McDonald Lectures

The McDonald is a widely advertised, endowed lecture hosted by the Centre for Constitutional Studies and attended by academics, students, lawyers, judges and the public. Its primary purpose is to provide a diverse audience with an insightful and engaging lecture dealing with issues of a constitutional nature.

The McDonald Lecture is distinct from the other speakers and events the Centre hosts during the year because it is endowed through a fund bequeathed by the family of the late Justice David C. McDonald. The Endowment provides the Centre with sufficient resources to bring in world renowned experts and to host a reception following the lecture. It also allows for advertising to the broader public, thus increasing the size and scope of audience. The lecture itself also serves to showcase the work of the Centre for Constitutional Studies and thus to provide an opportunity for fund development.

Because the McDonald Lecture is endowed to the Faculty of Law and hosted by the Centre for Constitutional Studies, a Centre at the University of Alberta, the lecturer chosen in any given year will depend on specific issues that are deemed by the Centre as important to address, as well as on the funds available through the Endowment.


34th Annual McDonald Lecture (2023)
“Nationalism under Scrutiny:
The Promises of Liberal Nationalism and Multinational Federalism”
Professor Alain-G Gagnon

33rd Annual McDonald Lecture (2022)
“The Free Speech Recession: And How to End It”
Jacob Mchangama

32nd Annual McDonald Lecture (2021)
“The Impotence of Courage: Is the Constitution Flawed or are We?”
Celina Caesar-Chavannes

31st Annual McDonald Lecture (2020)
“The Separation of Powers and the Challenge to Constitutional Democracy“
Professor Jacob T. Levy

30th Annual McDonald Lecture (2019)
“Schrodingers Senate: Experiments in Constitutional Reform“
Hon. Paula Simons, Senator

29th Annual McDonald Lecture (2017)
“Toward the Next Round of Constitutional Talks: Revising the Constitution Act, 1982″
George Elliott Clarke

28th Annual McDonald Lecture (2016)
“Policing the Police”
Christy Lopez

27th Annual McDonald Lecture (2015)
“Canada’s Colonial Constitution”
Professor John Borrows

26th Annual McDonald Lecture (2014)
“Anti-Terrorism Laws and Human Rights”
Professor George Williams

25th Annual McDonald Lecture (2013)
“Section 35’s Empty Shell of Constitutional Promise”
Professor Pamela Palmater

24th Annual McDonald Lecture (2012)
“Judicial Legitimacy: How It Is Gained, How It Is Lost”
David Frum

23rd Annual McDonald Lecture (2011)
“Dignity in Administrative Law: Judicial Deference in a Culture of Justification”
Professor David Dyzenhaus

22nd Annual McDonald Lecture (2010)
“Canada’s Response to Terrorism”
The Hon. Justice Frank Iaocobucci

21st Annual McDonald Lecture (2009)
“Canada’s First Lesbian Sexual Assault Trial: Yellowknife, 1955”
Professor Constance Backhouse

20th Annual McDonald Lecture (2008)
“What Federalism Means in Québec”
Professor Guy Laforest

19th Annual McDonald Lecture (2007)
“The Future of International Justice”
Mr. Richard J. Goldstone

18th Annual McDonald Lecture (2006)
“The Challenges of Security in an Open Society”
The Honourable Anne McLellan

17th Annual McDonald Lecture (2005)
“Three Ways to Make a Constitution”
Professor Donald Horowitz

16th Annual McDonald Constitutional Lecture (2004)
“Human Rights: Southern Voices”
Professor William Twining

15th Annual McDonald Constitutional Lecture (2003)
“Legislating with Integrity”
Professor Jeremy Waldron

14th Annual McDonald Constitutional Lecture (2002)
“What is a Good Constitution Good for?”
Professor Frank I. Michelman

13th Annual McDonald Constitutional Lecture (2001)
“The Charter Revolution: Is it Undemocratic?”
Dean Peter Hogg

12th Annual McDonald Constitutional Lecture (2000)
“Quebec Succession: 1995 and Now”
Professor Robert A. Young

11th Annual McDonald Constitutional Lecture (1999)
“Searching for Multinational Canada: The Rhetoric of Confusion”
Professor Alan C. Cairns

10th Annual McDonald Constitutional Lecture (1998)
“Equality Jurisprudence in the South African Constitutional Court”
Justice Albie L. Sachs

9th Annual McDonald Constitutional Lecture (1997)
“Contributing to Democracy: Some Paradoxes of the 1990’s”
Professor Carole Pateman

8th Annual McDonald Constitutional Lecture (1996)
“Can Democracy Survive McWorld’s Market Myths?”
Professor Benjamin R. Barber

7th Annual McDonald Constitutional Lecture (1995)
“The Constitution of Dying: Exploring the Right to Medically-Assisted Suicide”
Professor George P. Fletcher

6th Annual McDonald Constitutional Lecture (1994)
“Sovereignty, Racism and Human Rights: Indian Self-Determination and
the Modern World Legal System”
Professor Robert A. Williams, Jr.

5th Annual McDonald Constitutional Lecture (1993)
“The Crisis of Multi-National Federations: Post-Charlottetown Reflections”
Professor Philip Resnick

4th Annual McDonald Constitutional Lecture (1992)
“Reconceiving Rights as Relationship”
Professor Jennifer Nedelsky

3rd Annual McDonald Constitutional Lecture (1991)
“Can National Unity Survive the Charter?”
Professor Charles Taylor

2nd Annual McDonald Constitutional Lecture (1990)
“The Possibility of Interpretive Liberalism”
Professor Mark V. Tushnet

1st Annual McDonald Constitutional Lecture (1989)
“Equality, Democracy, and Constitution: We the People in Court”
Professor Ronald Dworkin

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Centre for Constitutional Studies
448D Law Centre
University of Alberta
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