Why Canada isn't [yet] part of fab new Constitute site with searchable constitutions of the world

This new resource is a great example of what the web can do, as long as smart people put in a ton of work.  It is here. I have tweeted about it already:

Thanks to these folks http://comparativeconstitutionsproject.org/  we get this https://www.constituteproject.org  Compare #constitutions. Form & Function seem top notch.

Try searching “Equality regardless of gender”.  https://www.constituteproject.org/#/search  h/t @hargreaves_s

but … the #Canadian #Constitution isn’t there! Did they forget to add it to this #toolfordesigninggovernments ? Hmmm.

John O’Dowd ‏@odowdt13h  @OsgoodeIFLS Perhaps they’re waiting until Quebec signs up to it. 😉

I sent them a gentle note pointing out that #canada is an independent state with a #constitution – they should add it. #googleconstitute [not really accurate – I sent them a note in which i talked up the virtues of the Canadian constitution and asked when it would be up or if never, why?]


I sent my note to Tom Ginsburg, one of the three directors of the project (Zachary Elkins (University of Texas, Department of Government), Tom Ginsburg (University of Chicago, Law School), and James Melton (University College London), in cooperation with the Cline Center for Democracy at the University of Illinois), and received:

Thanks for your message!  The absence of Canada is temporary, and our site was supposed to explain why.  For countries that have multi-document constitutions (we’d put Canada in this category) we are still working on the technically difficult project of tagging the texts. 

We’ve now tried to clarify that not ALL independent countries are yet in the data, though we hope it will be just a few weeks before they are (though we’ll probably exclude the UK entirely.) 

We do apologize for the confusion, and rest assured that we think the Canadian constitution is an exceptionally important one, with more relevance for contemporary drafters than our own country’s rather old document. 

exceptionally important!  relevance! youth! and complexity. And not jealousy over these comments of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg recommending that countries looking for tips and tricks consider some of the more recent constitutions, including our Charter and the South African constitution  – agreement!  Some commentators, incidentally, said that Justice Ginsburg should resign.

The Constitute site now says:


Currently Constitute includes the constitution that was in force in September of 2013 for nearly every independent state in the world. Certain countries whose constitutional order consists of multiple documents, or whose constitutions are in transition, are temporarily omitted. Soon we will include many of these cases as well as a version of every available constitution ever written since 1789.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *