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POLS 304 (1)

Politics and the Constitution Introducing the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.pdf

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Political Studies
POLS 304
Charles Smith

Politics and the Constitution: Introducing the Charter of Rights and Freedoms January-08-13 10:18 AM Even though there are reasons to do something, not everything is lawful. For example, the idea of murder, even if it is self-defence, is "illegal." Does the Charter matter? - Countries with a constitution specify specific rules. They are supposed to reflect certain values. - Rights only seem to matter when they are being threatened. - Constitutions can be perfect in the abstract, but very messy in the ground. ○ As a result, interpretation and analysis results in seeing values not apply to the ground level in terms of interpretation. ○ They are purposefully made unclear. - What is Constitutionalism? ○ A set of binding norms and principles of political power in a sovereign state. ○ Non-state entities can have constitutions. ○ Canadian Constitution outlines powers of federalism, monarchical structure, etc. ○ Restricts powers of citizens and governments have power to certain things.  Example: feds have powers to sign treaties while provinces cannot do that.  Further example: education is a provincial area. ○ Two prominent Canadian constitutional scholars (R.I. Cheffins and R.N. Tucker) argued: "A constitution is more than a mechanical set of ground rules. It is a mirror reflecting the national soul. It reflects those values the country regards as important, and shows how these values will be protected." ○ When one reads the Constitution, it is more than a simply a dispute.  It's a group of judges' interpretation.  Decisions will also be reflective of dominant political, economic, social positions of the time. ○ We already know that Canada's legal system has been shaped by its past. ○ Responsible government: Parliament is supreme! No legal or individual body can overrule it.  The law acts politically?! - Rule of Law ○ It's pretty clear that not all laws mean the same thing to
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