I'm a Political and Constitutional Theorist at McGill University and a PhD fellow at the Research Group on Constitutional Studies, under the supervision of Professor Jacob Levy, where I specialize in the history of political thought and constitutional theory. My research in both the history of political thought and constitutional theory straddles what Jeremy Waldron calls "political political theory," focusing not just on politics as an abstraction or justice as a political ideal, but the institutions and norms in which politics is actually played out, like political parties and parliaments.
My dissertation is tentatively titled "The Democratic Crown" and is an attempt to sketch out an active constitutional and democratic theory of the Westminster executive as it has developed in the Westminster constitutional order. It is split roughly into two parts. The first part is a genealogy of the concept of "responsible government" and attempts to trace out the history of this idea and how we end up with the distinct Westminster executive whereby the power of the crown is exercised by a democratically elected executive that resides within parliament. The second part of the dissertation attempts to sketch out a rough constitutional theory of how a democratically responsible (responsible in the normative sense) executive ought to behave. I am doing this by focusing on a variety of specific and sometimes contentious uses of executive power and attempting to draw principles from these different powers. These include both prerogative and delegated powers, and specific examples include things like prorogation, the prerogative of mercy, treaty negotiations, Henry VIII clauses, and secondary legislation.
Within both the history of political thought and constitutional theory, my research focuses on the Westminster and parliamentary tradition, both as it was understood and conceptualized in political thought, and as it actually emerged and evolved in the early modern and modern era. Will Sellinger has described “parliamentarism” as a distinct but important tradition within liberal political thought, and some of the specific thinkers I include in this tradition are Coke, de Lolme, Burke, Bolingbroke, Tocqueville, Constant, Mill, Bagehot, Weber, and others. In constitutional theory, my interests are primarily in what has been called by Richard Bellamy and others "political constitutionalism," as opposed to legal constitutionalism, and constitutionalism under Westminster systems more broadly. This includes an interest in judicial review and the legitimacy (or illegitimacy) of the judiciary being vested with the power to overturn democratic legislation, especially using rights review to do so.
I also have a special interest in Canadian political thought, conservative thought, and the political thought of Confederation, especially the uniquely Canadian tradition of "Red Toryism," and some of the figures associated with this tradition like George Grant.