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Charter of Freedom

Charter of Freedom


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The king promises that the bearer of this charter shall from this date be a free person and that his or her heirs should be forever released from serfdom. That no longer will this person have to carry out feudal services. That this person is free to buy or sell any goods. The king also grants this person a free pardon for all offences committed during the rebellion.

signed on 14th June, 1381

King Richard II


Charter of Freedom - History

In the Middle Ages Brits live in a country of forests, farms, and small towns. Horses and dogs are their companions. Sailing the sea or riding, Brits feel mobile and free. These experiences spur their love of liberty.
They end slavery, and establish one of the most powerful ideas in the history of freedom &ndash that no one is above the law, not even a king.

MURDER, MUSCLE PRINCIPLE &
INNOVATION

1100 HENRY I FORCED TO SUPPORT CHARTER OF LIBERTIES

Ironically, William the Conqueror had to turn to the old legal constitution of England to control his army and nobles. He retained the local courts of the hundred and the shire, where every free man had a place, brought these under the jurisdiction of the King's Court, hired his own sheriffs, and made certain that every tenant swore loyalty to his local lord and to him.

He introduced the "fiction of tenure" - that all land tenure depended on the king whose subjects held their lands only because he allowed them to - and memorialized his ownership in the Domesday Book. Showing an efficiency that eludes modern bureaucrats, William's men fanned out across England and made exactlngly clear in the Domesday Book what he owned - everything from castles to duckponds. In return, William enforced order, and made the roads safe.

His son the Red King is a very different man. William Rufus owns all that his father owned, but his robberies and rapes earn him fierce enemies, and Brits are relieved when accidentally or purposefully he is shot by an archer in the New Forest. The Red King is carted to his capital at Winchester, dripping blood, perhaps because he is still alive, and dies. His brother Henry, the younger son of William the Conqueror, who has rushed to Winchester to secure the royal treasure, declares himself King.

The Church and the barons distrust Henry, either because he is William Rufus' brother or because he may be his murderer. They tell Henry that if he wants the crown, he has to guarantee he will protect their liberties.

These include ending the plunder of the church and affirming that the church is free ending the King's unlimited financial demands on his barons and restoring the law of King Edward with all its rights and liberties.

At this distance these freedoms may not seem all that liberating, but one promise will change history. They daringly establish that the King himself must obey the law of the land.

The principle that no one &ndash not a king, not a president or prime minister &ndash is above the law is essential to the freedom and happiness of people today.

Until 1102 Brits were still being sold as slaves, "young men and maidens whose beauty and youth might move the pity of the savage, bound together with cords, and brought to market to be sold" (William of Malmesbury).

One man was about to change this. Born in Lombardy, Abbot of Bec, Anselm had been in England on business, when, in 1093, he was dragged before William Rufus, the King of England, and told he would be Archbishop of Canterbury. A pastoral staff was forced into his hand. William II regretted his decision almost immediately. Anselm had backbone. "Christ is truth and justice and he who dies for truth and justice dies for Christ" he wrote. He insists that the Church install him, not the King, and repeatedly challenges the King's injustice.

After Henry becomes King, and despite having to make several long, hard journeys to Rome since Henry is as argumentative as his brother about his royal prerogative, Anselm calls a national church council. In 1102 they meet in London on the small island of Thorney, where the abbey of Edward the Confessor stands. At the Council of Westminster the British clergy condemn slavery as contrary to Christ's teaching and declare, "Let no one hereafter presume to engage in that nefarious trade in which hitherto in England men were usually sold like brute animals."

Unlike most councils this one has an effect. Slavery ends, probably because slavers in that century were afraid of one thing: Excommunication and the damnation of their immortal souls should they violate the ruling.

Slaves become villeins (serfs), owing service to a feudal lord, who owes them the use of his land and his protection. Better to be a serf than a slave, but the Brits hate serfdom, too.

1105 -1130 HENRY I WINS BATTLES REORGANISES KINGDOM

Henry's older brother invades England to seize the throne, and is joined by many Norman nobles, but Henry's English subjects support him, and win a decisive victory on Norman soil at Tenchebray in 1105. In turn Henry makes many English his sheriffs and judges. He creates a royal court representing all his vassals. Members of his court of justice and court of exchequer resolve payment disputes by making a circuit of the shires to hear disputes. This is the beginning of judges' circuits.

1131/33 HENRY I GRANTS CHARTER OF FREEDOM TO CITIZENS OF LONDON & THEIR HEIRS

Henry I recognizes the rights of the citizens of London to appoint their own sheriffs and judges, to limit their taxes, to arrange their own lands, pledges, and debts, to transport their goods free of tolls and to be free of having soldiers billeted on them.

Henry does this because Londoners had leverage &ndash he wanted them to support his daughter Matilda&rsquos right to inherit the throne.

London&rsquos Charter becomes a model for other towns. Those which grew up around abbeys take longer to establish their freedoms. Sometimes, as at St Edmundsbury, a rank injustice such as the unjust execution of the farmer Ketel inflames the citizens. At St Edmundsbury, they win their right to be acquited or condemned by a jury of their neighbours when accused of a crime.

1135 - 1148 "THE ANARCHY" REVEALS POWER OF LIBERTY AND WOMEN

Henry I wants his daughter Matilda to rule England after he dies. His nephew Stephen and the barons promise she will, but Stephen changes his mind. Londoners "elect" him King, and and he is crowned. At his coronation Stephen issues a charter promising to all his men of England &lsquoall the liberties and good laws&rsquo that they had enjoyed under his predecessors.

In 1139, Matilda lands with an army to recover her throne. Stephen's mother Adela had handled armed men and managed estates. Matilda is equally resolute, however she loses the support of Londoners by refusing to acknowledge their charter of liberties, and is forced to flee to Oxford where she was besieged by Stephen, who had escaped captivity in Lincoln. &ldquoMatilda escaped in white robes by a postern, and crossing the river unobserved on the ice, made her way to Abingdon&rdquo (Green, A Short History of England).

England is thrown into anarchy as Stephen and Matilda and their allies battle for the throne. Throughout, Stephen's wife Matilda is "his constant companion and resolute supporter. In the years of struggle she took an active role, bringing troops to besiege Dover Castle in 1138, and mustering an army on the south bank opposite London in the summer of 1141. She took a prominent part in all the peace negotiations during the reign, including those with the Scots" (Oxford DNB).

With the leadership of Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury, the Church finally manages to arrange a peace that pleases Matilda. Stephen will remain King, but when he dies, the crown will go to Matilda's son, Henry. The people of England are relieved as foreign mercenaries are sent packing and their castles are razed.

Hot-tempered, witty, and ruthless, Henry II does not strike observers as a natural champion of justice.

Image: From the film THE LION IN WINTER

1154-1166 KING&rsquoS GAMBIT &ndash HENRY II STRENGTHENS RULE OF LAW

Henry II, Matilda's son and the grandson of Henry I, is always on the go, riding the length of a kingdom that stretches from the Mediterranean to the far north of England. His kingdom is in some chaos due to unemployed mercenaries making a living from robbery, but Henry II is an administrative genius, and he aims to end the violence and consolidate his power.

Henry figures one way to do this is to undercut his barons by drawing Brits out of the barons&rsquo law courts and into his, where he can pocket the court fees. Traditionally, twelve local men testify in court about the facts when land ownership is in dispute. In 1163-64, at the Assize of Clarendon, the innovative Henry establishes the Grand Jury, and invites 12 men from each hundred and four men from each township to testify under oath about the facts of criminal acts to his travelling (circuit) justices.

