Call for Papers
Checking Our Constitution@30: The Influence of the Canadian Constitution and the Charter of Rights on Legislation, Identities and Federalism
Inaugural Conference of the New Institute for Canadian Identities (The Association for Canadian Studies)
April 17-18, 2012, Ottawa, Ontario
April 17th, 2012 will mark the 30th anniversary of the patriation of the Canadian Constitution and the creation of a Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Constitution and Charter have had a profound impact on our law and public policy. Many Canadians view the Constitution and the Charter of Rights as shaping important aspects of our collective identity and defining a set of shared values. For the most part, Canadians hold a favorable opinion of the Constitution and Charter. Yet many see these defining documents as divisive. To mark this important anniversary the new Institute for Canadian Identities will hold a major conference entitled, "Checking Our Constitution@30: The Influence of the Canadian Constitution and the Charter of Rights on Legislation, Identity and Federalism" to take place on April 17-18th, 2012 in Ottawa.
OVERVIEW: Some critics believe that elected officials too easily cede leadership to the judiciary on controversial matters. Others point out that Quebec's refusal to "sign on" to the Constitution reflects continuing divisions at the heart of the Canadian nation. And yet, it is surprising how a document that is only 30 years old has become for many a defining aspect of Canadian identity, shared values and principles while also acting as a benchmark for enumerating fundamental freedoms. The Constitution and the Charter are a product of political compromises made over three decades, and represent an ongoing debate over the conflicting role of the state and diverse societal interests.
How have the debates over the Constitution shaped our identities? Have the Constitution and Charter of Rights strengthened or weakened Canadian democracy and Federalism? What have the Constitution and Charter meant for women, aboriginals, and language minorities, ethnic and visible minorities, religious groups and new Canadians? What role have the Courts played in the interpretation of the Constitution, and how has the Charter transformed the judiciary in Canada? Has the distinction between Law and Politics become blurred over the past thirty years? How does the Canadian experience compare with other countries? Are the courts becoming more or less accessible to the public? Are there benefits to an unwritten constitution? How has the Constitution affected the balance of powers in Canada, and the dynamics of federalism? Has the Constitution become inalterable?
PAPER SUBMISSION PROCEDURE: We invite policy-makers, academics, researchers, activists, scholars, lawyers, judges and professionals from all disciplines to participate and submit 250-500 words abstracts, either for individual papers or proposals for fully formed panels no later than January 31, 2012 to: James Ondrick at the Association for Canadian Studies, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: (514) 925-3097, Fax: (514) 925-3095, web: http://www.acs-aec.ca