The Strategic Constitution

Understanding Canadian Power in the World

By (author) Irvin Studin
Categories: International relations, Politics and government, Society and Social Sciences
Series: Law and Society
Publisher: UBC Press
Paperback : 9780774827157, 284 pages, October 2014

Table of contents



Part 1: The Conceptual Framework for Assessing Canadian Strategic Power in Constitutional Terms

1 Framing Some Key Concepts

2 Diplomacy

3 The Military

4 Government, or Pure Executive Potency

5 Natural Resources (and Food)

6 National Economic Might

7 Communications

8 Population

9 The Strategic Constitution as Conceptual and Analytical Framework

Part 2: Applying the Conceptual Framework: Four Policy Case Studies

Case Study A: Canadian Strategic Leadership in the Americas

Case Study B: Bona Fide War

Case Study C: Arctic Sovereignty

Case Study D: National Security-Counterterrorism




Ushers in a brand new school of constitutional scholarship in Canada.


Historically, Canada’s Constitution has been principally viewed as a federal framework or a rights bulwark. Its framers did not intend for Canada to be a major player in the world and worldly matters were barely mentioned in constitutional documents. This book offers a brand new interpretation. The Strategic Constitution, as proposed by Irvin Studin, is a framework for understanding Canada’s capacity to project strategic power in the world. Studin begins by reducing the Constitution to its strategically relevant essentials or building blocks. He then provides a wide-ranging audit of the Constitution of Canada in terms of its treatment of so-called factors of strategic power: the military, diplomacy, executive potency, natural resources, the economy, strategic communications and transportation, and the national population. He later applies the Strategic Constitution framework to four policy case studies: Canadian regional leadership in the Americas; full war (as in Afghanistan); Arctic sovereignty; and national security and counterterrorism. Provocative and well-argued, this book makes the case for the Constitution being a highly flexible national framework that quietly harbours seeds of national strategic potency. By bridging the solitudes of constitutional law and international relations, it also creates a new paradigm for constitutional scholarship in Canada.