The Globalization of the Canadian Constitution

“The Globalization of the Canadian Constitution” in Trudeau Foundation Papers, vol. 4 (2012) 88-112.

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It has been argued that the constitution of a country is the embodiment of, or a response to, its particular history, political values, culture, and, indeed, its very identity. But in the last two decades, we have witnessed a dramatic resurgence in the study of comparative constitutional law. How should we understand the relationship between the widely held view that constitutions are the quintessential national documents and the increasing migration of constitutional ideas across the globe? In my Trudeau Lecture, I examine the importance of comparative engagement in the drafting of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the rise of the “Canadian model” for managing secessionist conflict in the 1990s. I also reflect on the way in which my immigrant identity—itself the product of globalization—has shaped my scholarship on the Canadian constitution.