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22 Const. F. 1 (2013)

handle is hein.journals/consfo22 and id is 1 raw text is: Introduction
Patricia Paradis*

In September, 2012, the Centre for Constitu-
tional Studies and the Faculty of Law, Univer-
sity of Alberta, in collaboration with the Legal
Education Society of Alberta, hosted a day-long
Constitutional Symposium for legal practitio-
ners and students of law. Legal academics and
practitioners provided stimulating and thought
provoking updates on recent jurisprudence in
the constitutional area, focussing on Charter1
sections 2, 7 and 15, the division of powers, ab-
original rights and the Charter and criminal
law. Of the twelve papers presented at this Sym-
posium, eight are featured in this Special Issue
of the Constitutional Forum.
We begin this Special Issue with an article
by Peter Sankoff. He forecasts the potential for
a perfect storm, one that could result in the
use of a little-used Charter provision to deal
with a some of the government's cherished
mandatory minimum penalties. Sankoff fo-
cusses on three pressure systems at play which,
when they collide, will provide the court with
an opportunity to change from the retreat and
timidity approach with which it has tradition-
ally handled section 12 cases, to a more consis-
tent and productive analysis for that obscure
Colin Feasby criticizes the Alberta Court
of Appeal for its minimalist-style ruling in the
Pridgen' case. He analyzes the U.S. and Cana-
dian courts' respective approaches to judicial
minimalism, arguing that while minimalism is
consistent with the Canadian common law tra-
dition of making decisions one case at a time, it
should be guarded against by lower courts. The
Pridgen case, he argues, was a missed opportu-
nity for the court to provide guidance on the

Charter vis-a-vis universities. Jennifer Koshan
carefully compares and contrasts section 7 and
section 15 of the Charter as tools for disadvan-
taged persons challenging the harms of govern-
ment (in)action. She notes the lack of success
of several recent section 15 cases but reminds
us that, unlike section 7, section 15 protects
against harms that are constitutionally recog-
nized. She observes that framing government
harms as violations of life, liberty or security of
the person cannot be a winning strategy for all
Charter claimants.
On the Aboriginal rights front, both au-
thors express concern about the ways in which
the duty to consult with Aboriginal peoples, as
articulated in Haida Nation', is being applied
and interpreted by governments, tribunals and
courts. Neil Reddekopp analyzes the Alberta
Government's approach to implementation of
the Haida Nation decision in its Consultation
Policy. He argues that the Policy has unconsti-
tutional aspects and that what appears as regu-
latory peace at the moment is not the result of
this Policy but rather is the result of negotiated
agreements which, at least in the short term,
appear to benefit both First Nations and re-
source developers. Janna Promislow examines
the duty to consult and accommodate since the
Carrier Sekani4 decision of 2010. While there is
reason to see progress, particularly in signal-
ling the constitutional nature of the duty and
its integration within administrative law prin-
ciples, she notes that the inconsistencies with
which lower courts and tribunals apply estab-
lished administrative law principles appear to
signal an inclination to avoid the duty. This, she
concludes, undermines the process of reconcili-
ation envisaged in Haida Nation.

Constitutional Forum constitutionnel

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