Centre for Constitutional Studies launches new blog

Seven/Fifty blog seeks constitutional law experts to provide insights, analysis and dialogue to better inform Canadians on timely issues

05 December 2023

The Centre for Constitutional Studies, housed at the University of Alberta Faculty of Law, recently launched its new blog.

Called Seven/Fifty, the website aims to be a “hub” for analysis, commentary and discourse surrounding the Canadian Constitution, and is seeking contributions from academics and experts at the U of A and other institutions across Canada and beyond.

According to Richard Mailey, director of the CCS, the blog launched at a particularly interesting point for the Canadian Constitution. For instance, in the last few months, the Supreme Court has made a major decision on federal environmental impact assessments, and will soon issue several important judgments on Indigenous self-government rights.

“It’s a fascinating time, constitutionally speaking, and our aim is to cover a broad spectrum of issues,” Mailey says.

The blog’s name comes from the Constitution’s general amending formula — known as the 7/50 formula — which requires that changes to the Constitution are approved by Parliament and seven provinces representing at least 50 per cent of the population of all the provinces combined. The reference to the formula is intended to remind readers, Mailey says, that the Constitution is an unfinished project that can be changed “if we work together in a spirit of collaboration and dialogue.”

In that spirit of open dialogue, the blog invites contributions from “any disciplinary vantage point,” the website says. According to Laura McKenzie, the first managing editor of Seven/Fifty and a student at the Faculty of Law, opening submissions up in this way can help “invite more voices and perspectives to the table, which is critical in this very active constitutional time.”

Aubrey Abaya, public legal education coordinator with the CCS, identifies additional benefits.“I think that the blog will not only help academics get their work out in the public sphere faster, it also provides an important public legal education function of knowledge-sharing,” she says. “The blog format itself increases accessibility to audiences who may not normally engage with constitutional issues.”

Seven/Fifty has a submissions page where interested students, scholars and legal professionals can pitch their ideas. Funding for the project came from the Alberta Law Foundation.