Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

Invitation to Friends of I-CONnect: Symposium at McGill University on the Senate Reference

Richard Albert, Boston College Law School

Friends of I-CONnect are invited to attend the McGill Law Journal’s 2015 symposium on “Democracy, Federalism and the Rule of Law: The Implications of the Senate Reference.” All are welcome: scholars, students, lawyers and the general public.

The event will be held at McGill University’s Faculty of Law on Friday, January 30, from 8:30am to 5:00pm, with a reception to follow. Registration is free.

Here is the full program:

Introductory Remarks

Hoi Kong (McGill)

Panel I: Taking Democratic Constitutionalism Seriously: Reforming the Senate

Allan Hutchinson (Osgoode Hall Law School) & Joel Colón-Ríos (Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law, NZ)

Panel II: Democratic Deliberation and the Rule of Law

Richard Albert (Boston College Law School)

Yasmin Dawood (University of Toronto, Faculty of Law)

Panel III: Les Fondements de la Constitution canadienne

Noura Karazivan (Faculté de droit, Université de Montréal)

Patrick Taillon (Faculté de droit, Université Laval)

Panel IV: The Judicial Function in Constitutional Amendment

Kate Glover (McGill University, Faculty of Law)

Emmett Macfarlane (University of Waterloo, Department of Political Science)

Background on the Senate Reference

In the recent Senate Reference, the Supreme Court of Canada advised the Government of Canada on the constitutionality of various proposals to reform the Senate. The Court’s reference is available here. Useful background on the Senate reform proposals is available here.

Here is the description of the McGill Law Journal’s scholarly program:

Held in conjunction with the Journal’s forthcoming special issue on the Senate Reference, this symposium will explore and evaluate the impact of the Senate Reference on democracy, federalism, constitutional amendment, the political process, and electoral politics.

The papers presented at this symposium will represent the first major scholarly assessment of this important decision. The invited panelists and discussants, who represent a broad cross-section of views on the Senate Reference, will take doctrinal, historical, constitutional, comparative and theoretical perspectives on the Senate Reference, and will draw connections to other recent public law decisions, including the Supreme Court Act Reference.

Registration is free here. Please direct questions to Nicole Leger at

We look forward to seeing you in Montreal if you are available. Congratulations to the McGill Law Journal’s editorial leadership, in particular Editor-in-Chief William Stephenson, for leading the organization of what promises to be an important and provocative scholarly program.


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