By what authority?

It is a palpable deceit to submit to or overtake the authority of another without proof of entitlement to do so. The thesis is fundamental to democracy; namely, the consensual definition to be governed by the rule of law.  In Canada, the recognizable legal authority and root of competency derives from the British North America Act, 1867. This is the stuff that kept Sir John A. Macdonald our first prime minister awake at night and likely occasionally intoxicated.

As heady as it resounds constitutional law is straightforward. It follows the basic method of deductive reasoning; namely,

If A = B
And B = C
Then A = C

Yet in spite of the numerous debates which have arisen regarding the interpretation of the British North America Act, 1867 the fact remains that the legal authority of each and every one of us derives from this elemental legislation.

For example, the inference from the premises “all men are mortal” and “Socrates is a man” to the conclusion “Socrates is mortal” is deductively valid. An argument is sound if it is valid and all its premises are true. Some theorists define deduction in terms of the intentions of the author: they have to intend for the premises to offer deductive support to the conclusion. With the help of this modification, it is possible to distinguish valid from invalid deductive reasoning: it is invalid if the author’s belief about the deductive support is false.

In plain terms there are those whose behaviour becomes clouded by matters unrelated to their authority.  Consider for example a judge dressed in bluejeans or silken robes; neither clothing is material to the judge’s lawful authority or entitlement.  Yet we commonly submit to authority because of appearances.  The Vatican thrives upon such pretense of legitimacy; the rest is pure fiction and certainly no part of our legal government.

Forgive me for abusing such extreme examples but it nonetheless exhibits the problem; namely, the root of authority is constitutional not visceral or spiritual. Anything else is a contradiction.  Unfortunately miscalculation of authority and entitlement enables those in the position of exercising such dominion the opportunity to engage instead upon irrelevant miscalculations, suppositions and concoctions (normally only designed to put off doing anything substantive in favour of an aggrieved party).

The allure of constitutional law is its impressive binary simplicity.  In short, “It’s one or the other” not dissimilar to the usual exemplification as 0 or 1 (sometimes interpreted as “on or off”). Yet it is the very simplicity which has unwittingly enabled those in a putative position of power to disguise its simplicity with boggling accessories and related lack of mental acuity.

But cosmetics are no source of authenticity. And even if one were to possess the ability to refine and define the law to enable inactivity, I am reminded that the British long ago resorted to the superior court of judgement called the “Chancery”.  It was a court of equity; that is, a court devoted not to results but efficiency and fairness.  In those instances where the law was grossly unjust, inadequate or misleading, the Chancery was the remedy. Since its inception, the duties of all courts have been united to accomplish both legal and equitable remedies.

Constitutional law: body of law derived from the common law or a written constitution that defines the powers of the executive, legislature and judiciary and guides the duties and rights of citizens. The Constitution is the supreme law of Canada; all other laws must be consistent with the rules set out in it. If they are not, they may not be valid. Constitutional law is the area of Canadian law relating to the interpretation and application of the Constitution of Canada by the Courts. This is represented in the Constitution Act, 1867, Constitution Act, 1982 and Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Constitution Act, 1867 (French: Loi constitutionnelle de 1867), originally enacted as the British North America Act, 1867 (BNA Act), is a major part of the Constitution of Canada. The act created a federal dominion and defines much of the operation of the Government of Canada, including its federal structure, the House of Commons, the Senate, the justice system, and the taxation system. In 1982, with the patriation of the Constitution, the British North America Acts which were originally enacted by the British Parliament, including this Act, were renamed.

The rule of law means that no one is above the law. Everyone — including politicians, police officers, and wealthy individuals — must obey the law. All Canadians must respect the law even if they disagree with it.