To Prorogue or not to prorogue

This week I learned that normally Parliament recesses in accordance with standing orders. Proroguing a Parliament means you cut Parliament short and you need permission to do this. Permission is normally granted on the advice of the Prime Minister. The GG would be able to decline the advice of the Prime Minister if she felt it was a ruse intended to subvert the will of Parliament. That's what I learned. You can hear from the experts:

Was the Governor General’s Decision to Prorogue Parliament Constitutional? Canada’s Leading Scholars Weigh in on this Historic Ruling

After meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Governor General Michaƫlle Jean has agreed to suspend Parliament until the New Year, averting a confidence motion by the Bloc Quebecois-backed Liberal-NDP coalition. With all the options available to the Governor General was this the right decision, and more important, constitutional?

Hosted by the David Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights at University of Toronto Faculty of Law and introduced by Dean Mayo Moran, Canada’s leading constitutional scholars will address these and other questions as they debate and weigh in on the issues around this historic decision, whether it contravenes constitutional conventions, and what this might mean for our economy.

Moderated by Cheryl Milne, Executive Director of the Faculty of Law’s David Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights. Introductory remarks from Faculty of Law Dean Mayo Moran. Members of the government and coalition parties will also be invited to speak at the event.

Confirmed Panelists Include:

Lorne Sossin is a Professor at the U of T’s Faculty of Law. His teaching interests span administrative law, public administration, professional regulation, civil litigation, ethics and professionalism, and legal process. He was the recipient of the Mewett Teaching Award in 2003 and 2004.

Lorraine Weinrib is a professor with the Faculty of Law and the Department of Political Science. She has worked in the Crown Law Office - Civil, Ministry of the Attorney General (Ontario), holding the position of Deputy Director of Constitutional Law and Policy. Her work included legal advice and policy development on constitutional issues, as well as extensive litigation, frequently in the Supreme Court of Canada.

David Cameron is a Professor of Political Science at U of T, and is renowned for his significant career in public service at both federal and provincial levels of government. Professor Cameron’s interests include Canadian government and politics, questions of federalism and Quebec nationalism, ethnocultural relations, and the politics and constitution-making of emerging federal countries such as Sri Lanka and Iraq.

Anita Anand currently serves as Associate Dean (JD Program) at the Faculty of Law at Toronto. She is a leading expert in corporate law, securities regulation, and bankruptcy and insolvency law. In 2006, she was a Canada-U.S. Fulbright Scholar and Visiting Olin Scholar in Law and Economics at Yale Law School. During the Fall 2005, she was a Visiting Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School where she taught comparative corporate governance. She is the recipient of research grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (two awards) and the Foundation for Legal Research (three awards) as well as the Canadian Association of Law Teachers' Scholarly Paper Award (2003).


Cheryl Milne is the Executive Director of the David Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto. She is a leading member of the constitutional law bar in Ontario. She is currently Chair of the Ontario Bar Association's Constitutional, Civil Liberties and Human Rights section. She has appeared at all levels of court including the Supreme Court of Canada, as well as various administrative tribunals and the clinic itself in interventions and applications.

Introductory Remarks:

Mayo Moran is Dean of U of T’s Faculty of Law and James Marshall Tory Dean's Chair. She has published in comparative constitutional law, private law, and legal and feminist theory. Her book Rethinking the Reasonable Person was published in 2003 by Oxford University Press. In 2005, she was co-editor with Prof. David Dyzenhaus of Calling Power to Account: Law, Reparations and the Chinese Canadian Head Tax Case. Professor Moran's work focuses on how our practices and theories of responsibility come to terms with discrimination. Professor Moran has also worked on litigation involving the equality guarantee under the Charter and, most recently, the Chinese Canadian Head Tax claim.

When: Friday, December 5, 2008 Noon to 2 p.m.

Where: University of Toronto Faculty of Law, 78 Queen’s Park Crescent, Rowell Room