolution in relation to the other Provinces has occurred through administrative delegation of powers from the federal government. This permits the federal government to exercise some form of political pressure in order to realign the Provinces’ discretionary choices.

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In Memoriam: Prof. Alessandro Pizzorusso
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An Opportunity for Reflection – A Special Issue on “The Constitution of Canada: History, Evolution, Influence and Reform”

Abstract

Canada is and will for the foreseeable future be a peaceful and prosperous liberal democracy whose Constitution Act, 1867, now 150 years old as of 2017, has become a model for the modern world. The Constitution of Canada has exerted considerable influence on other countries, particularly since the coming into force of its Constitution Act, 1982, which included the celebrated Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Just as Canada drew from foreign and international experiences in drafting its Charter, the world has learned a great deal from Canada, not only as to rights protections but also as to the separation of powers, the judicial function, and the structure of government.

In light of these impressive achievements, an international symposium on the Canadian Constitution was held in Pisa at the Scuola Sant’Anna under the auspices of the Sant’Anna Legal Studies project and with the support of the DIRPOLIS (Law, Politics and Development) Institute at the Scuola Sant’Anna, the Canadian Embassy in Italy, and the International Association of Constitutional Law. This special issue collects some of the papers presented on that occasion.

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Provincializing Constitutions: History, Narrative, and the Disappearance of Canada’s Provincial Constitutions

Abstract

Constitutional scholarship in Canada since Confederation has been characterized by two primary narratives. The dualist narrative, which characterized constitutional scholarship between the late-nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries, focussed on the parallel developments of provincial and federal constitutions. The monist narrative, which has become the dominant model of interpretation since the mid-twentieth century, focusses on the federal constitution as a singular foundation of constitutionalism in Canada. As a result of the shift from dualism to monism, provincial constitutions have become largely ignored in Canada and subsumed by the “mega-constitutional” politics of the federal constitution. This paper examines provincial constitutions to highlight the significant reorientation of constitutional scholarship in Canada over the past 150 years, which has become primarily focussed on post-Confederation constitutional history and written constitutionalism.

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The Spanish vision of Canada’s Clarity Act: from idealization to myth

Abstract

Since it was passed, the Clarity Act has been at the core of any secessionist debate in Canada and abroad. Although contested at home, the Clarity Act has earned worldwide prestige as the democratic standard that must be observed when a secessionist debate arises. In the last fifteen years Spain has experienced successive debates about the need to establish a mechanism of popular consultation to address secessionist claims in the Basque Country and Catalonia. Most political actors in favour of such consultations have expressed their will to import the Canadian Clarity Act as a tool to settle disputes on how to conduct a referendum. However, this deification of the Canadian example is, for the most part, based on a misreading of the Secession Reference, only taking into account certain passages while ignoring others. The emphasis tends to be made on the quantitative clear majority test, disregarding other factors. Hence, the aim of this paper is to study the causes of this deification of the Clarity Act in Spain, and its influence on the treatment of secessionist claims that the country is currently experiencing.

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Women’s rights and minorities’ rights in Canada. The challenges of intersectionality in Supreme Court jurisprudence

Abstract

After a discussion of the impact of the principle of equality, entrenched in the Charters approved in Canada since the 1867 British North American Act, this essay then focuses on the related Supreme Court’s adjudications. A brief analysis of the case-law concerning gender equality is followed by the discussion of cases of Aboriginal and Muslim women with the aim of assessing whether intersectionality represents for these groups of women a source of double discrimination. Brief concluding remarks discuss the challenges deriving from the different options for accommodating the principle of equality with cultural rights.

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Administration or Federation? Constitutional Self-Image and the World Political Order in Which the EU Finds Itself

Abstract

In this article, I compare constitutional and administrative models in terms of their implications for the EU legal order’s interaction with other legal regimes. I aim to make a twofold argument on the implications of the EU’s constitutional self-image to the world political order. First, as the CJEU adopts an identity-centred strong constitutionalist position on the Union’s external relations, it implicitly frames the EU legal order’s interaction with other legal regimes as in a federated order. Yet the strong political implications of federation are likely to bring about more inter-regime conflicts and provoke reactions from Member States. Second, I provide a critique of the administrative model in the light of GAL’s intervention in inter-regime relations, suggesting a post-identity constitutional alternative in times of crisis. Freed from the value-laden concept of constitutional identity, but without de-constitutionalizing itself, the EU can have the benefits of both the constitutional and administrative models by moving towards a weak-form constitutional order. In the event, the debate, as to whether to conduct the EU’s external relations according to the constitutional or the administrative model, is misconceived.

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Can the EU’s constitutional framework accommodate democratic politics?

Abstract

The robustness of the EU’s constitutional framework – and its ability to accommodate democratic politics – is challenged as never before. The growing disconnect between formally democratic procedures and substantive choice is well illustrated by the Greek crisis. Since its first bailout in May 2010, Greece has held four general elections and a referendum. Yet, the anti-austerity preferences of the Greek electorate have not been effectively translated into policy.

This article uses the Greek crisis to analyse the EU’s democratic deficit, and the related issue of the locus of legal and political sovereignty in the EU. It argues that the EU’s constitutional framework is not sufficiently responsive to changing material conditions or to the changing preferences of Europeans. Thus, EU constitutionalism needs to be refashioned in order to strike a better balance between democratic and technocratic governance, as well as between the needs of individual citizens, national citizenries, and states.

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Constitutional and administrative paradigms in judicial control over EU high and low politics

Abstract

This article explores the particular tensions surrounding judicial review in EU external relations. The tensions are classified using a two-dimensional framework. Firstly, a distinction based on policy domains of high and low politics, which is derived from constitutional theory, and external to the CJEU; and secondly a distinction based on legitimizing paradigms of administrative (EU as effective global actor) or constitutional (judicial review as guarantee of fundamental rights) in character and determined by the Court itself. Even though one would expect a dominance of the administrative paradigm in the domain of high politics, the Court uses both the administrative and the constitutional paradigm in its external relations case-law. The decision on which of these becomes the guiding frame seems to depend more on the policy domain, and be made case by case, which suggests politically sensitive adjudication, rather than a coherent approach to legitimizing the nascent judicial review in EU external relations.

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