Entrenched within the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms lies the fundamental rights that Canadian citizens share. The primary freedoms recognized within Section 2 of the Charter, such as the freedom of speech and expression, are necessary for a free and democratic society. Yet, a crucial conflict of rights exists within the system when the freedom of expression is used to perpetuate willful hatred against a certain individual or group. Controversy arises from this conflict first and foremost because the freedom of expression is meant to secure each person the right to express ideas and opinions without governmental interference, irrespective of what that opinion may be. In this paper, I will discuss the conflicting views of restricting the freedom of expression when it is used to promote hatred. I refer to the insights offered by Joel Feinberg and Joseph Raz to advance the view that the “right” to freedom of expression is not final and absolute, as expressions of hated do in fact cause real harm to people, and there rights too must be taken into consideration. Fundamental rights should be viewed as a privilege, which includes a responsibility to respect and value the rights of others to provide for a truly liberal democracy. I will refer to the landmark judicial decision in the Canadian Supreme Court case of R. v. Keegstra to argue that the rights of individuals and groups to be afforded the right to respect and dignity outweigh any claim to freedom of expression.
R v. Keegstra: s. 2 (b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms versus s. 319 (2) of the Criminal Code
The case, R. v. Keegstra, constructs a framework concerning whether the freedom of expression should be upheld in a democratic society, even wh...
... middle of paper ...
...rationale for limiting the ability to express such hate is made clear. Society owes protection to individual within a nation that undermines an individual’s human dignity. Parliament upheld its democratic duty in charging and convicting James Keegstra for his willful promoted and hatred and clear lack of any more conscience.
Emerson, Thomas I. “ Toward a General Theory of the First Amendment.” Yale Law
School Legal Scholarship Repository 72.5 (1963): 877-956. Web.
Feinberg, J. “ The Nature and Value of Rights.” Journal of Value Inquiry 4(1970): 243
Raz, Joseph. “Rights and Individual Well-Bring.” An International Journal of
Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law 5.2 (1992): 127-142. Web.
“R. v. Keegstra.” Canadian Cases in the Philosophy of Law. 4th Ed. J.E. Bickenback.
Toronto, Ontario: Broadview Press, 2007. 80-88. Print.
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