October 17

Social 10 Balance of Rights/Freedoms – Confederation

Canada is considered one of the best societies in the world with high quality of living. Part of that measurement is because there are strong individual rights protected by law in Canada. Their source is Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This section explores that and what it means to Canadians.

  1. These rights apply to Canadian citizens, including people with Permanent Resident status. They only lack two “Rights” other Canadians enjoy.
  2. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms set out the protections for individuals, but as society changes and our needs so do the laws supporting those protections. The Supreme Court of Canada is the final say for laws in Canada.
    1. Example: Ban on Sikh kirpan overturned by Supreme Court
  3. Decision-making power in any country is of primary importance. Who gets that power, how they use it, who is excluded from it: these are all important characteristics that can change what a society looks like.
    1. Example: If a single dictator makes all decisions, it is a very different type of society as a result, than if every citizens has a part in the decision-making power, like we do in Canada.
  4. How is power divided in Canada? By the Canadian Constitution document.
      1. It was first made and named the British North America Act of 1867
      2. Initially Canada was only made of four provinces
      3. The rest of the land within Canada’s current landmass was held as colonies by the British. Parts of Canada were added to Canada as provinces and territories over time.
      4. The decision-making power was held in Canada by government, but was still under the responsibility and authority of the British Crown, as part of the British colonies.
      5. Canada was later given freedom from the colonies, becoming truly its own country, with autonomy (its own decision-making control).
      6. An essential part of the original BNA Act are two Sections of the document which divide the decision-making responsibilities of the Federal (country-wide) and Provincial (regional) governments.
        1. Section 91 – Federal responsibilities
        2. Section 92 – Provincial responsibilities
    1. The British North America Act was later amended to be called the Constitution Act of 1982 in a big ceremony where the Queen of England came to Canada and brought with her the original BNA document that established Canada’s beginnings.
      1. Now a complete country made up of many provinces and territories, the federal Canadian government and provincial leaders negotiated an adjustment to the new document that would define how Canada as a country and society would function.
      2. A big part or change in that document was the creation/inclusion of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. 
  5. Reasonable Limitations of our Charter Rights
    1. It’s well known Canadians have protected rights because of the Charter, but not a lot of people understand those rights aren’t absolute rights.
    2. Your rights end when another person’s rights begin.

This is an American politician running for President of the United States, but his comments on rights and personal freedoms explain it well and it works the same in Canada in many ways.


Posted October 17, 2019 by Waldner in category Social 10

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