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The Canadian Constitution February 28, 2007

Posted by Ninja Clement in Politics and Law.
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The Canadian Constitution has three main components: the formal, the informal and the conventional.


The formal part of the constitution is officially titled the “Constitution of Canada”. It includes several documents, the most important of which are the Constitution Act, 1982, the Canada Act, 1982, and the Constitution Act, 1867 (formerly called the British North America Act, 1867). The latter established the federal union of the three founding provinces (Upper and Lower Canada, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia) as one Dominion. Sections 91 and 92 of this Act empower the federal government and provincial governments, respectively. The Canada Act, 1982 is the parent statute of the Constitution Act, 1982, which contains the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the rights of Aboriginal peoples and the regional equalization provisions, and the constitutional amending formulas. Of course, the Charter is the statute that enshrines the basic civil and political liberties of Canadians (e.g. freedom of expression, right to vote, etc.).

Other statues included in the formal part of the Constitution are the Statute of Westminster, 1931, which terminated British paramountcy over Canadian statutory law (except with respect to the Constitution Act, 1867) and the orders in council and statutes admitting the other provinces to Confederation after 1867.

The Supreme Court of Canada has also declared that certain (unwritten) principles are part of the formal constitution. Among the most important of these are the principles of federalism, democracy, the rule of law and constitutionalism (the notion that the constitution is the supreme law), protection of minority rights, independence of the judiciary, parliamentary privilege, full faith and credit (a common law rule requiring courts in one jurisdiction to acknowledge the priority of equivalent and higher level court decisions in other jurisdictions), federal paramountcy (a common law rule requiring courts to give precedence to federal statutes when federal and provincial laws conflict), and general protection of political speech.


The informal part of the constitution is a collection of statutes and rules that lie outside the “Constitution of Canada”, so described by section 52(2) of the Constitution Act, 1982. It includes, among other items, the Senate and House of Commons Act, the Supreme Court Act, the royal prerogative instruments (powers of the Crown (the head of state) that are not statutory in origin, such as the right to declare war and make treaties), and the common law rules for interpreting constitutional documents and defining royal prerogative powers. Although all of these statutes, instruments and rules have legal force, most of them do not prevail over the formal constitution.


Like the informal component, the conventional part is also external to the formal constitution. The conventional component, however, is not enforceable in law. It consists of long-standing and widely-accepted customs called ‘conventions’ , as well as the principles attached to these conventions. These reinforce fundamental political ideals, such as the standard of responsible government and the standard of representative government. For instance, the authority of the Prime Minister and Cabinet is derived from constitutional convention. The Constitution Act, 1867 does not mention ‘Prime Minister’ or ‘Cabinet’ at any point. Canadian’s acceptance of the Prime Minister as head of government is actually a matter of convention, not a matter of positive law. Hence, constitutional conventions are enforceable “politically, not legally”.

Bibliography: Introduction to Public Law, Sourcebook, 5th ed., by David W. Elliot (North York: Captus Press, 2000)


Natural Law Legal Theory and Natural Law Ethical Theory Summaries February 28, 2007

Posted by Ninja Clement in Philosophy.
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The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP) recently published the “Natural Law Theories” entry, written by John Finnis. The SEP also has one related entry on the subject, Mark Murphy’s “The Natural Law Tradition in Ethics”.

Consecrations of Very Rev. Carl Reid and Rev. Craig Botterill February 14, 2007

Posted by Ninja Clement in General.

On January 27, the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada received two new suffragan bishops to oversee parishes in Central and Atlantic Canada. The now Bishop Carl Reid of the Cathedral of the Annunciation in Ottawa and Bishop Craig Botterill of the Parish of St. Aidan in Halifax get to don purple warrior robes and wield bo staffs (with that funny hook on the end of the stick). Anglo-Catholic ninja Michael Trolly has a picture on his personal blog.  You can see the bishop elects receiving their new patrol orders from Archbishop of the Traditional Anglican Communion John Hepworth, while ninja Trolley looks on with serious approval at the bottom.  After the service, Ninja Trolly tried to fly with his cape.

