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Lecture 10

Lecture 10- Charter of Rights.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Political Science
Christopher Cochrane

Canadian Political Science Lecture 10: Charter of Rights and Freedoms Liberal Democracy • The liberal government limits the government’s powers, and introduces rights and freedoms. The idea of liberty and majority rules is introduced, so dictatorships are removed. Positive and Negative Rights are introduced. Negative rights are rights the state can’t stop you from doing, and positive rights are what the state needs to give to you (right to healthcare). • Liberty and democracy are both compatible and incompatible. The first example is Freedom of Speech, which all citizens must have to form a democracy and give a perspective on issues. Freedom of Religion is also important, as people should be allowed to wear and believe whatever they want. Finally, Freedom of Association is needed so political groups and parties are formed. The incompatibilities arise when liberals want the No harm rule which states that anyone can do whatever they want, as long as it doesn’t harm anyone else. This is tough, as a democracy needs to have a rule-based system – where do we draw the line? Evolution of Canadian Liberalism • The Bill of Rights was introduced with John Diefenbaker and signed and passed in the 1960s. It is much different from the United States, since it was a regular piece of legislation. This made it easily manageable, but not supreme and really awkward for judges. The judges and government could change the legislation to remove the right, which is both good and bad. At the time, it made it hard to say, “This law is against the Bill of Rights.” An example is Bliss v. R. (1979). Since the law created and the bills were both laws on equal ground, it made it hard to change laws. • The Victoria Charter was a constitutional document made to be in line with what the Americans had created by Trudeau. He did not get enough support, and it was abandon in 1971 because it didn’t have enough support. In the 1980s, the Charter of Rights would be
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