Henry&rsquos Grand Juries act as witnesses, and decide whether there is validity to a charge and a person ought to be brought to trial for a criminal act. The Grand Jury&rsquos radical ability to protect freedom arises because it is locally based and knows the facts on the ground. It determines from the evidence whether there are any grounds for a trial in the first place. The Grand Jury will evolve into a great shield protecting the innocent &ndash trial by jury.

The Constitutions of Clarendon also attempt to establish the jurisdiction of the civil courts and "the ancient customs of the realm" and limit the jurisdiction of ecclesiastical courts. The battle between Henry and the archbishop is underway.

Brits will take the idea of the grand jury and develop it into a powerful shield against government oppression.

1160s THOMAS à BECKET DEFENDS FREEDOM OF CHURCH

Brave, charming, energetic Thomas à Becket threw himsel f into the role of Archbishop of Canterbury when Henry II forced the monks to elect him. He warned Henry, "You will soon hate me as much as you love me now, for you assume an authority in the affairs of the Church to which I shall never assent."

Their struggle is fierce. Henry had drawn judicial power into his hands, and had made some positive decisions. Now he wants to control the Church by trying "criminous" priests and monks in his courts if they have not been convicted in the ecclesiastical courts. Becket resists. He does not want a king interfering with what he believes is the church's business. He believes that no person should be placed in double jeopardy for the same offense.

Henry also wants to control where and when bishops can travel and appoint bishops rather than allow their election. The right of sanctuary is limited. Becket refuses to agree.

He is harassed. His life is threatened. He flees to the continent, where he stubbornly refuses to agree despite the urgings of the Pope. When the hand of the Pope is strengthened, and Henry is threatened with an interdict, he agrees to back down, but he is livid with anger. Becket returns, but doubts that Henry will honour his word. It is possible that Becket knew he would be physically attacked, and reckons that in dying for his beliefs he will affirm them.

Four knights from Henry's court force their way into Canterbury Cathedral. "Where," cried Reginald Fitzurse in the dusk of the dimly-lighted minster, "where is the traitor, Thomas Becket?" Becket turns resolutely toward him. "Here am I, no traitor, but a priest of God," he answers, and descends from the choir, and stands with his back gainst a pillar and fronts his foes. "You are our prisoner!" the knights shout, but Becket shakes them off. As he does, they strike with their swords, and scatter his brains on the stones.

Freedom of religion has come to mean freedom from religion freedom from the church. For many people, it is just as important that a church be free, and not controlled by a state. This is the principle for which Thomas à Becket died.

12th CENTURY ESCAPE ROUTE TO FREEDOM

Unlike the continent, where a man is either a serf or free, in Britain some serfs are tied to the land, and subject to a lord others are free, paying rent only still others are half free, and pay rent or owe a particular service. On the Great Wheel of Fortune that Brits see as a metaphor for life, a freeman who could not pay his rent or taxes might sink to the status of a serf, while a serf could rise and become free.

According to old custom, a serf who escapes from his lord and manages to live in a charter borough for a year and a day without being caught becomes a free man. Charter boroughs like London encourage craftsmen by hiding and protecting them. When the serf wins his freedom, his wife becomes a free woman, too.

The freeman has certain duties: He will pay taxes to his borough, take his turn standing armed watch at night, and join in defending his city from attack.

1190s SURPRISING CHURCHMAN SUPPORTS STEPS TOWARD SELF-RULE LONDONERS LEAD

As Richard the Lionheart returned from the Holy Land, he was captured by a hostile European prince and held for ransom. His justiciar, Hubert Walter, the Archbishop of Canterbury, grants charters of rights to a number of towns in exchange for help with Richard&rsquos ransom.

Already London citizens are:

Organising into parishes to make decisions about their PARISH neighborhoods.

Organising parishes into WARDS, and sending representatives from their parishes to make decisions for the larger ward neighbourhood.

Organising their wards into London&rsquos greater COUNCIL, and sending a representative from each ward (an alderman -no woman) to make decisions about the whole city &ndash such as defending it from attack and trying criminals.

Despite often brutal opposition from their kings, Brits are moving toward self-representation and self-rule.

When you contribute to this website,
you support Brits at their Best.


The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects a number of rights and freedoms, including freedom of expression and the right to equality. It forms part of our Constitution – the highest law in all of Canada – and is one of our country&rsquos greatest accomplishments.

Every year on April 17, we celebrate the anniversary of the Charter which was signed in 1982.

Watch the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada speak about the 39th anniversary of the Charter:

Video description

Hello. Today, we celebrate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms — an essential part of our constitution for almost 40 years.

I like to call myself a child of the Charter. This foundational document was born while I was in university. It has been an inspiration throughout my career. And while I eventually became the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, the Charter has grown into one of our most important national symbols. It even beat out hockey and the beaver in one survey.

I am fortunate to speak three languages, but our Charter is truly multilingual. It has been translated into 23 languages, including Braille versions in English and French.

And it has traveled far as well, inspiring other nations&rsquo foundational laws, and literally making it into space. Marc Garneau, a former astronaut and now our Minister of Global Affairs, brought it on one of his missions.

The Charter is important to our values, and to Canadians, and it is central to our work here at Justice Canada. We are working hard to protect your rights and freedoms, and the Charter is too.

Happy 39th birthday, good friend. Thank you for all that you do for Canadians.


Freedom Charter

And we pledge ourselves to strive together, sparing neither strength nor courage, until the democratic changes here set out have been won.

The People Shall Govern!

Every man and woman shall have the right to vote for and to stand as a candidate for all bodies which make laws

All people shall be entitled to take part in the administration of the country

The rights of the people shall be the same, regardless of race, colour or sex

All bodies of minority rule, advisory boards, councils and authorities shall be replaced by democratic organs of self-government .

All National Groups Shall have Equal Rights!

There shall be equal status in the bodies of state, in the courts and in the schools for all national groups and races

All people shall have equal right to use their own languages, and to develop their own folk culture and customs

All national groups shall be protected by law against insults to their race and national pride

The preaching and practice of national, race or colour discrimination and contempt shall be a punishable crime

All apartheid laws and practices shall be set aside.

The People Shall Share in the Country`s Wealth!

The national wealth of our country, the heritage of South Africans, shall be restored to the people

The mineral wealth beneath the soil, the Banks and monopoly industry shall be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole

All other industry and trade shall be controlled to assist the wellbeing of the people

All people shall have equal rights to trade where they choose, to manufacture and to enter all trades, crafts and professions.

The Land Shall be Shared Among Those Who Work It!

Restrictions of land ownership on a racial basis shall be ended, and all the land re-divided amongst those who work it to banish famine and land hunger

The state shall help the peasants with implements, seed, tractors and dams to save the soil and assist the tillers

Freedom of movement shall be guaranteed to all who work on the land

All shall have the right to occupy land wherever they choose

People shall not be robbed of their cattle, and forced labour and farm prisons shall be abolished.

All Shall be Equal Before the Law!

No-one shall be imprisoned, deported or restricted without a fair trial No-one shall be condemned by the order of any Government official

The courts shall be representative of all the people

Imprisonment shall be only for serious crimes against the people, and shall aim at re-education, not vengeance

The police force and army shall be open to all on an equal basis and shall be the helpers and protectors of the people

All laws which discriminate on grounds of race, colour or belief shall be repealed.

All Shall Enjoy Equal Human Rights!

The law shall guarantee to all their right to speak, to organise, to meet together, to publish, to preach, to worship and to educate their children

The privacy of the house from police raids shall be protected by law

All shall be free to travel without restriction from countryside to town, from province to province, and from South Africa abroad

Pass Laws, permits and all other laws restricting these freedoms shall be abolished.

There Shall be Work and Security!

All who work shall be free to form trade unions, to elect their officers and to make wage agreements with their employers

The state shall recognise the right and duty of all to work, and to draw full unemployment benefits

Men and women of all races shall receive equal pay for equal work

There shall be a forty-hour working week, a national minimum wage, paid annual leave, and sick leave for all workers, and maternity leave on full pay for all working mothers

Miners, domestic workers, farm workers and civil servants shall have the same rights as all others who work

Child labour, compound labour, the tot system and contract labour shall be abolished.

The Doors of Learning and Culture Shall be Opened!

The government shall discover, develop and encourage national talent for the enhancement of our cultural life

All the cultural treasures of mankind shall be open to all, by free exchange of books, ideas and contact with other lands

The aim of education shall be to teach the youth to love their people and their culture, to honour human brotherhood, liberty and peace

Education shall be free, compulsory, universal and equal for all children Higher education and technical training shall be opened to all by means of state allowances and scholarships awarded on the basis of merit

Adult illiteracy shall be ended by a mass state education plan

Teachers shall have all the rights of other citizens

The colour bar in cultural life, in sport and in education shall be abolished.

There Shall be Houses, Security and Comfort!

All people shall have the right to live where they choose, be decently housed, and to bring up their families in comfort and security

Unused housing space to be made available to the people

Rent and prices shall be lowered, food plentiful and no-one shall go hungry

A preventive health scheme shall be run by the state

Free medical care and hospitalisation shall be provided for all, with special care for mothers and young children

Slums shall be demolished, and new suburbs built where all have transport, roads, lighting, playing fields, creches and social centres

The aged, the orphans, the disabled and the sick shall be cared for by the state

Rest, leisure and recreation shall be the right of all:

Fenced locations and ghettoes shall be abolished, and laws which break up families shall be repealed.

There Shall be Peace and Friendship!

South Africa shall be a fully independent state which respects the rights and sovereignty of all nations

South Africa shall strive to maintain world peace and the settlement of all international disputes by negotiation – not war

Peace and friendship amongst all our people shall be secured by upholding the equal rights, opportunities and status of all

The people of the protectorates Basutoland, Bechuanaland and Swaziland shall be free to decide for themselves their own future

The right of all peoples of Africa to independence and self-government shall be recognised, and shall be the basis of close co-operation.

Let all people who love their people and their country now say, as we say here:

THESE FREEDOMS WE WILL FIGHT FOR, SIDE BY SIDE, THROUGHOUT OUR LIVES, UNTIL WE HAVE WON OUR LIBERTY


(1955) The South African Freedom Charter

And we pledge ourselves to strive together, sparing neither strength nor courage, until the democratic changes here set out have been won.

The People Shall Govern!

Every man and woman shall have the right to vote for and to stand as a candidate for all bodies which make laws

All people shall be entitled to take part in the administration of the country

The rights of the people shall be the same, regardless of race, colour or sex

All bodies of minority rule, advisory boards, councils and authorities shall be replaced by democratic organs of self-government .

All National Groups Shall have Equal Rights!

There shall be equal status in the bodies of state, in the courts and in the schools for all national groups and races

All people shall have equal right

All national groups shall be protected by law against insults to their race and national pride

The preaching and practice of national, race or colour discrimination and contempt shall be a punishable crime

All apartheid laws and practices shall be set aside.

The People Shall Share in the Country’s Wealth!

The national wealth of our country, the heritage of South Africans, shall be restored to the people

The mineral wealth beneath the soil, the Banks and monopoly industry shall be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole

All other industry and trade shall be controlled to assist the wellbeing of the people

All people shall have equal rights to trade where they choose, to manufacture and to enter all trades, crafts and professions.

The Land Shall be Shared Among Those Who Work It!

Restrictions of land ownership on a racial basis shall be ended, and all the land re-divided amongst those who work it to banish famine and land hunger

The state shall help the peasants with implements, seed, tractors and dams to save the soil and assist the tillers

Freedom of movement shall be guaranteed to all who work on the land

All shall have the right to occupy land wherever they choose

People shall not be robbed of their cattle, and forced labour and farm prisons shall be abolished.

All Shall be Equal Before the Law!

No-one shall be imprisoned, deported or restricted without a fair trial No-one shall be condemned by the order of any Government official

The courts shall be representative of all the people

Imprisonment shall be only for serious crimes against the people, and shall aim at re-education, not vengeance

The police force and army shall be open to all on an equal basis and shall be the helpers and protectors of the people

All laws which discriminate on grounds of race, colour or belief shall be repealed.

All Shall Enjoy Equal Human Rights!

The law shall guarantee to all their right to speak, to organise, to meet together, to publish, to preach, to worship and to educate their children

The privacy of the house from police raids shall be protected by law

All shall be free to travel without restriction from countryside to town, from province to province, and from South Africa abroad

Pass Laws, permits and all other laws restricting these freedoms shall be abolished.

There Shall be Work and Security!

All who work shall be free to form trade unions, to elect their officers and to make wage agreements with their employers

The state shall recognise the right and duty of all to work, and to draw full unemployment benefits

Men and women of all races shall receive equal pay for equal work

There shall be a forty-hour working week, a national minimum wage, paid annual leave, and sick leave for all workers, and maternity leave on full pay for all working mothers

Miners, domestic workers, farm workers and civil servants shall have the same rights as all others who work

Child labour, compound labour, the tot system and contract labour shall be abolished.

The Doors of Learning and Culture Shall be Opened!

The government shall discover, develop and encourage national talent for the enhancement of our cultural life

All the cultural treasures of mankind shall be open to all, by free exchange of books, ideas and contact with other lands

The aim of education shall be to teach the youth to love their people and their culture, to honour human brotherhood, liberty and peace

Education shall be free, compulsory, universal and equal for all children Higher education and technical training shall be opened to all by means of state allowances and scholarships awarded on the basis of merit

Adult illiteracy shall be ended by a mass state education plan

Teachers shall have all the rights of other citizens

The colour bar in cultural life, in sport and in education shall be abolished.

There Shall be Houses, Security and Comfort!

All people shall have the right to live where they choose, be decently housed, and to bring up their families in comfort and security

Unused housing space to be made available to the people

Rent and prices shall be lowered, food plentiful and no-one shall go hungry

A preventive health scheme shall be run by the state

Free medical care and hospitalisation shall be provided for all, with special care for mothers and young children

Slums shall be demolished, and new suburbs built where all have transport, roads, lighting, playing fields, creches and social centres

The aged, the orphans, the disabled and the sick shall be cared for by the state

Rest, leisure and recreation shall be the right of all:

Fenced locations and ghettoes shall be abolished, and laws which break up families shall be repealed.

There Shall be Peace and Friendship!

