April 17, 2007

25th anniversary of rights and freedoms...

25 years ago this week the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was enacted, thus establishing a more comprehensive codification of numerous rights of Canadian citizens than the previous Bill of Rights (1960). Such rights include fundamental freedoms, democratic rights, legal rights, equality rights, and mobility rights, among others.

Legal scholars (and politicians) on the right have argued that the Charter has enabled the proliferation of so-called activist judges. These are judges who use their dreaded leftist/liberal bias to make judgements in favour of special interest groups. A "special interest" group is a derogatory term referring to minority and marginalized groups (women, homosexuals, the mentally and physically disabled, etc). You'll note that the lobby groups representing Big Business (Tobacco, Automobiles, Weapons, Security, etc)are never referred to as special interest groups by those on the right. Only those pesky citizens demanding the same legal protection as corporations...

As flawed as the humans who drafted it, the Charter has helped to reflect and to refine Canadian values that are immensely respected globally. Canada's tradition of redefining equality rights and protecting fundamental freedoms of the person are a significant contribution to global human rights. It is an accomplishment worth celebrating--worthy of our pride and our steadfast commitment to uphold.

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