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NSCL Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

STILL CONTROVERSIAL AFTER 40 YEARS

“After 40 years, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms has become a firm fixture of Canada’s constitutional architecture. More importantly, it has been embraced by Canadians across the political spectrum and has become one of the most popular emblems of our polity. [It is]…an instrument that has increasingly come to represent our national identity…”~Prof. Ryan Alford

“From a provincial point of view, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was one of the worst bargains ever struck in the history of Canadian federalism. In practice it is little more than the old, discredited power of disallowance in disguise: a federal veto over provincial policy exercised by the Supreme Court rather than by the cabinet. Pierre Trudeau must be smiling from his grave.” ~ Prof. Ted Morton

“Far from a series of bright-line rules, the Charter encoded a set of aspirations, broad principles by which we wish to be governed, together with promises on the part of our governments to abide by them.” ~ Andrew Coyne

April 17, 2022 was the 40th anniversary of the enactment of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Although the Charter has widespread acceptance by Canadians, it still attracts controversy.

What should be the role of the Charter in our changing society?


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