Starting the Criminal Law Unit next, we’ll read through several news articles of events that have a connection to legal rights. You will have a Socrative quiz open to add your initial reactions anonymously and build from those comments added.
To understand the rights and freedoms developed within the Charter document, you’ll read through an explanation of each important section, summarize the important parts of it, and summarize a Charter case related to that section.
The Canadian Charter of Rights is more than three decades old already and our understanding and application of its rights and freedoms have been interpreted in many ways by significant legal cases and challenges.
It is one of the most widely misunderstood elements of our political and legal system in Canada, though, so it’s is important to get a clear/correct understanding of what it offers and doesn’t offer Canadians.
2.1 Introduction: Summary of the Charter overall
2.2 a Reasonable Limits and Notwithstanding Clause: Summaries of each
2.2 c Notwithstanding Clause Uses: list the times governments have implemented this clause. (Remember, this clause was added at the last minute to satisfy provincial leaders’ concerns, to ensure Federal government and courts didn’t hold too much power over provinces.)
Frank v. Canada (Attorney General)
Federal election laws prohibit someone from voting if they’ve lived outside of Canada for 5 years. The law was challenged and found to violate Charter rights.
R. v. Mills (2019)
A man contacted a 14 yr old girl and had communications with her, telling her he was 23 though he was 32. He didn’t realize it was police behind the account and they collected data from the conversations. He asked to meet the “pretend” girl and when arriving was arrested for child luring. He argued police violated his right to expectation of privacy by creating the account and collecting copies of it. The judge disagreed saying there’s no expectation of privacy in conversations with a child you do not know online. Sets precedent related to right of privacy through digital communications.
R. v. Bird (2019)
A man with over 60 convictions was deemed a high risk to reoffend, so after being released from prison new conditions were placed on him. He wasn’t allowed to return to his home community, where he was thought to be a danger, and instead ordered to stay at a halfway house in Regina. He initially stayed there, but eventually just left it without permission, violating the terms of his release. He claimed the restrictions on his release violated his rights to liberty (freedom). The courts decided it was a reasonable limitation on his right to liberty, because Parliament (through laws) allowed for ways of an offender to challenge a similar order, rather than simply violate it.
R. v. Calnen (2019)
A man was questioned in the murder of his partner. He eventually admitted she’d died after an argument/altercation with him, but he was doing drugs so was scared to inform police. An accidental murder is a manslaughter charge, but investigations found several efforts on his part to hide his crime – moving the body, burning parts and relocating it several times, etc. These additional efforts to hide the details of the crime can now legally be used to infer/as evidence of intent meaning it raises the possible criminal charge from manslaughter to second degree murder. Precedent setting that behaviour after a crime can be used to determine intention of the crime before the act.
R. v Jones (2017)
A man exchanged text messages with someone about firearms and drug exchanges. Part of the evidence used against him were the text messages obtained by a production order (warrant of sorts). He claimed his right to privacy was violated and argued for that evidence to be excluded. Court case determined text message data is kept by a telecommunications company and can be legally compelled to provide that data. His right was not violated because the message data was lawfully obtained.
R. v. Reeves (2018)
A man was convicted of possession of child pornography, but he/his lawyer challenged that the evidence was unlawfully obtained. Police approached the home and the man’s wife who he lived with let them into the home and let them collect the computer. Police kept the pc for 4 months before obtaining a warrant to search it, on which they found a large collection of child pornography images and files. In appeal, though, the courts agreed that a 3rd party cannot give consent to a search, so it was a charter violation of the man’s rights. The conviction and appeal that upheld it were overruled.
Looking at the different sections of the Charter, use either the Text for support or online sources to develop a clear summary of the rights/freedoms protected within each of the sections as well as a collection of Cases that have been tried in the court system to test the limits of each section.
Textbook Chapter – pdf – it’s been emailed to you through your Sunwest email
Extension Questions: Questions we have from our discussion
The court is meant to balance against government abusing power to create new legislation. What if the courts aren’t balanced either ideologically and decisions are made leaning towards whoever was able to add judges to the bench?
Other – find your own articles on the topic. Is there consensus about this not being an issue of concern in Canada like it often is in the states.
