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As written, the British North America Act of 1867 should have provided the authoritative guide to the law governing the division of powers between the national and provincial governments of Canada, but by the 1940s the federal constitution was a very different document from that compared originally by John A. Macdonald and his colleagues. In this thorough and engaging examination of the critical role of the courts - the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council and the Supreme Court of Canada - in shaping Canadian federalism, John Saywell argues that the courts always have and still do 'make law' - law that can be largely subjective and that often bears little relationship to the text or purposes of the Canadian constitution. Saywell begins his study by offering new evidence and insights on the structure of the 1867 constitution. Moving beyond a simple examination of previously published reports, he analyses archival transcripts of oral arguments before the Judicial Committee to determine how the committee interacted with counsel, developed arguments, and came to conclusions.;Critical of the jurisprudence of the Judicial Committee, which he argues virtually eliminated some of the critical legislative powers of the federal government and destroyed its capacity to act on the economic and social problems of the twentieth century, Saywell credits the Supreme Court with restoring the balance in the federation and strengthening the national government.