Colloquium: “The Supreme Court’s Dirty Little Secret: Originalism in Canadian Jurisprudence”

Dr. Leonid Sirota of the Aukland University of Technology (NZ) will visit Université de Montréal to discuss the role of originalism in the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence.

Amongst the fundamental assumptions underlying the practice of Canadian constitutional interpretation is the belief that originalism – whether directed at the original intentions, expected applications, meaning or understanding – plays no meaningful role in discerning the meaning of constitutional provisions. Dr. Sirota sets out to correct that mistaken narrative. Through a survey of historical and contemporary decisions, he argues that various forms of originalism have played a significant role in Canadian constitutional interpretation. However, the Court has provided little guidance as to those circumstances in which various forms of originalism can be relied upon, which has led to a troubling state of uncertainty. Dr. Sirota suggests that Canadian constitutional practice would benefit from openly engaging with originalist ideas in an effort to discover how they can be most fruitfully employed.

Me Joanna Baron, Director of the Runnymede Society, and Professor Dwight Newman of the University of Saskatchewan, will comment.

This event is made possible with the generous support of the Runnymede Society.

Admission is free.

This programme has been approved for 1.25 hours of continuing education credit by the Barreau du Québec.

This content has been updated on 20 February 2017 at 10 h 13 min.