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Greg Flynn (95)
Lecture 8

lecture 8.docx

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Political Science
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Greg Flynn

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• Does the Charter Apply? • Rights Violated? – find out today. • Violation saved by Section 1? 1. Section 2(a) 2. Definitions – Charter says everyone has the right to conscience and religion. What is everyone? That means that all persons claiming, if you are in the country regardless of your citizenship status you can claim freedom of religion. What about corporations? They actually cannot claim freedom of religion in a positive way.A corporation cannot possess religious beliefs because they are fictitious people. Corporations cannot say that corporate tax act violates religious beliefs. Corporations cannot claim thatAnti-Sunday shopping laws violate their religious beliefs because they cannot possess such beliefs. But they can possess negative religious violations; corporations can say that the law violates the religious beliefs of person. This isn’t claim a freedom of religion on behalf of corporations, but a claim for freedom of religion; they say laws cannot violate anyone’s religion. However, government can violate your freedom of religion rights under section 33, so we do not have absolute claim to our religious beliefs in this country. If they can justify the violation in a democratic and free society, then we lose those rights. Freedom of religion is one of the most important (the very first right) that the founders decided to protect. We cannot discount the fact that religion has very much to do with our society; our society is founded upon these belief structures.Almost all of our social functions and relationships are premised on some sort of religious structure. Example: marriage is religiously based. Our education system, in some parts are based on religious beliefs, we get Christmas off, three days off for Easter. Our weekends are predicated upon Christian day of rest. Canadian society is and has been premised on a belief structure. Even the constitution mentions the religious beliefs; the Charter itself says supremacy of god. Religious freedom along with section 15 tends to be rights that people can make group of rights, that this offends a group of people. a. Conscience – freedom of conscience and religion. What we mean by conscience and religion. Courts read them as being separate things. It is an or, you have freedom of conscience or religion. The thing about freedom of conscience is no one knows what it means, the only case it has been commented upon is that of Morgentaler. This case struck down our abortion laws. Madam Justice Wilson, wrote a concurrent decision (so not the majority, not the decision that made the law, agreed in the end with majority). Her decision is persuasive. In relation to section 2(a) she held that regulation of abortion is a denial of freedom of conscience, which is a personal morality not founded in religion. This is one of her arguments as to why that abortion laws violated rights then. Majority decision was written with section 7. This is what we get from court as to what consciousness means, they are not based on a deity but have characteristics of personal morality and a belief structure that are binding upon an individual. R v. Morgentaler [1988] 1 SCR 30 “personal morality which is not founded in religion”…”conscientious beliefs which are not religiously motivated b. Religion – definition in the following case. it typically involves a particular and comprehensive….pretty vague. What we get from the courts’decision is that they do not want to judge whether something is a religion or not. They do not want to say that is an acceptable religion and that is not. They associate more with the practices, a practice that fosters a connection with the divine. Syndicat Northcrest v.Amselem [2004] 2 SCR “particular and comprehensive system of faith and worship. It is about freely and deeply held personal conviction or beliefs connected to an individual’s spiritual faith and integrally linked to his or her self- definition and spiritual fulfillment, the practises of which allow individuals to foster a connection with the divine or with the subject or object of that spiritual faith.” 3. Scope of Freedom or Religion – Supreme Court set out a scope to determine what religion means. It is in the context of Drug Mart case – close stores on Sundays for the explicit purpose of observing Christian day of faith. In order to have freedom of religion you have to do at least these three things. Where these three things have been infringed upon then people do not have freedom of religion. Big M Drug Mart a.
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