POL214-Issue 4 and 6.docx

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Political Science
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Erin Tolley

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POL214­Issue 4 and 6 Issue 4 Is the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms Antidemocratic? Yes • The BNA act of 1867 divided law making authority between Parliament and the  provincial legislatures and thereby limited authority • Yet in 1982, this all changed. The federal division of powers remained, but for the  first time substantive limitations were placed on lawmaking authority.   • The judges were given power to strike down laws that in their opinion was  inconsistent with the charter. 211 • Difference between judges and legislators o To become a judge in Canada, you must first be a lawyer, and you must  have been one for ten years. You are appointed to age seventy­five through  a closed process and you are made constitutionally accountable to no one. o Judges can now overturn deliberate policy decisions made by the elected  representatives of the people where those decisions do not accord with the  way the judges interpret the charter.  • Liberalism is about individual rights, about the ability of the individual to do as  they please without the interference of the state. • Democracy is about the interests of the collectivity the majority rule, about power  to the people.  • Interest group politics is anti­democratic in two ways.  It erodes citizenship, the essential precondition to democratic  politics.  Seeking to the courts as a means of short circuiting and bypassing  democratic processes. No • We ought to ask whether Canadian judges using the charter can play a useful role  in enhancing the quality of our democracy Issue 6 Is the Prime Minister too Powerful? Yes • One must consider  o Cabinet and the leading members of the prime ministers political party o Public opinion and the constitutional requirement of periodic elections o Parliament and its institutionalized opposition and feature
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