Understanding the“Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms” Social 9
What is the CORAF? • Basically, the document that describes ALL rights shared by ALL Canadians • Is a part of Canada’s constitution • The constitution is the highest law in Canada – all other laws must be consistent with it • With the Charter, Canadians can challenge court laws that restrict their rights
History of the CORAF • Canada’s original constitution was the British North America Act, passed in 1868 • Power was distributed among the federal and provincial branches • Canada did not have a “Bill of Rights” • In 1960, the federal government passed “The Canadian Bill of Rights” • It was a start for Canadian human rights • But, because of the constitution, this was no more powerful than any other law
History of the CORAF • Now, since the constitution was passed in Britain, it could only be changed by the British parliament • Thus many prime ministers wanted to “bring the constitution home” • Pierre Elliot Trudeau (1968-1984 in office) began the process
History of the CORAF • Trudeau and his government wrote an initial rough-draft • Were inspired by the • 1948 “UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights” • Fall 1980 • Televised hearings to see what people want in a Bill of Rights • Over 300 women, aboriginals, people with disabilities, ethnic minorities spoke • 123 recommendations to improve the Charter • Over half were implemented!
History of the CORAF • The next challenge was to convince the provinces that the changes were good • The inclusion of a “notwithstanding” clause (section 33) pacified the provinces • This clause allows the provinces or Parliament to overturn portions of the Charter Thus the charter became a part of the Constitution Act, 1982 This act received the approval and support of Britain
History of the CORAF • On April 17, 1982, Queen Elizabeth II signed the Canada Act • This gave Canada control over its Constitution • The guarantee of rights and freedoms (in the Charter) became part of the supreme law of the land The CORAF is to be enforced by all Canadian courts
Your very own copy of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms!!! Mr. V’s Present to you
CORAF Powers • The CORAF is designed to protect both individual and collective rights…but… • The Charter canrestrict rights, if these restrictions are necessary to maintain Canada as a “free and democratic society” • Let’s see an example: “Crossing the Line” • Pages 93-95
Pages 88-89 • Pages96-98 Chapter Readings Read the following pages and add extra information into your notes.