Question to answer in your Comment: What understanding do you have now of Canada’s Supreme Court make up and whether it could be used by a government to predict decisions, as it often is in the States. In your opinion, can we trust the balance the courts offer against government power?
As Canada developed further as a country, it grew in population and diversity. Eventually, it was believed that protections needed to be included in the Constitution level of law to protect that diversity – thus the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Archives: Amending the Constitution Act in 1983 – Negotiating First Nations rights with the new Constitution Act was deferred/left until later. FN groups met with government leaders two years after the original discussions to negotiate their place, their rights and provisions within Canada.
The general public likely has nothing to fear within the judicial system, but it would be naive to believe only guilty people are convicted of crimes. There are many examples of individuals found guilty of serious offences, including murder, serving a number of years in prison, only later to be exonerated and their convictions erased, because of new evidence revealed. Andy Rose is one such individual.
“Someone Got Away With Murder” Fifth Estate Documentary – how far can police go in pressuring a suspect to gain evidence to use against them in a trial? And at what cost?
Another important part of understanding the laws of Canada related to its early beginnings is to understand the unique relationship government has with our third cultural component – the First Nations people that lived on the land that became part of Canada.
Because King George III initially promised to deal with the Aboriginal groups in the newly developing land as a sovereign nation, still today any decision made within Canada must consider whether it impacts First Nations rights and then has a responsibility to consult. It arises in the news often, including some recent events you may have heard of, like:
SHARE WIDELY – Wet'suwet'en territory is under siege by RCMP tactical forces, who are working with TransCanada to force a pipeline through our territory. Yesterday Gitdumt'en people and supporters were forcibly removed from our homelands for upholding our Wet'suwet'en laws. Militarized police confronted unarmed Indigenous people with assault and sniper rifles and made 14 arrests. As of now, Gitdumt'en Clan spokesperson Molly Wickham remains in state custody along with several others.We have never signed treaties with Canada or given up our rights and title to these lands. Canada is violating Anuk Nu'at'en (Wet'suwet'en law), it's own colonial laws, and UNDRIP. The violent separation of our people and our lands is no different today than it was 150 years ago.We fear for our neighbours at Unist'ot'en Camp who now face a similar prospect of state violence.Today there are international solidarity actions with the Wet'suwet'en. Attend one near you: https://www.facebook.com/events/2225649537692362/For ways to support: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=225163691762758&id=212798726332588To donate: https://www.gofundme.com/gitdumt039en-access-point#WETSUWETENSTRONG #NOTRESPASS #WEDZINKWA #NOPIPELINESNo use of footage without consent. Direct media enquires to email@example.com
What is the fiduciary responsibility of Canada to the Aboriginal peoples who lived in the territories Canada assumed control of? What does it mean in terms of decisions made regarding First Nations in Canada?
Select and summarize any two recent events involving First Nations groups or communities that connect back to the relationship established with them as a sovereign nation in Canada at Confederation. Include a personal conclusion of how each event has had an additional impact on Canadian development as a whole.
Some positive things are changing with the Canadian government’s relationship with Aboriginal groups in Canada. They’re involved in great economic partnerships and contributing billions of dollars into Canada’s economy. Some of the boil-water advisories in FN communities have been resolved and the rest are expected to be completed by 2021. There is a long way to go, though.
This first half of B30 continues to study the Human Experience – one of the most essential parts of that is our interactions with each other in the form of relationships. One of the most obvious reasons why the entertainment industry is so popular and financially successful is because the audience is drawn to unique and complicated relationships between characters.
Resources for this section:
Visualization Pre-View: Porphyria’s Lover
What do you think is happening in this image?
Audio narration of the poem (if it helps you for comprehension)
Compose and Create: Google Doc link
Remember, you must be logged into your Gmail account to leave your comments, so they show up and can be attributed to you.
Canada’s beginnings were the result of struggles between three founding cultures: the French, First Nations, and British. One of the main ideas of this section is understanding the cause and effect of Quebec becoming a distinct province within Canadian Confederation. To this day, culture and the idea of “being Canadian” is practiced differently (with some limitations) within the province of Quebec.
Recent Event Examples of Quebec Interaction with the Country: