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Wed Apr 18, 2012, 05:45 AM

Canada's Charter of Rights anniversary highlights liberal/conservative split.

The Liberal festivities featured former prime minister Jean Chrétien, one of the key architects of the 1982 deal to patriate Canada's Constitution with a Charter of Rights. Both he and interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae proclaimed that the charter was a historic, non-partisan accomplishment of which all Canadians should be proud.

"And when we did that, we said to every single Canadian, there are no back seats, there are no second-class seats ... for the citizens of Canada, whether you came here yesterday or whether you came here 300 years ago, you are a Canadian and your rights are protected," (Liberal Leader Bob) Rae said.

Yet neither could resist the opportunity to take Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper to task for his government's refusal to mark the occasion with anything more than a perfunctory news release.

Neither the Tories nor the NDP appeared inclined to draw attention to what they regard as a primarily Liberal achievement.


Canada would be Anders Breivik's worst nightmare. It has the highest immigration rate (or at least claims to) in the world and enshrines protection for multiculturalism in its constitution.

Immigration and multiculturalism are the two things he thinks are ruining Norway. Liberals in Norway have supported both, too, (much to Breivik's irritation) but not to the extent that they have in Canada.

Someone should have told Breivik to chill out. It could be worse. You could have been born in Canada.

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Reply Canada's Charter of Rights anniversary highlights liberal/conservative split. (Original post)
pampango Apr 2012 OP
Lucy Goosey Apr 2012 #1
Selatius Apr 2012 #2
Lucy Goosey Apr 2012 #3
laundry_queen Apr 2012 #5
Lucy Goosey Apr 2012 #6
pampango Apr 2012 #4

Response to pampango (Original post)

Wed Apr 18, 2012, 07:19 AM

1. Unfortunately, we elected a government that has no respect for the Charter. Or rights.

Another good article about it, if anyone is interested:

Three key characteristics of the Charter explain its attraction to jurisdictions as diverse as Hong Kong, South Africa, Israel and New Zealand: the modern nature of the Charter, Canada’s credibility and the Charter’s accessibility.

On the Charter’s modern nature, I mean both the Charter’s age as well as its outlook. The Charter is a late 20th-century bill of rights in a time where the leading competing constitutional visions date back at least two centuries.

The American Bill of Rights is an 18th-century document that reflects its prevailing political philosophy — a classical liberal Lockean ethos of individualism. The French Declaration of the Rights of Man dates to the same period. Both documents have been and continue to be highly influential and inspirational as part of a very small and elite group of intellectual progenitors of 20th- and 21st-century rights discourse rather than providing concrete blueprints that speak to the challenges of the constitutional state in the 21st century.

In contrast, the Charter reflects Canada’s struggle with the challenges of a modern multicultural and multilingual society. Canada is not unique in facing such issues. The Charter recognizes the existence and the legitimacy of minorities and indigenous groups. While it is a product of our history, the Charter also reflects Canada’s vision as a participant in a global world. It draws strength from a universalist conception of human rights rather than any particular Canadian notion of rights, although it emphasizes rights that have special relevance to the Canadian condition such as language rights.

It's too bad our current (Conservative) government doesn't respect the Charter. Or human rights in general, except the right for the rich to get richer, and the rights of gun owners to not have to register their weapons (and we don't have the right to bear arms in our constitution or charter). The Conservatives are an embarassment. I'm sorry, world! I'm going to be trying extra-hard to vote them out in 3 years!

The text of the charter is here, if anyone is curious: http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/charter/page-1.html#l_I

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Response to Lucy Goosey (Reply #1)

Wed Apr 18, 2012, 07:29 AM

2. I wouldn't say you guys elected the Conservatives. It's just a quirk of your system.

The Conservatives won by virtue of the fact that the right in Canada is still largely unified against a fractured left.

On the other hand, you have multiple parties on the left. You have, of course, the Liberals, but many have started drifting away from them because of the appearance that they've been drifting rightward with all the talk of free trade and instituting neoliberalism. People who left the Liberal Party for that reason are going to the NDP or the Greens.

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Response to Selatius (Reply #2)

Wed Apr 18, 2012, 08:15 AM

3. Yes, of course

Believe me, I know. I'm incredibly frustrated by the system. I think we should elect a President like the US.

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Response to Lucy Goosey (Reply #3)

Wed Apr 18, 2012, 09:45 AM

5. God no.

way too much power concentrated in one person. It would be a disaster.

Occasionally the parliamentary system turns out a government that the people didn't really want, but generally the pendulum swings back with force. And hey, if Wildrose wins in Alberta, maybe they'll go federal

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #5)

Wed Apr 18, 2012, 10:36 AM

6. The thing is someone unelected currently has all that power

We have an unelected Governor General, who is the representative of the British monarch. I feel like making the office of the GG is at least a step in the right direction, because as it is, Governors General always do what the Prime Minister says to do; there would be an outcry if an unelected official overruled an elected one.

But I'm veering off topic here.

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Response to Lucy Goosey (Reply #1)

Wed Apr 18, 2012, 08:54 AM

4. I love this: "...the Charter also reflects Canada’s vision as a participant in a global world."

The Conservatives are indeed an embarrassment. I would say that ours (republicans) are worse than yours, but it may be that the conservatives you live with are always worse than those who are farther away.

So don't apologize for your Conservatives. We won't blame them you for them, if you don't blame our conservatives on us. We all just need to keep doing all we can to get them out of power or keep them out.

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