South Africa shall be a fully independent state which respects the rights and sovereignty of all nations

South Africa shall strive to maintain world peace and the settlement of all international disputes by negotiation – not war

Peace and friendship amongst all our people shall be secured by upholding the equal rights, opportunities and status of all

The people of the protectorates Basutoland, Bechuanaland and Swaziland shall be free to decide for themselves their own future

The right of all peoples of Africa to independence and self-government shall be recognised, and shall be the basis of close co-operation.

Let all people who love their people and their country now say, as we say here:

THESE FREEDOMS WE WILL FIGHT FOR, SIDE BY SIDE, THROUGHOUT OUR LIVES, UNTIL WE HAVE WON OUR LIBERTY


Charter of Freedom - History

Comment : The Freedom Charter is a unique document in that for the first time ever, the people were actively involved in formulating their own vision of an alternative society. The existing order of State oppression and exploitation which was prevalent in the 1950's (and earlier) was totally rejected.

The notion of a Charter was first mooted at the annual Congress of the African National Congress in August 1953. Prof Z K Mathews formally suggested convening a Congress of the People (C.O.P.) to draw up the Freedom Charter. The idea was adopted by the allies of the ANC, the South African Indian Congress, the South African Coloured People's Organisation and the South African Congress of Democrats.

The Congress of the People was not a single event but a series of campaigns and rallies, huge and small, held in houses, flats, factories, kraals, on farms and in the open. The National Action Council enlisted volunteers to publicise the C.O.P, educate the people, note their grievances and embark on a "million signatures campaign".

Thus when the people met on the 25th and 26th June 1955, the Congress of the People that was convened in Kliptown, near Johannesburg, represented a crucial historical moment in establishing a new order based on the will of the people. It brought together 2,844 delegates from all over the country. The Freedom Charter proclaims that ''South Africa belongs to all who live in it" and that "all shall be equal before the law". It pledged to continue the struggle until a new democratic order was put into place.

Hence, the Charter is a significant document because it embodies the hopes and aspirations of the black people.

The Charter was subsequently endorsed by the C.O.P.

Crowd at Congress of the People (1955) to adopt Charter

We , The people of South Africa, declare for all our country and the world to know:
that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white, and that no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of the People
that our people have been robbed of their birthright to land, liberty and peace by a form of government founded on injustice and inequality
that our country will never be prosperous or free until all our people live in brotherhood, enjoying equal rights and opportunities
that only a democratic state, based on the will of all the people, can secure to all their birthright without distinction of colour, race, sex or belief
And Therefore we, the People of South Africa, black and white together - equals, countrymen and brothers - adopt this Freedom Charter. And we pledge ourselves to strive together, sparing neither strength nor courage, until the democratic changes here set out have been won.

THE PEOPLE SHALL GOVERN!
Every man and woman shall have the right to vote for and to stand as a candidate for all bodies which make laws
All people shall be entitled to take part in the administration of the country
The rights of the people shall be the same, regardless of race, colour or sex
All bodies of minority rule, advisory boards, councils and authorities, shall be replaced by democratic organs of self-government.

ALL NATIONAL GROUPS SHALL HAVE EQUAL RIGHTS!
There shall be equal status in the bodies of the state, in the courts and in the schools for all national groups and races
All people shall have equal right to use their own languages and to develop their own folk culture and customs
All national groups shall be protected by law against insults to their race and national pride
The preaching and practice of national, race or colour discrimination and contempt shall be a punishable crime
All apartheid laws and practices shall be set aside.

THE PEOPLE SHALL SHARE IN THE COUNTRY'S WEALTH!
The national wealth of our country, the heritage of all South Africans, shall be restored to the people
The mineral wealth beneath the soil, the banks and the monopoly industry shall be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole
All other industry and trade shall be controlled to assist the well-being of the people
All people shall have equal rights to trade where they choose, to manufacture and to enter all trades, crafts and professions.

THE LAND SHALL BE SHARED AMONG THOSE WHO WORK IT!
Restriction of land ownership on a racial basis shall be ended, and all the land re-divided amongst those who work it, to banish famine and land hunger
The state shall help the peasants with implements, seed, tractors and dams to save the soil and assist the tillers
Freedom of movement shall be guaranteed to all who work on the land
All shall have the right to occupy land wherever they choose
People shall not be robbed of their cattle, and forced labour and farm prisons shall be abolished.

ALL SHALL BE EQUAL BEFORE THE LAW!
No one shall be imprisoned, deported or restricted without a fair trial
No one shall be condemned by the order of any government official
The courts shall be representative of all the people
Imprisonment shall be only for serious crimes against the people, and shall aim at re-education, not vengeance
The police force and army shall be open to all on an equal basis and shall be the helpers and protectors of the people
All laws which discriminate on grounds of race, colour or belief shall be repealed.

ALL SHALL ENJOY EQUAL HUMAN RIGHTS!
The law shall guarantee to all their right to speak, to organise, to meet together, to publish, to preach, to worship, and to educate their children
The privacy of the house from police raids shall be protected by law
All shall be free to travel without restriction from countryside to towns, from province to province, and from South Africa abroad
Pass laws, permits and all other laws restricting these freedoms shall be abolished.

THERE SHALL BE WORK AND SECURITY!
All who work shall be free to form trade unions, to elect their officers and to make wage agreements with their employers
The state shall recognise the right and duty of all to work, and to draw full unemployment benefits
Men and women of all races shall receive equal pay for equal work
There shall be a forty-hour working-week, a national minimum wage, paid annual leave, and sick leave for all workers, and maternity leave on full pay for all working mothers
Miners, domestic workers, farm workers and civil servants shall have the same rights as all others who work
Child labour, compound labour, the tot system and contract labour shall be abolished.

THE DOORS OF LEARNING AND OF CULTURE SHALL BE OPENED!
The government shall discover, develop and encourage national talent for the enhancement of our cultural life
All the cultural treasures of mankind shall be open to all, by free exchange of books, ideas and contact with other lands
The aim of education shall be to teach the youth to love their people and their culture, to honour human brotherhood, liberty and peace
Education shall be free, compulsory, universal and equal for all children
Higher education and technical training shall be opened to all by means of state allowances and scholarships awarded on the basis of merit
Adult illiteracy shall be ended by a mass state educational plan
Teachers shall have all the rights of other citizens
The colour bar in cultural life, in sport and in education shall be abolished.

THERE SHALL BE HOUSES, SECURITY AND COMFORT!
A ll people shall have the right to live where they choose, to be decently housed and to bring up their families in comfort and security
Unused housing space shall be made available to the people
Rent and prices shall be lowered, food plentiful and no one shall go hungry
A preventive health scheme shall be run by the state
Free medical care and hospitalisation shall be provided for all, with special care for mothers and young children
Slums shall be demolished, and new suburbs built where all have transport, roads, lighting, playing fields, creches and social centres
The aged, the orphans, the disabled and the sick shall be cared for by the state
Rest, leisure and recreation shall be the right of all
Fenced locations and ghettoes shall be abolished and laws which break up families shall be repealed.

THERE SHALL BE PEACE AND FRIENDSHIP!
South Africa shall be a fully independent state, which respects the rights and sovereignty of all nations
South Africa shall strive to maintain world peace and the settlement of all international disputes by negotiation - not war
Peace and friendship amongst all our people shall be secured by upholding equal rights, opportunities and status for all
The people of the protectorates- Basutoland, Bechuanaland and Swaziland shall be free to decide for themselves their own future
The right of the peoples of Africa to independence and self-government shall be recognised and shall be the basis of close co-operation.

Let all who love their people and their country now say, as we say here:

'THESE FREEDOMS WE WILL FIGHT FOR, SIDE BY SIDE, THROUGHOUT OUR LIVES, UNTIL WE HAVE WON OUR LIBERTY.'


Charter of Rights and Freedoms

The history of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms begins with several Parliamentary committees in the 1940s and 1950s that investigated the possibility of creating a constitutional bill of rights. But first major legislative attempt was not until 1960 with the Canadian Bill of Rights.

The 1960 Bill of Rights, which, albeit a statute and not a constitutional amendment, demonstrated that codifying rights was not inconsistent with a parliamentary system of government. However, it was a vague and limited statute that contained only the most elementary civil and political rights. Frank Scott disdained the law: “That pretentious piece of legislation has proven as ineffective as many of us predicted.” Only a constitutional amendment could overcome the weakness of the Bill of Rights. In an attempt to secure an agreement with the provinces to patriate the constitution with an entrenched bill of rights, the federal government appointed a Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Commons in 1970. Although the initiative ultimately failed, it is notable that there was a consensus that Parliamentary supremacy was no longer an obstacle to a bill of rights: “Parliamentary sovereignty is no more sacrosanct a principle than is the respect for human liberty which is reflected in a Bill of Rights. Legislative sovereignty is already limited legally by the distribution of powers under a federal system and, some would say, by natural law or by the common law Bill of Rights.”

A decade later, another Joint Committee of the Senate and the House of Commons would eventually produce a proposal for a constitutional amendment that would produce the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Continue Reading the Charter of Rights and Freedoms


History of the Canadian Charter or Rights and Freedoms

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (also known as The Charter of Rights and Freedoms or simply the Charter) is a bill of rights entrenched in the Constitution of Canada. It forms the first part of the Constitution Act, 1982. The Charter guarantees certain political and civil rights of people in Canada from the policies and actions of all levels of government. It is designed to unify Canadians around a set of principles that embody those rights. The Charter was preceded by the Canadian Bill of Rights, which was enacted in 1960. However, the Bill of Rights was only a federal statute, rather than a constitutional document.

As a federal statute, it was limited in scope, was easily amendable by Parliament, and it had no application to provincial laws. The Supreme Court of Canada also narrowly interpreted the Bill of Rights and the Court was reluctant to declare laws inoperative. [1] The relative ineffectiveness of the Canadian Bill of Rights motivated many to improve rights protections in Canada. The movement for human rights and freedoms that emerged after World War II also wanted to entrench the principles enunciated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 2] The British Parliament formally enacted the Charter as a part of the Canada Act 1982 at the request of the Parliament of Canada in 1982, the result of the efforts of the Government of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. One of the most notable effects of the adoption of the Charter was to greatly expand the scope of judicial review, because the Charter is more explicit with respect to the guarantee of rights and the role of judges in enforcing them than was the Bill of Rights.

The courts, when confronted with violations of Charter rights, have struck down unconstitutional federal and provincial statutes and regulations or parts of statutes and regulations, as they did when Canadian case law was primarily concerned with resolving issues of federalism. However, the Charter granted new powers to the courts to enforce remedies that are more creative and to exclude more evidence in trials. These powers are greater than what was typical under the common law and under a system of government that, influenced by Canada’s mother country the United Kingdom, was based upon Parliamentary supremacy.

As a result, the Charter has attracted both broad support from a majority of the Canadian electorate and criticisms by opponents of increased judicial power. The Charter only applies to government laws and actions (including the laws and actions of federal, provincial, and municipal governments and public school boards), and sometimes to the common law, not to private activity. Contents [hide] * 1 Features * 2 History * 3 Interpretation and enforcement * 4 Comparisons with other human rights instruments * 5 The Charter and national values * 6 Criticism * 7 See also 8 References o 8. 1 Notes * 9 External links [edit] Features Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms [ v • d • e ] Preamble Guarantee of Rights and Freedoms 1 Fundamental Freedoms 2 Democratic Rights 3, 4, 5 Mobility Rights 6 Legal Rights 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 Equality Rights 15 Official Languages of Canada 16, 16. 1, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 Minority Language Education Rights 23 Enforcement 24 General 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 Application of Charter 32, 33 Citation 34 Under the Charter, persons physically present in Canada have numerous civil and political rights.

Most of the rights can be exercised by any legal person, (the Charter does not define the corporation as a “legal person”),[3] but a few of the rights belong exclusively to natural persons, or (as in sections 3 and 6) only to citizens of Canada. The rights are enforceable by the courts through section 24 of the Charter, which allows courts discretion to award remedies to those whose rights have been denied. This section also allows courts to exclude evidence in trials if the evidence was acquired in a way that conflicts with the Charter and might damage the reputation of the justice system.

Section 32 confirms that the Charter is binding on the federal government, the territories under its authority, and the provincial governments. The rights and freedoms enshrined in the Charter include: Fundamental freedoms (section 2), namely freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, freedom of thought, freedom of belief, freedom of expression, freedom of the press and of other media of communication, freedom of peaceful assembly, and freedom of association. Democratic rights: generally, the right to participate in political activities and the right to a democratic form of government:

Section 3: the right to vote and to be eligible to serve as member of a legislature. Section 4: a maximum duration of legislatures is set at five years. Section 5: an annual sitting of legislatures is required as a minimum. Mobility rights: (section 6): the right to enter and leave Canada, and to move to and take up residence in any province, or to reside outside Canada. Legal rights: rights of people in dealing with the justice system and law enforcement, namely: Section 7: right to life, liberty, and security of the person. Section 8: right from unreasonable search and seizure.

Section 9: freedom from arbitrary detainment or imprisonment. Section 10: The right to legal counsel and the guarantee of habeas corpus. Section 11: rights in criminal and penal matters such as the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Section 12: Right not to be subject to cruel and unusual punishment. Section 13: rights against self-incrimination Section 14: rights to an interpreter in a court proceeding. Equality rights: (section 15): equal treatment before and under the law, and equal protection and benefit of the law without discrimination.

Language rights: generally, the right to use either the English or French language in communications with Canada’s federal government and certain provincial governments. Specifically, the language laws enshrined in the Charter include: Section 16: English and French are the official languages of Canada and New Brunswick. Section 16. 1: the English and French-speaking communities of New Brunswick have equal rights to educational and cultural institutions. Section 17: the right to use either official language in Parliament or the New Brunswick legislature.

Section 18: the statutes and proceedings of Parliament and the New Brunswick legislature are to be printed in both official languages. Section 19: both official languages may be used in federal and New Brunswick courts. Section 20: the right to communicate with and be served by the federal and New Brunswick governments in either official language. Section 21: other constitutional language rights outside the Charter regarding English and French are sustained. Section 22: existing rights to use languages besides English and French are not affected by the fact that only English and French have language rights in the Charter. Hence, if there are any rights to use Aboriginal languages anywhere they would continue to exist, though they would have no direct protection under the Charter. ) Minority language education rights: (Section 23): rights for certain citizens belonging to French or English-speaking minority communities to be educated in their own language. These rights are generally subject to the limitations clause (section 1) and the notwithstanding clause (section 33). The limitations clause in section 1 allows governments to justify certain infringements of Charter rights.

