Reflections on Canada’s Past, Present and Future in International Law

Réflexions sur le passé, le présent et l’avenir du Canada en matière de droit international

June 19, 2018
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Marking 150 years since Confederation provides an opportunity for Canadian international law practitioners and scholars to reflect on Canada’s rich history in international law and governance, where we find ourselves today in the community of nations, and how we might help shape a future in which Canada’s rules-based and progressive approach to international law gains ascendancy. These essays, each written in the official language chosen by the authors, provide a critical perspective on Canada’s past and present in international law, survey the challenges that lie before us and offer renewed focus for Canada’s pursuit of global justice and the rule of law.
Part I explores the history and practice of international law, including sources of international law, Indigenous treaties, international treaty diplomacy, domestic reception of international law and Parliament’s role in international law. Part II explores Canada’s role in international law, governance and innovation in the broad fields of international economic, environmental and intellectual property law. Economic law topics include international trade and investment, dispute settlement, subnational treaty making, international taxation and private international law. Environmental law topics include the international climate change regime and international treaties on chemicals and waste, transboundary water governance and the law of the sea. Intellectual property (IP) law topics explore the development of international IP protection and the integration of IP law into the body of international trade law. Part III explores Canadian perspectives on developments in international human rights and humanitarian law, including judicial implementation of these obligations, international labour law, business and human rights, international criminal law, war crimes, child soldiers and gender.
Reflections on Canada’s Past, Present and Future in International Law/ Réflexions sur le passé, le présent et l’avenir du Canada en matière de droit international demonstrates the pivotal role that Canada has played in the development of international law and signals the essential contributions it is poised to make in the future.


Yves Fortier and Valerie Hughes Foreword

Oonagh E. Fitzgerald, Valerie Hughes and Mark Jewett Introduction: Canada, International Law and the Public Good

Part I: The History and Practice of International Law

The Making of International Treaties and Implementation into Domestic Law

Oonagh E. FitzgeraldIntroduction

Gib van Ert — The Reception of International Law in Canada: Three Ways We Might Go Wrong

Armand de Mestral et Hugo Cyr — Le rôle du Parlement dans la négociation et l’adoption des traités

Gary Luton — A Historical Survey of Canadian International Treaty Diplomacy

Charles-Emmanuel Côté — Le Canada et la capacité des entités infra-étatiques de conclure des traités

Honouring International Treaties with Indigenous Peoples

John Borrows — Introduction

Brenda Gunn Exploring the International Character of Treaties 1-11 and the Legal Consequences

Joshua Nichols Sui Generis Sovereignties: The Relationship between Treaty Interpretation and Canadian Sovereignty

Robert Hamilton — Indigenous Legal Traditions and Histories of International and Transnational Law in the Pre-Confederation Maritime Provinces

Ryan Beaton — The Crown Fiduciary Duty at the Supreme Court of Canada: Reaching across Nations, or Held within the Grip of the Crown?

Part II: International Law, Governance and Innovation

International Economic Law

Jonathan Fried Introduction

Richard Ouellet — Le rôle du Canada dans l’évolution institutionnelle et substantive du système GATT/OMC

Valerie Hughes — Canada: A Key Player in WTO Dispute Settlement

Allison Christians — Taxing Transnationals: Canada and the World

Brian Arnold — Canada’s International Tax System: Historical Review, Problems and Outlook for the Future

Bernard Colas — Le Canada et le droit international privé en matière commerciale

International Environmental Law

Jutta Brunnée — Introduction

Silvia Maciunas and Géraud de Lassus Saint-Geniès — The Evolution of Canada’s International and Domestic Climate Policy: From Divergence to Consistency?

Anne Daniel — Canadian Contributions to International Environmental Law on Chemicals and Wastes

Dean Sherratt and Marcus Davies — Going with the Flow: Sovereignty, Cooperation and Governance of US-Canada Transboundary and Boundary Waters

Suzanne Lalonde — Canada’s Influence on the Law of the Sea

Intellectual Property Law

Jeremy de Beer – Introduction

Howard Knopf — Canada’s Role in the Relationship of Trade and Intellectual Property

Ton Zuijdwijk — The Integration of the Rules of International Intellectual Property Law into the Body of International Trade Law

Part III: International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

Oonagh E. FitzgeraldIntroduction

Stéphane Beaulac — La mise en oeuvre judiciaire des obligations internationales du Canada en matière de droits humains : Obstacles et embûches

Adelle Blackett — “This is Hallowed Ground”: International Labour Law and Canada at 150

Valerie Oosterveld — Canada and the Development of International Criminal Law: What Role for the Future?

Fannie Lafontaine — Criminels de guerre au Canada? La valse-hésitation historique entre poursuites et expulsions

René Provost — Enfants-soldats en droit international humanitaire : civils ou combattants? Expériences et réflexions canadiennes

Part IV: New Challenges in International Law

Oonagh E. Fitzgerald, Mark Jewett and Valerie Hughes Conclusion: Looking Ahead

Book Trailer

About the Editor

Oonagh E. Fitzgerald was director of international law at CIGI from April 2014 to February 2020. In this role, she established and oversaw CIGI’s international law research agenda, which included policy-relevant research on issues of international economic law, environmental law, IP law and innovation, and Indigenous law.

Valerie Hughes is a senior fellow at CIGI, senior counsel with Bennett Jones LLP and adjunct assistant professor in the Faculty of Law at Queen’s University. She spent 22 years with the Government of Canada in various positions, including assistant deputy minister, Law Branch, at Finance Canada; director and general counsel of the Trade Law Bureau in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (now Global Affairs Canada); and senior counsel in the International Law Section at Justice Canada.

Mark Jewett is a CIGI senior fellow and counsel to Bennett Jones LLP. He was previously senior assistant deputy minister at the Departments of Justice and Finance, and general counsel and corporate secretary at the Bank of Canada.