Congratulations to Professor Ryan Alford on the publication of his new book entitled Seven Absolute Rights: Recovering the Foundations of Canada's Rule of Law. The book is his second peer-reviewed monograph and was published on May 21, 2020 by McGill-Queen's University Press, which also printed Professor Alford’s well-received "Permanent State of Emergency: Unchecked Executive Power and Demise of the Rule of Law" in 2017.
Seven Absolute Rights makes a significant contribution to the constitutional law literature by telling the story of constitutional rights and substantive principles of the rule of law from their British historical roots to foundational moments of Canadian constitutional history. Set against a current context of proliferating emergency powers, the idea that some core rights have stood the test of time as essentials even through extreme circumstances is compelling and timely.
The publisher notes that "Ryan Alford provides a gripping narrative of constitutional history, beginning with the medieval and early modern context of Magna Carta, the Petition of Right, and the constitutional settlement of the Glorious Revolution. His reconstruction ends with a detailed examination of two pre-Confederation crises: the rebellions of 1837-38 and the riots of 1849, which, as he demonstrates, provide the missing constitutionalist context to the framing of the British North America Act. Through this accessible exploration of key events and legal precedents, Alford offers a distinct perspective on the substantive principles of the rule of law embedded in Canada's Constitution."
"I am proud and pleased to see Ryan’s book published. The present moment calls for a careful rethinking of the boundaries of proportionality and balancing approaches to constitutional rights that have dominated the jurisprudence. Ryan’s scholarship will be of interest to constitutional scholars as well as legal historians" says Dean Jula Hughes.