“ALMIGHTY God, who by thy Son Jesus Christ didst give to thy holy Apostles many excellent gifts, and didst charge them to feed thy flock: Give grace, we beseech thee, to all Bishops, the Pastors of thy Church, that they may diligently preach thy Word, and duly administer the godly discipline thereof; and grant to the people, that they may obediently follow the same; that all may receive the crown of everlasting glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. ”

– The Collect for the Consecration of a Bishop, Book of Common Prayer (1962 Canada)

Peter Kreeft coming to Ottawa February 14, 2007

Posted by Ninja Clement in General.
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Each year the Annual Weston Lecture is given by an invited speaker whose field of endeavour is pertinent to the Augustine College programme and of interest to a public audience. The lecture series is named after the Weston Foundation, whose generous grant makes it possible for Augustine College to sponsor the lecture. Augustine College presents a series of lectures by renowned author and educator Dr. Peter Kreeft on March 30 – April 1, 2007.Renowned author and educator Dr. Peter Kreeft teaches philosophy at Boston College and is the author of some fifty books, including The Philosophy of Jesus [2007], The Sea Within: Waves and the Meaning of All Things [2006], How to Win the Culture War [2002], A Refutation of Moral Relativism [1999], Ecumenical Jihad: Ecumenism and the Culture War [1996], Christianity for Modern Pagans [1993], Yes or No? Straight Answers to Tough Questions about Christianity [1991], Fundamentals of the Faith [1988], Making Sense Out of Suffering [1988], Back to Virtue: Traditional Moral Wisdom for Modern Moral Confusion [1986], The Unaborted Socrates: Socrates Debates Abortion [1983], and Between Heaven and Hell [1983]

Friday, March 30, 2007

19:30 The Purpose of Life in Judaism, Christianity, and IslamThe Augustine College Weston Lecture
St. Paul University Auditorium, 223 Main St., Ottawa. Free parking is available on-site. Free-will offering

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Day Conference | The Purpose of EducationCo-sponsored by Augustine College and St. Timothy’s Classical Academy www.st-timothys.ca. Ottawa University Health Sciences Centre, Roger Guindon room 2005 (beside CHEO), Smyth Rd., Ottawa. Charitable donations to Augustine College are gratefully accepted.·         BUS | take the #16 or the #85·         LUNCH | bring your own or eat at the adjoining Rehab Centre to the east (it has a main-floor café and an upstairs cafeteria) or at the General Campus to the east (café and cafeteria both on the main floor) or at CHEO to the west (second-floor café)·         PARKING | $3.50 per half hour or $13 for the day.
10:00 Lecture I: The Idea of Christian Education
11:00 Coffee Break
11:30 Lecture II: Faith Seeking Understanding
12:30 Lunch
14:00 Lecture III: Surviving University Education
15:00-15:30 Discussion
Evening Lecture | The Church
19:30 Lecture: The Passion, Death, and Resurrection of … the ChurchOrganized by and hosted at St. Patrick’s Basilica, 281 Nepean (at Kent). Street parking is available, 613 233-1125, Free-will offering

Sunday, April 1, 2007

A.M. TBA13:30 What Difference Does Jesus Make?Organized and hosted by St. Patrick’s Basilica
281 Nepean at Kent. Street parking is available. 613 233-1125. Free-will offering
Selected works by Dr. Kreeft will be sold at each event.

 **  We are most grateful to the Weston Foundation for making it possible for Augustine College to sponsor Peter Kreeft to Ottawa **

New weblog February 12, 2007

Posted by Ninja Clement in General.
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This wil be the new weblog for Anglo-Catholic Ninjas Michael and Clement (we’re still, uhm, working on the nicknames). Stay tuned.   

Introduction February 12, 2007

Posted by Ninja Michael in General.

Anglo-Catholic ninjas on the hunt…