Every case in which a court discovers a violation of the Charter would therefore require a section 1 analysis to determine if the law can still be upheld. Infringements are upheld if the purpose for the government action is to achieve what would be recognized as an urgent or important objective in a free society, and if the infringement can be “demonstrably justified. ” Section 1 has thus been used to uphold laws against objectionable conduct such as hate speech (e. g. , in R. v. Keegstra) and obscenity (e. g. , in R. v. Butler). Section 1 also confirms that the rights listed in the Charter are guaranteed.

The notwithstanding clause authorizes governments to temporarily override the rights and freedoms in sections 2 and 7–15 for up to five years, subject to renewal. The Canadian federal government has never invoked it, and some have speculated that its use would be politically costly. In the past, the notwithstanding clause was invoked routinely by the province of Quebec (which did not support the enactment of the Charter but is subject to it nonetheless). The provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta have also invoked the notwithstanding clause, to end a strike and to protect an exclusively heterosexual definition of marriage,[4] respectively. Note that Alberta’s use of the notwithstanding clause is of no force or effect, since the definition of marriage is federal not provincial jurisdiction. [5]) The territory of Yukon also passed legislation once that invoked the notwithstanding clause, but the legislation was never proclaimed in force. [6] Other sections help clarify how the Charter works in practice. These include, Section 25, which states that the Charter does not derogate existing Aboriginal rights and freedoms. Aboriginal rights, including treaty rights, receive more direct constitutional protection under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

Section 26, which clarifies that other rights and freedoms in Canada are not invalidated by the Charter. Section 27, which requires the Charter to be interpreted in a multicultural context. Section 28, which states all Charter rights are guaranteed equally to men and women. Section 29, which confirms the rights of religious schools are preserved. Section 30, which clarifies the applicability of the Charter in the territories. Section 31, which confirms that the Charter does not extend the rights of legislatures.

Finally, section 34 states that the first 34 sections of the Constitution Act, 1982 may be collectively referred to as the “Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms”. [edit] History The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms Many of the rights and freedoms that are protected under the Charter, including the rights to freedom of speech, habeas corpus and the presumption of innocence,[7] have their roots in a set of Canadian laws and legal precedents sometimes known as the Implied Bill of Rights.

Many of these rights were also included in the Canadian Bill of Rights, which the Canadian Parliament enacted in 1960. However, the Canadian Bill of Rights had a number of shortcomings. Unlike the Charter, it was an ordinary Act of Parliament, which could be amended by a simple majority of Parliament, and it was applicable only to the federal government. The courts also chose to interpret the Bill of Rights conservatively, only on rare occasions applying it to find a contrary law inoperative.

The Bill of Rights did not contain all of the rights that are now included in the Charter, omitting, for instance, the right to vote and freedom of movement within Canada. The centennial of Canadian Confederation in 1967 aroused greater interest within the government in constitutional reform. Such reforms would include improving safeguards of rights, as well as patriation of the Constitution, meaning the British Parliament would no longer have to approve constitutional amendments. Subsequently, Attorney General Pierre Trudeau appointed law professor Barry Strayer to research a potential bill of rights.

While writing his report, Strayer consulted with a number of notable legal scholars, including Walter Tarnopolsky. Strayer’s report advocated a number of ideas that were later incorporated into the Charter, including protection for language rights. Strayer also advocated excluding economic rights. Finally, he recommended allowing for limits on rights. Such limits are included in the Charter’s limitation and notwithstanding clauses. [8] In 1968, Strayer was made the Director of the Constitutional Law Division of the Privy Council Office and in 1974 he became Assistant Deputy Minister of Justice.

During those years, Strayer played a role in writing the bill that was ultimately adopted. Meanwhile, Trudeau, who had become Liberal leader and prime minister in 1968, still very much wanted a constitutional bill of rights. The federal government and the provinces discussed creating one during negotiations for patriation, which resulted in the Victoria Charter in 1971. This never came to be implemented. However, Trudeau continued with his efforts to patriate the Constitution, and promised constitutional change during the 1980 Quebec referendum.

He would succeed in 1982 with the passage of the Canada Act 1982. This enacted the Constitution Act, 1982. The inclusion of a charter of rights in the Constitution Act was a much-debated issue. Trudeau spoke on television in October 1980 [2], and announced his intention to constitutionalize a bill of rights that would include fundamental freedoms, democratic guarantees, freedom of movement, legal rights, equality and language rights. He did not want a notwithstanding clause. While his proposal gained popular support, provincial leaders opposed the potential limits on their powers.

The federal Progressive Conservative opposition feared liberal bias among judges, should courts be called upon to enforce rights. Additionally, the British Parliament cited their right to uphold Canada’s old form of government. At a suggestion of the Conservatives, Trudeau’s government thus agreed to a committee of Senators and MPs to further examine the bill of rights as well as the patriation plan. During this time, 90 hours were spent on the bill of rights alone, all filmed for television, while civil rights experts and interest groups put forward their perceptions on the Charter’s flaws and omissions and how to remedy them.

As Canada had a parliamentary system of government, and as judges were perceived not to have enforced rights well in the past, it was questioned whether the courts should be named as the enforcers of the Charter, as Trudeau wanted. Conservatives argued that elected politicians should be trusted instead. It was eventually decided that the responsibility should go to the courts. At the urging of civil libertarians, judges could even now exclude evidence in trials if acquired in breach of Charter rights in certain circumstances, something the Charter was not originally going to provide for.

As the process continued, more features were added to the Charter, including equality rights for people with disabilities, more sex equality guarantees and recognition of Canada’s multiculturalism. The limitations clause was also reworded to focus less on the importance of parliamentary government and more on justifiability of limits in free societies the latter logic was more in line with rights developments around the world after World War II. [9] In its decision in the Patriation Reference (1981), the Supreme Court of Canada had ruled there was a tradition that some provincial approval should be sought for constitutional reform.

As the provinces still had doubts about the Charter’s merits, Trudeau was forced to accept the notwithstanding clause to allow governments to opt out of certain obligations. The notwithstanding clause was accepted as part of a deal called the Kitchen Accord, negotiated by the federal Attorney General Jean Chretien, Ontario’s justice minister Roy McMurtry and Saskatchewan’s justice minister Roy Romanow. Pressure from provincial governments (which in Canada have jurisdiction over property) and from the country’s left wing, especially the New Democratic Party, also prevented Trudeau from including any rights protecting private property.

Nevertheless, Quebec did not support the Charter (or the Canada Act 1982), with “conflicting interpretations” as to why. The opposition could have owed to the Parti Quebecois leadership being allegedly uncooperative, because it was more committed to gaining sovereignty for Quebec. It could have owed to Quebec leaders being excluded from the negotiation of the Kitchen Accord, which they saw as being too centralist. It could have owed to provincial leaders’ objections to the Accord’s provisions relating to the process of future constitutional amendment. 10] They also opposed the inclusion of mobility rights and minority language education rights. [11] The Charter is still applicable in Quebec because all provinces are bound by the Constitution. However, Quebec’s opposition to the 1982 patriation package has led to two failed attempts to amend the Constitution (the Meech Lake Accord and Charlottetown Accord) which were designed primarily to obtain Quebec’s political approval of the Canadian constitutional order. Ironically, the only Non-Quebecer to sign the Charter into law was Queen Elizabeth II.

