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SOSC 2350 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Positive Liberty, Judicial Activism, Complex Number

Social Science
Course Code
SOSC 2350
Amelie Barras
Study Guide

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Essay questions:
Please note that two of these essay questions will appear on the mid-term exam.
Good luck!
(1) Law 62 in Quebec, passed in October 2017, requires that everyone uncover their face when receiving
public services or when providing those services. In responding to critics that the law targeted specifically
Muslim women wearing full-face veil, Justice Minister Lavallée noted that the law would apply equally to all
and that it would: ‘affect people wearing scarves, bandanas and large sunglasses, as well as burkas and
niqabs’ (CTV, 2017). Using at least two concepts and/or theories discussed in class such as formal equality,
substantive equity, harm principle, artifactualism and social change discuss her position. Substantiate your
answer by drawing on readings.
Some Info about bill 62
The Quebec’s Liberal government’s “religious neutrality” legislation, Bill 62, passed into law on Oct.
18. Its provision that people must uncover their faces when giving or receiving public services sowed
alarm and confusion among Muslim Quebeckers and public servants who wondered how, and by
whom, it would be interpreted and enforced.
The National Council of Canadian Muslims and Canadian Civil Liberties Association are challenging
part of Bill 62 in Quebec Superior Court, hoping to suspend the face-covering ban until a full
constitutional challenge can be heard.
Personnel members of bodies must exercise their functions with their face uncovered, unless they
have to cover their face, in particular because of their working conditions or because of occupational
or task-related requirements.
Similarly, persons receiving services from such personnel members must have their face uncovered.
The bill effectively targets Muslim women wearing face-covering niqabs and burkas. Critics of the bill
say it is religious and anti-immigrant discrimination, and is unconstitutional. Others question how
effective it will be, because the next part of the bill leaves room for personal accommodations:
An accommodation that involves an adaptation of either of those rules is possible but must be
refused if the refusal is warranted in the context for security or identification reasons or because of
the level of communication required.

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Reference Sections 2(a)(b) and 15 (Charter of Rights & Freedoms)
Section 2 – Fundamental Freedoms
a) freedom of conscience and religion;
b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression
Section 15 – Equality Rights
(1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal
benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or
ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.
(2) Subsection (1) does not preclude any law, program or activity that has as its object the amelioration of
conditions of disadvantaged individuals or groups including those that are disadvantaged because of race,
national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.
Equal opportunity arises from the similar treatment of all people, unhampered by artificial barriers or
prejudices or preferences, except when particular distinctions can be explicitly justified.
Substantive equity recognises that policies and practices put in place to suit the majority of clients may
appear to be non-discriminatory but may not address the specific needs of certain groups of people. In
effect they may be indirectly discriminatory, creating systemic discrimination.
This term, sometimes called fair equality of opportunity, is a somewhat broader and more expansive
concept than the more limiting formal equality of opportunity and it deals with what is sometimes described
as indirect discrimination.
John Stuart Mill articulated this principle in his essay, On Liberty
, where he argued that, "The only purpose
for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to
prevent harm to others."
A rational means for protecting the members of society from social harm n (ie particularly criminal law) n A
simplistic theory. Rational law making has an issue when it comes to doctor- assisted suicide. But who gets
to define what is “harmful”?
Functionalist laws How do laws emerge? Laws are “reinstitutionalized customs” Law as a restatement of
customs enforced by legal institutions A crystallization of custom, of the existing normative order n Laws
are passed because they represent the voice of the people A consensus perspective Customs = norms or
rules about the ways in which people must behave if social institutions are to perform their functions &
society is to endure. The norms have changed and the consensus of the people is now different.
(2) Madison in the Federalist Papers explains: ‘[T] he society itself will be
broken into so many parts, interests and classes of citizens, that the rights of

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individuals, or of the minority, will be in little danger from interested
combinations of the majority’. What does he mean? How is this related to
understandings of the rule law? Substantiate your answer by drawing on
Madison is referring to the idea that although a division of power is important for the rule of law, too much
separation (of power) would diminish the ability for one level of government to have a guaranteed amount of
the need a limited constitution
Power is being separated in many different ways to protect minorities for a particular group to take
away all the power
Social contract- to protect minorities
Rule of Law is analogous to the notion of “good” : everyone is for it, but have contrasting convictions about
what it is. Authority and influence of law in society […]; (hence) the principle whereby all members of
society (including those in government) are considered equally subject to publicly disclosed legal codes and
“Wherever law ends, tyranny begins” “Freedom of men under government is, to have a standing rule to live
by, common to everyone of that society, and made by the legislative power erected in it; a liberty to follow
my own will in all things, where the rule prescribes not; and not to be subject to the inconstant, uncertain,
arbitrary will of another man….”(Locke, 17)
James Madison begins his famous federalist paper by explaining that the purpose of this essay is to help
the readers understand how the structure of the proposed government makes liberty possible. Each branch
should be, in Madison's opinion, mostly independent. To assure such independence, no one branch should
have too much power in selecting members of the other two branches. If this principle were strictly followed,
it would mean that the citizens should select the president, the legislators, and the judges. But the framers
recognized certain practical difficulties in making every office elective. In particular, the judicial branch would
suffer because the average person is not aware of the qualifications judges should possess. Judges should
have great ability, but also be free of political pressures. Since federal judges are appointed for life, their
thinking will not be influenced by the president who appoints them, nor the senators whose consent the
president will seek.
The members of each branch should not be too dependent on the members of the other two branches in the
determination of their salaries. The best security against a gradual concentration of power in any one branch
is to provide constitutional safeguards that would make such concentration difficult. The constitutional rights
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