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Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

September-October 2011

Aamjiwnaang First Nation case could add environmental rights to Canada’s constitution

Teresa Goff

Over the last 40 years, 90 countries have amended their constitutions to include the right to a healthy environment. Portugal was the first in 1976, and since then scores have followed, from Argentina to Zambia. But not Canada. What we have is the 1999 Canadian Environmental Protection Act. Under that law, polluters found in violation […] More »

Why Omar Khadr's case is a constitutional crisis for us all

jesse mintz

It’s time for a little refresher course in Canadian civil society: Canada’s formal political dependence on Britain came to an end in 1982 with Pierre Trudeau’s Canada Act.  The Act led to the patriation of the Canadian Constitution–you know, that old document that outlines the vibrant democratic system of government we so proudly employ in […] More »

Wednesday WTF: Quebec's headwear ban is obviously totally unconstitutional

Graham F. Scott

Quebec is going ahead with its ludicrous ban on religious head-coverings like the niqab and the burka on provincial government property. It’s an astonishing piece of legislation that manages the improbable feat of being baselessly arbitrary and obviously xenophobic. The whole law is crafted to be targeted at a single identifiable—and extremely tiny—minority, but Premier […] More »
March-April 2010

Stand up for women’s rights: don’t ban the burka

Nav PurewalWebsite

We must protect women from religious coercion… Banning burkas has long been a popular idea among immigration hardliners on the European right, who claim that the head-to-toe woman’s garment is a matter of national security. Canadians may scoff at such paranoia, but the idea is gaining some momentum here, and the push is coming from […] More »
January-February 2010

A modest proposal: turn all Aboriginal lands into the 11th province

Bruce M. Hicks

The Royal Proclamation of 1763 included a clause prohibiting British colonists from purchasing “Lands of the Indians,” so as not to commit more of the “Frauds and Abuses” that characterized colonial takeovers of Aboriginal territory. To my reading, this measure was intended to make clear to the English colonists that Aboriginal Peoples enjoyed equal status. […] More »
January-February 2010

Olympic Countdown: Quick guide to Vancouver 2010 protest do’s and don’ts

Kim Hart MacneillWebsite

Why yes, officer, I can hand out this leaflet. Maybe. It’s no doubt that clashes between protesters and police will end up being the big story of the 2010 Olympics. There are new bylaws on the books, the usual International Olympic Committee rules, our own Canadian Charter rights, and official statements from the Vancouver Police […] More »
November-December 2009

Strengthen democracy and fight bigotry head-on — Legalize Hate Speech

Laura KusistoWebsite

The fight for free speech is not the work of angels. Academics love Evelyn Hall’s famous saying, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” In the age of promiscuous online speech, the sentiment of two university protestors seems more apt: “Free speech for all. […] More »
July-August 2009

Canadian justice for Desiré Munyaneza, but what about Afghan prisoners?

Graham F. Scott

Quebec Superior Court judge André Denis made history on May 22, 2009, when he convicted Desiré Munyaneza of seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Munyaneza, he said, had “intentionally killed dozens” during the Rwandan genocide of 1994 and “raped several women and pillaged homes and businesses.” For the first time ever, a […] More »