instruments dec lared to be “the supreme law of Canada” by section .
ere are numerous statutes, orders, and other texts which, though not
referred to in section (), are nonetheless constitutional in nature.
Also to be included in a complete account of the Canadian constitution
are conventions: non-legal r ules of politica l practice which determine
some of the most basic features of Canadia n politics and government.
Yet another part of the unwritten constitution consists of common
law r ules of a constitutional natu re. It is these u nwritten laws of the
constitution that most significantly determine the place of internation-
al law in the Canadian legal order. e common law is the pr incipal
author of the reception system. e different rules by which customary
and conventional internat ional law enter t he Canadi an legal system
are creations of the common law not statute. e important role played
by interpretive presumptions and rules of judicial notice are features of
common law adjudication. Even such central featu res of the constitu-
tion as parliamentary sovereignty and the royal prerogative arguably
exist only on the sufferance of the common l aw, or are at least heav ily
dependant on it. Everywhere in these common law rules and structures
we find the conflicting principles of respec t for international law and
self-government. And every where we find the conflict diffused by rules
which alternatively favour one principle over the other in a m anner
which ult imately balances the two principles in a stable, if not a lways
harmonious, man ner.
One commentator has obser ved t hat t he silence of ou r wr itten
constitution on the application of international law leaves a “consti-
P. Hogg, Constitutio nal Law of Canada, th ed., loo seleaf (Toronto: Carswell,
) at s. . suggests t he Canadian Bi ll of Rights SC c. , the Supreme
Court Act R SC c. S-, and provi ncial human ri ghts instruments a s ex-
amples. Much could b e added to this list. A few e xamples include: federa l and
provincia l legislation concer ning elections; the s o-called Reg ional Veto Act
(An Act Res pecting Constitut ional Amendments SC c. ); certain Briti sh
instru ments (notably the Bill of Ri ghts (UK) Wil liam & Mary se ss. c. ,
the Royal P roclamation , repr inted at RSC App. II No. , the Q ue-
bec Act (UK ) George III c. , and the C onstitutional Act ( UK)
George III c. ); and t he so-called C larity Act SC c. .
Constitutional convent ions are rarely considered by c ourts. But see the illu min-
ating disc ussion in Reference re Amendment of the Const itution of Canada 
SCR at – [Patriation Reference]. See also A . Heard, Canadian Constit u-
tional Conventions: e Ma rriage of Law and Politics ( Toronto: Oxford Universit y