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POLS 2300 (129)
Chapter 3

Week 2 Readings - Chapter 3.docx

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University of Guelph
Political Science
POLS 2300
Tamara Small

POLS 2300: Canadian Government and Politics Week 2 Readings: Chapter 3 – The Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Henry Morgentaler, women should have the right to safe abortion - At the time could result in life sentence but he opened a clinic - Defied abortion law The Challenge of Defending Rights and Freedoms - Louise Arbour, Philippe Kirsch and Steven Lewis in their quest to better the well being of the worlds peoples have increased Canada’s profile as a defender of freedom and democracy - Anti Terrorism Act was a legal response to the attack o Severe penalties for those who provide any support to terrorist organization o Police to arrest suspects without a warrant o Provided for secreted investigative hearings and testify o Broadened surveillance powers for police and national security agencies - Measures necessary to deal with the threat of terrorism and protect public safety - Giving up rights an freedoms meant the loss of something valuable and opened door to arbitrary and oppressive government actions - If people are stripped of their rights can lead to greater erosion of freedoms for all Historical Development - The British political system is based on the principle of parliamentary supremacy, supreme law making body with ability to legislate hasn’t been restricted by superior constitutional document - British courts cant overturn an act of Parliament - English system of common law (accumulation of court decisions) reflects and reinforces this orientation to individual freedom - Canada has had a written constitution that places limits on the supremacy of Parliament - Constitution Act 1867 divides legislative authority between Parliament and provincial legislatures - Right to use either English or French in the Canadian Parliament, the Quebec legislature and in federal and Quebec courts was protected along with the existing rights and privileges of denominational schools - Some justice’s used the concept of an “implied bill of rights” in the constitution derived from the preamble to the Constitution Act 1867 The Canadian Bill of Rights - 1960, quite limited in its significance - Ordinary statute didn’t clearly specify that the courts had the power to invalidate legislation that violated rights and freedoms - Nor did it fully challenge the traditional principle of the supremacy of Parliament - Only applied to matters within the legislative authority of the Canadian Parliament, although most provincial governments adopted their own bill of rights - Majority opinion implied that the Bill of Rights couldn’t be used to invalidate existing legislation - Bill of Rights should not render “Parliament powerless” to enact “legislation which treats Indians living on Reserves differently from other Canadians in relation to their property and civil rights” - Requirement of “equality before the law” was claimed to mean only equality in the administration and enforcement of the law - The only case that it was used to invalidate legislation that infringed rights and freedoms involves a Status Indian who has been conducted under the provisions of the Indian Act for being intoxicated in Yellowknife while not on a reserve - Drybones – Supreme Court upheld the acquittal on the grounds that a provision of the Indian Act was discriminatory by providing a more severe penalty on the basis of race that would apply to a non Indian The Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Liberal PM Trudeau advocated the adoption of the Charter - In the face of growing nationalism and separatism in Quebec he also saw the protection of French and English language rights of people throughout Canada as being crucial to promoting national unity
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