The current Mace of the Northwest Territories (NWT) was unveiled in January 2000. It was constructed by three artists – Bill Nasogaluak, Dolphus Cadieux and Allyson M. Simmie – who were dubbed ‘the snowflake team’. Sitting on the top of the Mace is a northern diamond. This 1.31 karat diamond rests on two ulus forming the shape of a tipi and within this shape is a cutout of a house. The ulu, tipi, and house represent all aboriginal and non-aboriginal peoples in the NWT. Beneath these symbols rests a band of silver engraved with the words “One Land, Many Voices” in 10 of the official languages of the NWT. The most distinctive feature of this Mace is its sound. Within the language band, shaft, and the foot are tiny pebbles collected from the 33 communities in the NWT. When moved, the shifting of the pebbles creates a magical sound similar to a rainstick, representing the united voices of the people and a firm reminder that we live on one land with many distinct voices.
Passing of Speaker Pierre Claude Nolin
The CPA-CR is very sad to report that Senate Speaker Pierre Claude Nolin passed away on April 23, 2015 after a five-year long battle with a rare form of cancer. Named to the Senate in 1993 by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, who remembered Speaker Nolin as a man with “great personal integrity” who served Canada “with dignity and honour at all times,” Nolin had been appointed Speaker of the Senate by Governor General David Johnston on the advice of Prime Minister Stephen Harper on November 26, 2014. He had served as Speaker pro tempore for a year previously.
As producers of the official transcripts of parliamentary debates, Canada’s Hansards are responsible for ensuring parliamentarians and Canadians have a fair and accurate report of what happened on any given day on the floor of a legislature. In this roundtable, four directors/editors of Canadian Hansards discuss how their teams work to make the transition from “the colourful theatre of debate to the black and white specifics of text.”
This article explores a very specific kind of legal research – finding the intent of a legislature or parliament. Following a review of the history of legislative intent in Canadian courts, the exclusionary rule and an important Canadian case, Rizzo & Rizzo Shoes Ltd, the authors explore what developments in this area of law, statutory interpretation and, legislative intent research, might mean for parliamentary and legislative libraries in Canada. Based on research for their forthcoming Irwin Law book Researching Legislative Intent: A Practical Guide, this revised article was first presented to the Association of Parliamentary Libraries in Canada/ L’Association des bibliothèques parlementaires au Canada (APLIC/ABPAC) on July 4, 2013, in Ottawa, Ontario.
American statutory interpretation guru William Eskridge once referred to statutory interpretration as “the Cinderella of legal scholarship. Once scorned and neglected, confined to the kitchen, it now dances in the ballroom.”1 Cited in a 1999 article by Stephen Ross, an American law professor who encourages Canadian legal scholars to devote more time to teaching statutory interpretation,2 this quote perfectly captures the explosion of statutory interpretation scholarship that Ross sees happening in Canada. A fascinating area of legal research – which includes legislative intent – statutory interpretation also has a very important and practical use in courts. When the outcome of a case hinges on the meaning of a few words in a statute, interpreting the meaning of those few words will affect someone’s life and rights, one way or another.
The story of women’s political representation in Canada has generally been told as one of progress. While substantial progress has been made, particularly in recent years, there have also been periods of stagnation. In this article, the author interrogates a theory of demand and supply with respect to candidate recruitment strategies. She writes that the undersupply of women candidates does not have to do with voter preferences, but rather partisan selection processes, media-influenced gender norms, and the kinds of issues which dominate political discourse. She concludes that a demand and supply model of political recruitment provides a useful framework for understanding variation in women’s political underrepresentation in Canada.
In recent years much of the research into women’s political representation has focussed on the tremendous growth in the number of countries, now standing at over one hundred, that have adopted gender quotas as a means of increasing the number of women in legislatures around the world.1 But in the absence of such quotas, how well do women do politically? To what extent, for instance, does women’s political representation vary in Canada, where there are no formal legislative requirements for ensuring minimal numbers of women candidates on the ballot? And what are the primary forces shaping when and whether women are recruited into politics in Canada, given the absence of any such formal requirements?
If a male member of Parliament says anything foolish it is forgotten the next day, but if a woman does it, it is repeated endlessly, right across the country
Les surveillants de l’État démocratique : mise en contexte, edited by Jean Crête, Presses de l’Université Laval, Montreal, 216 p.
Les surveillants de l’État démocratique, edited by Jean Crête, provides an analysis of democratic accountability. More specifically, this collective work explores how institutions and mechanisms are needed to: first, ensure that leaders of democratic states do not exploit their powers, and second, identify and prevent abuse. Through empirical studies, the authors demonstrate that while constraints are an essential element of democracy, they are not without cost. The book contains seven chapters divided into two parts. The first part consists of three chapters that address the auditing of public accounts. The four chapters in the second part revolve around the theme of structural constraints associated with oversight mechanisms. Although the majority of chapters focus on the Canadian context, two take a look beyond our borders.
A selection of recent publications relating to parliamentary studies prepared with the assistance of the Library of Parliament (March 2015-May 2015)
Agarwal, Ranjan. “Where there is no remedy, there is no right: using Charter damages to compensate victims of racial profiling.” National Journal of Constitutional Law, Vol. 34, No. 1, (April 2015), 75-98.