While the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was adopted in 1982, it was not until 1985 that the main provisions regarding equality rights (section 15) came into effect. The delay was meant to give the federal and provincial governments an opportunity to review pre-existing statutes and strike potentially unconstitutional inequalities. The Charter has been amended since its enactment. Section 25 was amended in 1983 to explicitly recognize more rights regarding Aboriginal land claims, and section 16. 1 was added in 1993.

A proposed Rights of the Unborn Amendment in 1986–1987, which would have enshrined fetal rights, failed in the federal Parliament. Other proposed amendments to the Constitution, included in the Charlottetown Accord of 1992, were never passed. These amendments would have specifically required the Charter to be interpreted in a manner respectful of Quebec’s distinct society, and would have added further statements to the Constitution Act, 1867 regarding racial and sexual equality and collective rights, and about minority language communities.

Though the Accord was negotiated among many interest groups, the resulting provisions were so vague that Trudeau, then out of office, feared they would actually conflict with and undermine the Charter’s individual rights. He felt judicial review of the rights might be undermined if courts had to favour the policies of provincial governments, as governments would be given responsibility over linguistic minorities. Trudeau thus played a prominent role in leading the popular opposition to the Accord. [12] [edit] Interpretation and enforcement

The task of interpreting and enforcing the Charter falls to the courts, with the Supreme Court of Canada being the ultimate authority on the matter. With the Charter’s supremacy confirmed by section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, the courts continued their practice of striking down unconstitutional statutes or parts of statutes as they had with earlier case law regarding federalism. However, under section 24 of the Charter, courts also gained new powers to enforce creative remedies and exclude more evidence in trials.

Courts have since made many important decisions, including R. v. Morgentaler (1988), which struck down Canada’s abortion law, and Vriend v. Alberta (1998), in which the Supreme Court found the province’s exclusion of homosexuals from protection against discrimination violated section 15. In the latter case, the Court then read the protection into the law. Courts may receive Charter questions in a number of ways. Rights claimants could be prosecuted under a criminal law that they argue is unconstitutional.

Others may feel government services and policies are not being dispensed in accordance with the Charter, and apply to lower-level courts for injunctions against the government (as was the case in Doucet-Boudreau v. Nova Scotia (Minister of Education)). A government may also raise questions of rights by submitting reference questions to higher-level courts for example, Prime Minister Paul Martin’s government approached the Supreme Court with Charter questions as well as federalism concerns in the case Re Same-Sex Marriage (2004).

Provinces may also do this with their superior courts. The government of Prince Edward Island initiated the Provincial Judges Reference by asking its provincial Supreme Court a question on judicial independence under section 11. The building of the Supreme Court of Canada, the chief authority on the interpretation of the Charter The building of the Supreme Court of Canada, the chief authority on the interpretation of the Charter In several important cases, judges developed various tests and precedents for interpreting specific provisions of the Charter.

These include the Oakes test for section 1, set out in the case R. v. Oakes (1986), and the Law test for section 15, developed in Law v. Canada (1999). Since Re B. C. Motor Vehicle Act (1985), various approaches to defining and expanding the scope of fundamental justice (the Canadian name for natural justice or due process) under section 7 have been adopted. (For more information, see the articles on each Charter section). In general, courts have embraced a purposive interpretation of Charter rights.

This means that since early cases like Hunter v. Southam (1984) and R. v. Big M Drug Mart (1985), they have concentrated not on the traditional, limited understanding of what each right meant when the Charter was adopted in 1982, but rather on changing the scope of rights as appropriate to fit their broader purpose. This is tied to the generous interpretation of rights, as the purpose of the Charter provisions is assumed to be to increase rights and freedoms of people in a variety of circumstances, at the expense of the government powers.

Constitutional scholar Peter Hogg has approved of the generous approach in some cases, although for others he argues the purpose of the provisions was not to achieve a set of rights as broad as courts have imagined. [13] Indeed, this approach has not been without its critics. Alberta politician Ted Morton and political scientist Rainer Knopff have been very critical of this phenomenon. Although they feel the basis for the approach, the living tree doctrine (the classical name for generous interpretations of the Canadian Constitution), is sound, they argue Charter case law has been more radical.

When the living tree doctrine is applied right, the authors claim, “The elm remained an elm it grew new branches but did not transform itself into an oak or a willow. ” The doctrine can be used, for example, so a right is upheld even when a government threatens to violate it with new technology, as long as the essential right remains the same but the authors claim that the courts have used the doctrine to “create new rights. As an example, the authors note that the Charter right against self-incrimination has been extended to cover scenarios in the justice system that had previously been unregulated by self-incrimination rights in other Canadian laws. [14] Another general approach to interpreting Charter rights is to consider legal precedent regarding the United States Bill of Rights, which influenced the text of the Charter and has generated a great deal of thoughts on the extent of rights in a common law, democratic system and how bills of rights should be enforced by courts.

However, American precedent is not considered infallible. The Canadian Supreme Court has referred to the Canadian and American bills as being “born to different countries in different ages and in different circumstances. “[15] Public interest groups frequently intervene in cases to make arguments on how to interpret the Charter. Some examples are the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Canadian Labour Congress, the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), and REAL Women of Canada.

The purpose of such interventions is to assist the court and to attempt to influence the court to render a decision favourable to the legal interests of the group. A further approach to the Charter, taken by the courts, is the dialogue principle, which involves greater participation by elected governments. This approach involves governments drafting legislation in response to court rulings and courts acknowledging the effort if the new legislation is challenged. [edit] Comparisons with other human rights instruments

The United States Bill of Rights influenced the text of the Charter, but its rights provisions are interpreted more conservatively. Canadian and American cases nevertheless sometimes have similar outcomes because the broader Charter rights are limited by section 1 of the Charter. The United States Bill of Rights influenced the text of the Charter, but its rights provisions are interpreted more conservatively. Canadian and American cases nevertheless sometimes have similar outcomes because the broader Charter rights are limited by section 1 of the Charter.

Some Canadian Members of Parliament saw the movement to entrench a charter as contrary to the British model of Parliamentary supremacy. Others would say that the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) has now limited British parliamentary power to a greater degree than the Canadian Charter limited the power of the Canadian Parliament and provincial legislatures. Hogg has speculated that the British adopted Human Rights Act 1998, which allows the ECHR to be enforced directly in domestic courts, partly because they were inspired by the similar Canadian Charter. [16]

The Canadian Charter bears a number of similarities to the European Convention, specifically in relation to the limitations clauses contained in the European document. Because of this similarity with European human rights law, the Supreme Court of Canada turns not only to the Constitution of the United States case law in interpreting the Charter, but also to European Court of Human Rights cases. The core distinction between the United States Bill of Rights and Canadian Charter is the existence of the limitations and notwithstanding clauses. Canadian courts have consequently interpreted each right more expansively.

