Constitutional Odyssey is an account of the politics of making and changing Canada's constitution from Confederation to the present day. Peter H. Russell frames his analysis around two contrasting constitutional philosophies - Edmund Burke's conception of the constitution as a set of laws and practices incrementally adapting to changing needs and societal differences, and John Locke's ideal of a Constitution as a single document expressing the will of a sovereign people as to how they are to be governed. The first and second editions of Constitutional Odyssey, published in 1992 and 1993 respectively, received wide-ranging praise for their ability to inform the public debate. This third edition continues in that tradition. Russell adds a new preface, and a new chapter on constitutional politics since the defeat of the Charlottetown Accord in 1993.
He also looks at the 1995 Quebec Referendum and its fallout, the federal Clarity Act, Quebec's Self-Determination Act, the Agreement on Internal Trade, the Social Union Framework Agreement and the Council of the Federation, progress in Aboriginal self-determination such as Nunavut and the Nisga'a Agreement, and the movement to reduce the democratic deficit in parliamentary government. Comprehensive and eminently readable, Constitutional Odyssey is as important as ever.
Peter H. Russell is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto. He has written extensively on issues related to the Canadian Constitution and Canadian politics in general.