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Lecture 15

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McMaster University
Political Science
Greg Flynn

Final exam: Hypothetical fact scenario, probably on Multiple Rights. No terms!!! 1. Section 15 – Equality: probably caused the most controversy of all of them. This is where the judicial activists start acting up. Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to equal protection before and under the law without discrimination based on age, race, religion, ethnicity, mental or physical disability. 15(2) provide for those affirmative action programs if the governments decide they want to undertake. 2. WHO CAN CLAIM BENEFIT a. Individual – every individual has the right. From previous discussions it means nay one physically present in Canada whether a citizen or non-citizen and any Canadian outside the country can claim it through the government. It probably excludes corporations, directly precludes corporation. Can argue a law in question discriminates an individual, because it does so, it is unconstitutional so it doesn’t apply to us (corporation) either. So corporations cannot directly claim discrimination but can do so through an individual. 3. LIMITATIONS OF EQUALITY- applies to all government actions. a. Section 33 and Section 1- If the government of Canada decides to discriminate against Canadians it can do so provided it explicitly it says so. Subject to section 1, equality rights can be violated if the government can demonstrate it is justifiable in a free and democratic society. b. Section 15(1) – meaning of ‘law’- The question raised is if this right applies to laws passed by the government only. The courts have held that while the wording of the right suggests that might be the case, the meaning suggests that it should be applied to all areas of government – not only the words but also the effect of the law. Eldridge v. BC – hospital unable to provide translation services to Ms. Eldridge for medical purposes. The hospital did so because it did not have the funds; it was a budgetary decision that had nothing to do with statutory decision. They found that it was the decision that affected the law and subject to section 15. Vriend V. Alberta – lab assistant at a Christian school inAlberta, when questioned directly by the school authority about his lifestyle, he admitted he is a homosexual. He was terminated because his lifestyle was against the school rules. He sued under Human Rights Code but it did not include sexual orientation, so he sued the Government of Alberta that not including sexual orientation is an infringement of his rights. The government of Alberta said it is in their authority to do so. The court disagreed. c. PrivateActivity - The activity of individuals who are non-governmental in natur
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