However, due to the limitations clause, where a violation of a right exists, the law will not necessarily grant protection of that right. In contrast, rights under the US Bill of Rights are absolute and so a violation will not be found until there has been sufficient encroachment on those rights. The sum effect is that both constitutions provide comparable protection of many rights. Fundamental justice (in section 7 of the Canadian Charter) is therefore interpreted to include more legal protections than due process, which is its US equivalent. Freedom of expression in section 2 also has a ore wide-ranging scope than the First Amendment to the United States Constitution’s freedom of speech. [17] In RWDSU v. Dolphin Delivery Ltd. (1986), the Canadian Supreme Court considered picketing of the kind the US First Amendment did not permit, as it was disruptive conduct (though there was some speech involved that the First Amendment might otherwise protect). The Supreme Court, however, ruled the picketing, including the disruptive conduct, were fully protected under section 2 of the Charter. The Court then relied on section 1 to find the injunction against the picketing was just. 18] The limitations clause has also allowed governments to enact laws that would be considered unconstitutional in the US. The Supreme Court of Canada has upheld some of Quebec’s limits on the use of English on signs and has upheld publication bans that prohibit media from mentioning the names of juvenile criminals. Section 28 of the Charter performs a function similar to that of the unratified Equal Rights Amendment in the US. While that proposed amendment had many critics, there was no comparable opposition to the Charter’s section 28. 19] Still, Canadian feminists had to stage large protests to demonstrate support for the inclusion of the section. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights has several parallels with the Canadian Charter, but in some cases the Covenant goes further with regard to rights in its text. For example, a right to legal aid has been read into section 10 of the Charter (the right to counsel), but the Covenant explicitly guarantees the accused need not pay “if he does not have sufficient means. “[20]

The Canadian Charter has little to say, explicitly at least, about economic and social rights. On this point, it stands in marked contrast with the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms and with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. There are some who feel economic rights ought to be read into section 7 rights to security of the person and section 15 equality rights to make the Charter similar to the Covenant. The rationale is that economic rights can relate to a decent standard of living and can help the civil rights flourish in a livable nvironment. Canadian courts, however, have been hesitant in this area, stating that economic rights are political questions and adding that as positive rights, economic rights are of questionable legitimacy. [21] The Charter itself influenced the Bill of Rights in the Constitution of South Africa. [21] [edit] The Charter and national values The “March of Hearts” rally for same-sex marriage equality under the Charter in 2004. The “March of Hearts” rally for same-sex marriage equality under the Charter in 2004.

The Charter was intended to be a source for national values and national unity. As Professor Alan Cairns noted, “The initial federal government premise was on developing a pan-Canadian identity. “[22] Trudeau himself later wrote in his Memoirs that “Canada itself” could now be defined as a “society where all people are equal and where they share some fundamental values based upon freedom,” and that all Canadians could identify with the values of liberty and equality. [23]

The Charter’s unifying purpose was particularly important to the mobility and language rights. According to author Rand Dyck, some scholars believe section 23, with its minority language education rights, “was the only part of the Charter with which Pierre Trudeau was truly concerned. “[24] Through the mobility and language rights, French Canadians, who have been at the centre of unity debates, are able to travel throughout all Canada and receive government and educational services in their own language.

Hence, they are not confined to Quebec (the only province where they form the majority and where most of their population is based), which would polarize the country along regional lines. The Charter was also supposed to standardize previously diverse laws throughout the country and gear them towards a single principle of liberty. [25] Former premier of Ontario Bob Rae has stated that the Charter “functions as a symbol for all Canadians” in practice because it represents the core value of freedom. Academic Peter Russell has been more skeptical of the Charter’s value in this field.

Cairns, who feels the Charter is the most important constitutional document to many Canadians, and that the Charter was meant to shape the Canadian identity, has also expressed concern that groups within society see certain provisions as belonging to them alone rather than to all Canadians. [16] It has also been noted that issues like abortion and pornography, raised by the Charter, tend to be controversial. [25] Still, opinion polls in 2002 showed Canadians felt the Charter significantly represented Canada, although many were unaware of the document’s actual contents. 26] The only values mentioned by the Charter’s preamble are recognition for the supremacy of God and the rule of law, but these have been controversial and of minor legal consequence. In 1999, MP Svend Robinson brought forward a failed proposal before the Canadian House of Commons that would have amended the Charter by removing the mention of God, as he felt it did not reflect Canada’s diversity. Section 27 also recognizes multiculturalism, which the Department of Canadian Heritage argues is prized among Canadians. [27] [edit] Criticism

While the Charter has enjoyed a great deal of popularity, with 82% of Canadians describing it as a “good thing” in opinion polls in 1987 and 1999,[16] the document has also been subject to published criticisms from both sides of the political spectrum. One left-wing critic is Professor Michael Mandel, who wrote that in comparison to politicians, judges do not have to be as sensitive to the will of the electorate, nor do they have to make sure their decisions are easily understandable to the average Canadian citizen. This, in Mandel’s view, limits democracy.

Mandel has also asserted that the Charter makes Canada more like the United States, especially by serving corporate rights and individual rights rather than group rights and social rights. He has argued that there are several rights that should be included in the Charter, such as a right to health care and a basic right to free education. [28] Hence, the perceived Americanization of Canadian politics is seen as coming at the expense of values more important for Canadians. The union movement has been disappointed in the reluctance of the courts to use the Charter to support various forms of union activity, such as the “right to strike”.

Right-wing critics Morton and Knopff have raised several concerns about the Charter, notably by alleging that the federal government has used it to limit provincial powers by allying with various rights claimants and interest groups. In their book The Charter Revolution & the Court Party, Morton and Knopff express their suspicions of this alliance in detail, accusing the Trudeau and Chretien governments of funding litigious groups. For example, these governments used the Court Challenges Program to support minority language educational rights claims.

Morton and Knopff also claim that crown counsel have intentionally lost cases in which the government was taken to court for allegedly violating rights, particularly gay rights and women’s rights. [29] Political scientist Rand Dyck, in observing these criticisms, notes that while judges have had their scope of review widened, they have still upheld most laws challenged on Charter grounds. With regard to litigious interest groups, Dyck points out that “the record is not as clear as Morton and Knopff imply. All such groups have experienced wins and losses. “[30]

The political philosopher Charles Blattberg has criticized the Charter for contributing to the fragmentation of the country, at both the individual and group levels. In encouraging discourse based upon rights, the Charter is said to inject an adversarial spirit into Canadian politics, making it difficult to realize the common good. Blattberg also claims that the Charter undercuts the Canadian political community since it is ultimately a cosmopolitan document. Finally, he argues that people would be more motivated to uphold individual liberties if they were expressed with terms that are much “thicker” (less abstract) than rights. [31]

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Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom

The Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom, located on the upper level of the National Archives museum, is the permanent home of the original Declaration of Independence, Constitution of the United States, and Bill of Rights.

Designed by architect John Russell Pope as a shrine to American democracy, the ornate Rotunda with its soaring domed ceiling also features two murals by Barry Faulkner, depicting fictional scenes of the “presentations” of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

Flanking the documents themselves are additional records from the National Archives, exploring the making of the charters and their influences, as well as their impact throughout history. The Rotunda was renovated in 2003 to ensure the safekeeping of these records for generations to come. Visitors to the Rotunda will notice the cool temperature and the low lighting, which are designed to reduce the devastating effects of heat and light on the precious records. The Charters are displayed in specially designed encasements with aluminum and titanium frames, and the documents are surrounded by an inert gas. A cross-section of these cases can be seen in the “Public Vaults,” along with a special documentary about the re-encasement process.

Learn more about the Charters by downloading the free brochure (PDF) available for all visitors to the Rotunda, or check out the infographic below (also available as PDF), by curator Alice Kamps:

This brochure is made possible by the National Archives Foundation with the generous support of the Weissberg Foundation.


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