Week 2 Lecture
Quebec’s Religious Freedom Law
Quebec is planning to pass a law that bans having or wearing large religious items for all government workers
Has been heavily attacked for:
o Attack on religious freedom
o Attack on especially minority religious groups (Seeks, Muslims, Jews)
Possibly a political strategy that this will increase their support from the Quebec people who are largely Christian
However, even though there is some of the above support, the value of religious freedom in Canada is so strong
that the criticism will be so strong that they will have to back off.
What is the law?
o Rules of golf are not a law.
o Rules regarding weed is a law, but it is not enforced because it is not worth the police’s time.
o Rules regarding abortion are a law, but the government was not capable of enforcing it in the court.
Machiavelli law: If law is not enforced, it is not a law.
o Becomes more of a suggestion than a law
o Ex. Justin Trudeau admitting to pot use
Natural law: Human laws are at best a natural
o Ex. If a law made that things naturally move up, it is invalid.
o Ex. If a government makes murder legal, it people will say it is not!
Utilitarian law: Law that makes the most people happiest is the law.
o But who gets to decide what is best for society
Random law: Law is random and arbitrary
o Ex. If you are in court for killing a person with drunk driving, the judge might have a friend who was killed
by drunk driving in the past. Court will not be easy.
Definition of law must:
o Have some enforcement
o Have some good for society
o Make sense in society
Should not only be interested in “what the law is” but also “what will the law be?”
o Ex. The doctor who was sent to court
Distinctions of law
Civil law: Anything that is not ‘criminal law’
o Often private parties. Government can be involved, but they act as a private entity
o The winner must prove its case against “balance of probabilities” (that your probability of the set of
events is more likely than the other)
o Always the state versus the accuser
o The government must prove its case against “any reasonable doubt”
o Partially because the costs are extremely high for the accuser. This reasonable doubt must be given to
the worst of offenders, because when we don’t, nobody can be given reasonable doubt, and much more
people will be wrongfully accused.
o Release on technicality: If the police, prosecutor, etc did not do their job properly in any way, it will be
resolved in favour of the accuser. Public law: Always involves the government
o Ex. Criminal law
o Ex. Can be civil law
Private law: Between