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2013: Constitutional Cases in Review
The Supreme Court Law Review: Osgoode’s Annual Constitutional Cases Conference
  • Sonia Lawrence, Osgoode Hall Law School of York University
Publication Date
The author reviews the 11 constitutional decisions released by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2013. She makes three main points. First, the decisions are mainly unanimous. The great majority also upholds the existing law, excepting the dramatic decision of the Court to strike down three sections of the Criminal Code in the Bedford challenge to Canada’s criminal laws around the sale of sex. Second, two cases in which the Court was not unanimous, Quebec v. A and Manitoba Metis, engaged with critical and difficult constitutional questions, namely, the scope of section 15 equality protection and Canada’s constitutionalized relationships with Indigenous peoples. The fissures revealed in these cases will almost certainly prove significant in the future. Finally, 2013 was an unusual year in which the Supreme Court became embroiled in some dramatic and unprecedented tussles with the elected government, over Prime Minister Harper’s attempt to appoint Mr. Justice Marc Nadon to the Supreme Court. These disputes continued and expanded through the early part of 2014 and Canadians were faced with the spectacle of the Prime Minister’s Office casting aspersions on the ethics of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The author suggests that the aftermath of 2013 might be a new era in the relationship between our highest court and our federal government, one that might even knock the dust off section 33 of the Charter.
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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0
Citation Information
Sonia Lawrence. "2013: Constitutional Cases in Review" (2014)
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