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POLB50Y3 Study Guide - Final Guide: Asian Values, Implicit-Association Test, Cultural Imperialism

Political Science
Course Code
Christopher Cochrane
Study Guide

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To what extent has the Charter of Rights undermined federalism and democracy in
Canada? Outline the central arguments in this debate, and use specific examples, past and
present, to support your own argument.
federalism in Canada, the impression that the power amongst the federa; and
provincial governments should be distributed in a way that they’re equal, and one
does not have more power than the other
democracy equality, sovereignty, majority rule, and political freedom
arguing that the charter does NOT undermine federalism and democracy in
it is a popular opinion that the charter is not democratic because it gives judges
too much power thus implying that the federal government has an advantage over
the provincial government
the charter preserves federalism by allocating an equal amount of power to federal
and provincial governments
democracy is achieved by the charter because it does not allow the overriding of
democratic rights
examples of cases that illustrate how the charter does not undermine federalism
and democracy is Vriend v. Alberta and Carter v. Canada
this case is a prime example of how different levels of government are affected
but is not affected by the charter as equal treatment is given thus illustrating
the case also exhibited that the result of the case was not handled only by the
judges showing that Charter exists beyond decisions of the court alone
in Vriend v. Alberta, one’s democratic rights were being protected as outlined in
the Charter by the provincial government in Alberta.
the case was based on the claim that Delwin Vriend was wrongfully terminated
from his job as a laboratory coordinator in Alberta because of his sexual
Vriend had filed a case with the Alberta Human Rights Comission for
discrimination, but they were unable to take his case because the Individual’s
Rights Protection Act of Alberta did not cover sexual orientation which led to
Vriend taking his case to court by saying that the Individual’s Right Protection
Act was in violation of the Charter
Vriend was successful with his case as the judge declared that Individual’s Rights
Protection Act was unconstitutional, and the term sexual orientation was added
into it so that there would be protection against discrimination of sexual
However, to Vriend’s disappointment the judge’s decision was not final as
Alberta’s government appealed the case to the Alberta Court of Appeal where on
a majority vote, the results were flipped. This exhibits that the system had a
democratic system through a majority rule
Later on Vriend had appealed this case to the Supreme Court of Canada in which
they agreed with the initial hearing of the case and undid the decision that the
Alberta Court of Appeal had made. This is a clear illustration of how eventhough
the Individual’s Rights Protection Act was under authority of Alberta, it did not
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make them superior therefore exhibiting federalism because of the equality
between the federal and provincial governments
The Charter also preserves federalism in this case by insuring that all aspects of
government are required equally to follow its laws
An important part of democracy is equality and Vriend v. Alberta showed that by
the Individual’s Rights Protection Act adding sexual orientation as a form of
Now to exhibit how federalism is preserved in regards to the federal government
you can look at the case of Carter v. Canada.
Carter v. Canada had to do with assisted suicide as Kay Carter who received
assisted suicide in Switzerland contested against the prohibition of assisted
suicide in Canada
The Criminal Code of Canada considers assisted suicide as a chargeable offence
and does not allow one to provide consent for their own death
Assisted suicide exists to help people die peacefully so they do not suffer from the
pain they endure because of their sickness
According to the Charter the section of the Criminal Code that prohibits assisted
suicide violates people’s rights to life, liberty, and security as stated in the Charter
However this as changed because the Supreme Court of Canada recently ruled out
the restrictions around doctor assisted suicide thus showing that the Charter does
in fact protect the democratic rights of citizens. Although it was the Supreme
Court who made this decision, the House of Commons and Senate were the ones
who voted on this bill therefore displaying democracy
it is argued that the charter is not democratic because of judges having too much
power as these judges were not elected and were appointed instead
the charter exists to be a higher power than the government, if individuals who are
elected into the government were the ones deciphering the charter, the charter
would not be able to serve its main purpose
when dating back to the time where the charter did not exists, it was the
judiciaries that were used to be an intermediary between the federal and
provincial government
the judiciaries since then have become responsible for protecting people’s
democratic rights after the Charter had come about
in reality judges are the ones preserving federalism and democracy through the
charter rather than undermining it
Even though the court’s decisions are final, plaintiffs and defendants are allowed
to appeal, and the House of Commons and Senate have the power to vote on
major matters thus preserving democracy
The Charter of Rights and Freedoms fulfils its purpose of ensuring that all people
in Canada are able to exercise their civil liberties.
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