Should Constitutional Conventions be made into Law? || Debate Paper Assignment
The objectives of the debate papers are for students to engage with a “hot topic” in Canadian
politics and debate on it (Note: a debate means you will have to present at least two different views
(viewpoints) on the topic and the arguments supporting each position). For each debate paper, you
will have a choice among different topics (see below).
Choices for debate paper 1
- Should constitutional conventions be made into laws?
- Should the amendments formula be abolished?
- Should the notwithstanding clause (s.33) be removed from the Charter?
- Should Supreme Court judges be elected?
Your first task is to choose a topic among the list offered to you. Note, you can only write a debate
paper on the topics provided. For debate paper 1, there are 4 choices.
Once you have chosen your topic, you need to do some research! What information can you find
on this topic? Also, you will need to identify how you want to tackle this topic. You need to find
arguments on “both sides” and form your own critical opinion.
Paper and presentation
Now that you have chosen your topic and one some research you have to write your paper. Here
are the presentation format requirements:
- Length: 600-700 words
- Font: Times New Roman
- Font size: 12
- Line Spacing: Double
- Margins: 2.5 cm (or 1 inch)
Your paper should include the following and be divided into multiple paragraphs:
a) an introduction where you introduce the topic and the various arguments you will be
b) a general presentation of the arguments for each position on the topic (For example:
some authors will argue to abolish the Crown; others think we need to keep it. Tell us why
for each case).
c) a brief conclusion to what you think is the most convincing position (which side are you
taking) and why.
d) a reference list including at least 3 academic references (one of which has to be your
textbook). By academic references, we mean books or articles published in peer-reviewed
journals. Referencing must be done using APA style.
Each debate paper is worth 15% for a total of 60% of your final grade. A rubric will be used and
is available on Moodle
The term constitutional convention drives its history from 1787 where a convention was held in Philadelphia. At the meeting, representatives from all previous colonies were in attendance besides Rhode Island. The meeting resulted in the formation of the United States constitution. Since the period, conventions have played a vital role in evolving laws set to govern countries. In recent years, conventions have established crucial rules in the constitution; however, they are not regarded as laws making courts not enforce them. In Canada, these conventions borrowed a leaf from the British principles of representative democracy. Eventually, it was adopted into the Nation's constitutional system due to the Act 1867 Preamble to British North America. The Act forces Canada to have a constitution resembling the United Kingdom. However, after various debates, the court opted not to implement the conventions due to the conflicts.
An example of a convention involves the limitation of the general powers of the governor with respect to the parliament and executive government. One of the limitations revolved around the governor appointing the cabinet as per the prime minister's advice. Such interventions would limit the execution of certain powers based on personal gratification to achieve specific goals(lop, 2017). Typically, constitutional conventions ought to appreciate the governance principle such as the rule of law. However, some conventions can be vital than the implemented laws depending on the core values being safeguarded. Therefore, these constitutional conventions can serve plenty of good when given an opportunity.
It is prudent to appreciate that conventions have various individuals from different locations; thus, implying that parties do not bear preplanned outcomes. Running a Nation involves the appreciation that other people in different cities have needed to be met; primarily, politicians seldom desire to acknowledge them. The conventions aim at raising multiple issues that affect normal citizens and the country in general. Despite presently not being considered law, these conventions will allow the government to run smoothly. Politicians and other individuals misleading the general population that conventions are based on misdirecting individuals is far from the truth. Constitutional conventions serve the purpose of rectifying the previous wrongs.
Allowing rectifications to be termed unlawful shows that people are resistant to change, but justice is a long way from being appreciated and embraced by society. Leaders are at the forefront in refuting management as it will deliver duties without attempting to loot from innocent civilians(lop, 2017). Misdirection is evident as leaders state that conventions contradict the law; however, these unjust laws result in the formulation of conventions to fix arising problems. The fact that Canada is a colony of Britain does not insinuate that all wrong laws should be implemented for the people to accept. Allowing constitutional conventions to be implemented into law will enhance accountability and improve delivery.
In conclusion, constitutional conventions have proved to be vital for countries in the past. During the periods, individuals were focused on ensuring the nation heads in the right direction rather than feeding off civilians. It is high time that politicians embraced the forefathers' principles and reverted to serving and not looting. Conventions primary aim is to ensure that laws are rectified to provide that service is justified and all feel and appreciate the assistance being given to them. Constitutional conventions will bring more good than harm to the Nation. In situations where the law has been contradicted, it will be prudent to identify which of the two aims at being more just than the other. Finally, leaders who oppose these conventions should be identified with their reasons allowing citizens to know who has their best interest at heart.
Lop.parl.ca. (2017). Retrieved 30 September 2021, from https://lop.parl.ca/content/lop/TeachersInstitute/ConstitutionalConventions.pdf.
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