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Publication Date


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International Journal of Constitutional Law.


Constitutional, Canadian, Culture


Through an analysis of the Canadian case, this article explores the tension between the universal and the particular in modern constitutional imagination, arguing that the points of friction between these two “logics” of constitutionalism are invaluable entry points into understanding the defining features of various constitutional cultures. The article argues that to understand Canadian constitutional culture, both at the structural level and also in the finer strokes surrounding given issues, one must appreciate that Canadians are the children of two constitutional logics: that of the local, the particular, and harmonious relations between diverse communities achieved through political compromise, and that of the universal, the metaphysical, and of a faith in the reason of legal principle. Examining issues of religious and cultural difference, judicial review, and indigenous rights, the article uses Canadian constitutionalism to illustrate that the points at which the march of the logic of universal reason meets resistance in the particular are key junctures for understanding a country’s constitutional culture.


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