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Essay on The Charter of Rights and Freedoms

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The Charter of Rights and Freedoms has fundamentally shaped Canadian society since its inception through the Constitution Act of 1982. Promising egalitarian, linguistic, religious as well as other basic rights, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is one of the primary doctrines in which Canadian law is founded upon. Many have argued that the advent of the Charter has transformed Canadian society into one that is preoccupied with that of rights. The rise in social movements, specifically in areas of women’s rights, indigenous rights and homosexual rights, are indicative of this. The Charter has created a divide amongst those who believe that this rise in a “rights culture” is ultimately beneficial if not necessary for Canadian society, especially in preserving the voices of the marginalized citizenry who until recently remained invisible in the eyes of parliament, and those who believe that Canada as nation has become preoccupied with preserving the right of gays, lesbians, women and other minority groups that it has sacrificed its majoritarian values. The word preoccupation, especially used in this context, holds a negative connotation suggesting some sort of obsession, and to describe Canada as a nation “preoccupied” with rights is an overstatement. Canada’s recent Charter revolution has often been seen as a means by which minority groups enact their own changes which may or may not be seen as desirable by a majority of people. However, because the Charter is important in preserving the rights of marginalized or minority groups, this can ultimately be beneficial for those whose world views have historically been persecuted. The subsequent paragraphs will further discuss how Canada’s recent Charter revolution has transformed Canada...


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...hat a cultural shift will help create a nation who adheres to its promise of equality so that all may be recognized as legitimate members of the Canadian society. The Charter Revolution has allowed those who were previously disregarded second class citizens to participate fully, thus contributing to the overall success of Canadian society.



Works Cited

Epp, Charles R. The Rights Revolution: Lawyers, Activists, and Supreme Courts in Comparative Perspective. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998.

Morton, F. L., and Rainer Knopff. The Charter Revolution and the Court Party. Peterborough, Ont.: Broadview Press, 2000.

Smith, Miriam. "Ghosts of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council: Group Politics and Charter Litigation in Canadian Political Science." Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue Canadienne de science politique 35, no. 01 (2002): 3 - 29.



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