The Courts and the Conventions of the Constitution
This article addresses the somewhat evasive topic of conventions. In the first part of the article, the author discusses conventions in a very general way as part of our "working Constitution of Canada". In so doing, he considers such questions as: What constitutes a convention?; How does it change?; and, In what circumstances does it change? Numerous examples of conventions are presented and examined. The second part of the article is more specifically concerned with the relationship between the courts and these conventions. Particular emphasis is placed on the patriation reference of 1982 to the Supreme Court of Canada. The author concludes by assessing the appropriate role of the courts with respect to matters of convention.