Republicanism has emerged as an important school of thought in political theory and has exerted a strong influence on Anglo-American legal scholarship. Republicanism has, however, been largely absent from Canadian constitutional law scholarship and this absence is particularly noticeable in the legal literature on federalism. In this article, I intend to show that a particular version of republicanism, which stresses the norm of non-domination, provides a promising normative framework for analysing the multinational elements of Canadian federalism. The argument seeks to achieve two main goals. First, it aims to build on Philip Pettit’s suggestive analyses of minority rights and federalism in order to arrive at a robust republican conception of multinational federations. Second, the argument aims to demonstrate that republican theory can benefit from a close contextual analysis of a particular set of political institutions and that Pettit’s version of republicanism is amenable to this kind of attention to context.


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pp. 359-401
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