24 January 2012

On Rights, the Charter notwithstanding #nlpoli #cdnpoli

The Department of Political Science Distinguished Lecture series presents Dr. Janet Hiebert on the topic:
Constitutional Experimentation and Canada’s Notwithstanding Clause: Crude Political Compromise or Constitutional Innovation?
February 2, 2012, 7: 00 PM in SN 2109 (Science Building, Memorial University, St. John’s campus)
Comparative political and legal scholars have observed what they consider to be an important constitutional innovation: the emergence of an alternative model of a bill of rights, which has been adopted in several Westminster-based parliamentary systems.

The form these bills of rights take differs significantly from more conventional models, because they do not compel legislatures to comply with judicial interpretations of rights.

These constitutional innovations raise the following two questions:
  • How does this new model conceive of the function of a bill of rights?
  • Given the conceptual contribution of Canada’s notwithstanding clause to this new model, should Canadians revisit the deep scepticism in which they regard this political power to set aside the effects of a Charter ruling?
hiebertDr. Janet Hiebert is head of the political studies department and Professor of Political Studies at Queen’s University.

She is author of two books about the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: Charter Conflicts: What is Parliament's Role? (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2002), and Limiting Rights: The Dilemma of Judicial Review (McGill-Queen's University Press, 1996), and has written numerous papers and chapters on the politics of rights and on campaign finance laws in Canada.

Hiebert has served as a member of the Ontario Electoral Boundaries Commission, an independent, non-partisan body with responsibility to readjust the electoral boundaries in the province of Ontario
Her current research project examines how the recent adoption of bill of rights in several parliamentary jurisdictions affects political practices, policy development and legislative behaviour (Canada, NZ, UK, Australia).

For more information contact Dr. Matthew Kerby, 864-3093 or kerbym@mun.ca

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