"Rewriting the Canadian Constitution" Class Ottawa in April 2017. The course was taught by Profs Johanne Poirier (McGill) and Daniel Turp (UdeM), and enrolled students from both universities.


Above: Twenty-six law students from Université de Montréal and McGill University spent the 2017 winter term writing the text of the (new) Canadian Constitution 2017 in a course taught by Professors Johanne Poirier (McGill) and Daniel Turp (UdeM). The class ended with a simulation of a Constituent Assembly in Ottawa.

Chair news & events

19 May 2017: 2e Conférence Beetz-Laskin en droit constitutionnel canadien

The MacKell Chair was at the Beetz-Laskin conference to participate on a panel examining Federalism, Cooperation and Amendment, at Université de Montréal's Faculty of Law.

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8-9 June 2017: Fiscal Federalism in Plurinational Societies: Equality and Autonomy


The MacKell Chair participated to the CRIDAQ conference at Université du Québec à Montréal.

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Canadian Federalism colloquium: a look back 

The "Canadian Federalism and its Future: Actors and Institutions" colloquium was organized in the context of the 150th anniversary of the Canadian confederation by the Groupe de recherche sur les sociétés plurinationales in partnership with McGill University's Peter MacKell Chair on Federalism, and the McGill and Laval University faculties of law.

Taking place over two days, the conference started at McGill University in Montreal, continued on a train to Quebec City, and ended at the Musée de la civilisation in Old Quebec City. See a write-up of the colloquium and some photos in Focus online (McGill Law's e-monthly).

150e anniversaire du Canada: Le moment de faire le point

Johanne Poirier | 20 mars 2017 | Le Devoir

"L'année 2017 marque les 150 ans de la fédération canadienne. L’anniversaire ne mérite pas nécessairement une célébration. Mais c’est le moment de faire le point et de lever les tabous. Imaginez des jeunes qui se disent que la coexistence pacifique et les différents modes de réconciliation doivent, aussi, passer par une discussion sur nos valeurs partagées et sur les modalités d’organisation et de partage du pouvoir. Imaginez que le mot « Constitution » ne soit plus un « vilain mot »… ou un somnifère…" Continue reading...

About the Chair

The Peter MacKell Chair in Federalism aims to reflect on the foundations, potential, risks and concrete incarnations of the “federal phenomenon” understood broadly.

The inaugural holder of the Peter MacKell Chair is Professor Johanne Poirier.

The Peter MacKell Chair in Federalism was created at the Faculty of Law thanks to a generous bequest from Peter R.D. MacKell.

Media mentions

Une Chaire sur le fédéralisme voit le jour”, entrevue avec Pierre Vallée, Le Devoir, 14 nov 2015.

Regards neufs sur la Constitution”, interview with the MacKell Chair, Law Focus online, McGill’s Faculty of Law monthly electronic magazine.

About Peter R.D. MacKell

Peter R.D. MacKell, QC, BCL’51 (1927-2011) was a well known Montreal business lawyer. Born in Ottawa, the son of Air Commander David Edward MacKell, CBE, and of Margaret Eileen Kehoe, Peter MacKell was educated at the Royal Canadian Naval College at Royal Roads, and at McGill University.

Admitted to the bar in 1951, he began his career with Duquet MacKay, later moving to Martineau Walker, today known as Fasken Martineau. He led the firm as Chairman for several years, before retiring in 1995.

Peter MacKell handled many significant litigation and commercial briefs in the course of his career, representing major Canadian and foreign clients. He was also a highly sought-after corporate director, and a member of the board of Goodfellow inc. for many years, as well as a director of the Régie de l’assurance-dépôts du Québec.