Emmett Macfarlane is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Waterloo. His research focuses on the intersection of governance, rights and public policy, with a particular emphasis on the policy impact of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Supreme Court of Canada. His book, Governing from the Bench: The Supreme Court of Canada and the Judicial Role is published by UBC Press.

Articles by this author

A classic tale of university waste

So many will have heard that the President of The University of Western Ontario Western University, Amit Chakma, was paid $924,000 last year. This was the result of a clause in his contract that allowed …

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A Liberal tax plan starts to take shape

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau announced a major plank of his party's platform today that would see a "middle class" tax cut (reducing federal income taxes on the $44,701-$89,401 bracket from 22% to 20.5%), the creation …

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Much ado about little

The reaction from some corners of the media and legal community to a handful of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s recent judicial appointments has been a fascinating mix of alarmism and ahistorical punditry. Several articles in the …

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Orange Alberta and Poli Sci 101

Alberta has elected an NDP majority to its legislature. Historic is definitely the right word, but will political science profs across the country really be re-writing their first-year lectures? Yes and no. I'm neither an expert …

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Politicians and media boycotts

The decision by Justin Trudeau to refuse to answer questions from Sun Media reporters – in the aftermath of a lame, offensive diatribe by one of their television personalities – sparks an interesting debate about …

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Supreme confusion

In January, the Quebec government announced its intention to introduce ”œdying with dignity” legislation. The plan would effectively permit doctors, under stringent conditions, to engage in assisted suicide in circumstances where critically ill patients suffering …

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The electoral reform debate and the law

I want to clear some things up, for the sake of...well, clarity, I guess, but also for my sanity. Former chief electoral officer Jean-Pierre Kingsley recently suggested in the media that the Referendum Act does not permit a …

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The judicial activism debate

A number of commentators have recently renewed a debate over the Supreme Court's "activism," criticizing the Court for overstepping its authority. On the Policy Options blog, Leonid Sirota responds. Over at Maclean's, I take issue with …

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The myth of federal health care "cuts"

The Harper government is routinely criticized for having made ”œcuts” to health care transfers. This is a wholly misleading and, I argue, deeply problematic argument. For starters, the idea that there have been or that there …

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The new prostitution bill is terrible

Federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay announced the details on the government's new bill restricting prostitution, and it is significantly more draconian than expected. As I wrote yesterday, the bill criminalizes the purchase of sex, something …

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Who Canadians actually elect

On Tuesday @CdnDemocracy, the "Official Government of Canada Twitter account for Democratic Institutions" tweeted the following, which quotes someone who was presumably at a Thunder Bay town hall on electoral reform: "From #TBay: my ballot right now elects …

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