'Making Canada a meaningful contributor in the world' - Macleans.ca

‘Making Canada a meaningful contributor in the world’

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Given the Harper government’s eagerness to celebrate international recognition, there will no doubt be congratulations offered in the House this week for Pierre Trudeau on the occasion of a new study heralding the global influence of the Charter.

Mr. Barak, for his part, identified a new constitutional superpower: “Canadian law,” he wrote, “serves as a source of inspiration for many countries around the world.” The new study also suggests that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, adopted in 1982, may now be more influential than its American counterpart.

The Canadian Charter is both more expansive and less absolute. It guarantees equal rights for women and disabled people, allows affirmative action and requires that those arrested be informed of their rights. On the other hand, it balances those rights against “such reasonable limits” as “can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.”

(Headline taken from the Prime Minister’s speech to last year’s Conservative convention.)