UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Expert witnesses : why the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada selects legal mobilization Nikkel, Joel David


Two recent areas of controversy include the "legalization" and the "evangelical-ization" of Canadian politics. The paper connects these two areas of controversy by examining why Canada’s largest evangelical interest group, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC), has emerged as a frequent intervener in Canada's courts. In order to answer this question, the paper combines an analysis of the interveners at the Supreme Court 1985-2009 with a descriptive analysis of the EFC’s selection of legal mobilization that relies upon elite interviews, EFC publications, and public documents. The paper then tests the dominant explanations for interest group legal engagement (articulated as four hypotheses) against the EFC's experience. The paper shows that the EFC's selection of judicial engagement is not determined by their legal resources, the opening of political opportunities, or normative commitments to judicial review; but rather, by an “awakening” to the increased salience of the courts as a policy arena. Because of the EFC's ambivalence regarding the normative place of the judiciary in Canadian political life, I term their attitude "judicial realism". As a result of this perception, the EFC adds legal engagement to their other lobbying strategies. In order to be where important decisions are made, the EFC mobilizes in the courts. Because of this attitude towards judicial power, the evidence suggests that the EFC will continue to select legal engagement regardless of any advantages they may accrue in other lobbying arenas.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported