Burkean constitutionalism in Canada


in Canada, History, Law, Politics

In a word, Canada’s constitution has been profoundly evolutionary, and so the constitutional theory of aother British political philosopher, Edmund Burke, is much more appropriate than that of John Locke.

According to Burke the contract that best ensures good government is an intergenerational contract in which a generation inherits arrangements that have worked tolerably well – in the sense of providing reasonable security, social harmony, and prosperity – and passes on to the next generation its own improvements to that heritage. For a country as complex as Canada, based not on a single people but on several peoples, the Burkean idea of an organic constitutional system working itself out over time has proved eminently more suitable than the Lockean ideal of a single constitutional document expressing the moral beliefs of a single founding people.

Russell, Peter. Canada’s Odyssey: A Country Based on Incomplete Conquests. University of Toronto Press, 2017. p. 69

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