Dia Dabby, “Mapping Multiculturalism By/Before the Courts” (2020) 99 Supreme Court Law Review (2d) 307-332.
Résumé: “Multiculturalism, in both its policy and constitutional forms, constitutes an undeniable component of Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s constitutional legacy. It has been employed as Canada’s leitmotif since its introduction as official policy and guiding Charter provision. Yet its form, function and ultimately coherence, with freedom of religion claims under section 2a) of the Charter, is worthy of further investigation as part of Trudeau’s constitutional footprint. This article therefore asks, in the context of court decisions on religion, what does multiculturalism tell us about who we are and our constitutional identities? This article investigates multiculturalism’s hermeneutical value and its continued constitutional relevance. It first examines how multiculturalism has been marshalled in public opinion and the Canadian caselaw as well as through academic commentary. It then analyzes and tracks how – and whether – the courts’ understandings of multiculturalism cohere with public policy during select moments in Canada’s constitutional history. It concludes by reflecting on multiculturalism’s promise, but also, the inherent challenge in recounting, assessing and appraising the contribution of a constitutionalized aspiration.”