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Interpreting ConstitutionsA Comparative Study$
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Jeffrey Goldsworthy

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199226474

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199226474.001.0001

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Canada: From Privy Council to Supreme Court

Canada: From Privy Council to Supreme Court

(p.55) 2 Canada: From Privy Council to Supreme Court
Interpreting Constitutions

Peter W. Hogg

Oxford University Press

Canada has no single document that is customarily described as ‘the constitution’. The closest approximation of such a document is the Constitution Act 1867, which was originally named the British North America Act 1867. This is a statute of the United Kingdom Parliament that created the new Dominion of Canada by uniting three of the colonies of British North America and by providing the for the admission of all the other British North American colonies and territories. This chapter presents an overview of Canada's constitution and discusses its interpretation, the Supreme Court of Canada, separation of powers, problems of constitutional interpretation, interpretation of the residuary clause, interpretation of the Charter of Rights, interpretation of Aboriginal rights, interpretation of judicial independence, sources of interpretation, constitution as statute, legislative history, modes of interpretation, originalism, unwritten constitutional principles, influences on interpretation, dialogue between the Court and legislatures, presumption of constitutionality, and formalism and creativity.

Keywords:   Canada, constitutional interpretation, constitution, Supreme Court, constitutionality, Charter of Rights, judicial independence, originalism, legislatures

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