The Charter! Thirty Years of Rights & Freedoms!

Last April marked the 30th anniversary of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Many major media outlets wrote about this significant event, but the Government of Canada paid little attention to this achievement in our development as a country. Here is a great article from the Globe and Mail identifying why it might be a big deal:

What you are tasked with doing is two-fold. Firstly, review the “You be the Judge” articles in Chapter Two of the text at the back of the room (You’ll have to blow the dust off). Select a “You be the Judge” (there are four). Do you agree or disagree with what the judges ruled? How would you have ruled? Go to the Supreme Court’s website and look up the case using the citation. How did the justices rule? What cases did they use to help them come to a decision?

Secondly, in terms of Gloria Taylor, what articles of the Charter was she suggesting were being violated under BC and Canadian Law?


19 thoughts on “The Charter! Thirty Years of Rights & Freedoms!

  1. I oppose the court’s decision. If you are a prisoner, you have committed a crime. I believe that if you have committed a crime you should lose all rights, including the right to vote. I think that even prisoners serving a sentence of less than two years should lose the right to vote. Sauvé does not deserve the right to vote, because he has, at least in the eyes of the law, infringed on the rights of another.

  2. R. V. A.M., 2008 SCC 19 (CanLII)The supreme Court or Canada dismissed the appeal because the police violated article number 8 of the charter and section 24(2) of the charter. We (Steven and Simon) Agree with the court because of the police acting without a warrant. We believe that that they need a reasonable cause to be able to conduct a search.

  3. Rodriguez v. British Columbia I believe that sue Rodriguez had a very good argument and there should be a right to die with dignity. I think there should be a rule that you can only die with dignity if you have a terminal illness that will deteriorate your body over time. Some judges thought that her case violated section 7 of the charter, but after it was decided by justice Sopinka that her request did not violate the charter. They did not look at any other particular cases but they did relate it to suicide and they looked into the history of prohibited suicide. I don't believe that anyone intervened their way into this case.

  4. I looked at the Sue Rodriguez case that we discussed in class. I believe that Sue Rodriguez should have been given the right to die with dignity because she had such a horrible disease that didn't allow her to function as an independent adult. Although in the Supreme Court of Canada Sue lost 5 votes to 4, she ended up taking her own life with the help of an unnamed Doctor. I think that the assiste suicide law should still be included in the criminal code unless the person fighting for the right to die has a physical terminal illness that prevents them from functioning as they used to. There should be consent.

  5. I believe that the supreme court should not have let the inmates of over 2 years, vote for parliament. If the crime they committed was to such an extent that they were put in jail for over 2 years, then I believe that they have lost their charter rights, and should not have the right to vote. These inmates lost their rights to freedom when they committed such a serious crime, so if they lose those rights, they definitely should lose these ones.

  6. R. v. A.M., [2008] 1 S.C.R. 569, 2008 SCC 19My own personal opinion is that the student had a reasonable, if limited expectation of privacy in this instance. I would have ruled that as the backpack was left in the gym and that the students and parents had been consistently reminded of the drug problem that the evidence should be admitted. Certain judges have said that the appeal for the exemption of evidence should be dismissed because the use of drug sniffing dogs constitutes a reasonable suspicion. Some judges said that students have a reasonable expectation of privacy in school sighting R. v. Kang‑Brown, [2008] 1 S.C.R. 456, 2008 SCC 18. Certain judges say that there was no authority for the police to use a dog randomly. Some judges say that the sniff by the dog constituted a search and some of the judges said it did not. The supreme court dismissed the request for the exclusion of evidence.

  7. The case I chose was the issue of whether a drug sniffing dog entering a school without warrant is an unreasonable search and seizure (R v. A.M.). The judges had several different opinions on the issue, some of them thought that the search was unconstitutional and that a degree of privacy should be expected for an unguarded bag in a school, some believed that the search was constitutional, and others believed that the dog being brought into the school was not a search at all. Overall, the idea that the search was constitutional was the winning verdict, and the appeal went through. Personally, I think that this Is stupid. Firstly, if I bring a dog into a school, it smells drugs, and I alert the authorities, this is not considered unreasonable search and seizure. Dogs smelling things is not a search, nobody opened anybody's bag until there was more than enough evidence to suggest that there were drugs in the bag. If there weren't drugs in the bag, nobody's privacy would have been invaded, a dog just smelled it. The smelling of the bag was NOT a search, it was a search once there was probable cause and the officer opened the bag with the evidence was provided.Furthermore, I believe that the constitutional laws against unreasonable search and seizure should not be enforced if the person who was searched was guilty. If not, and there was no warrant or what would be considered probably cause, the officer should be punished, but personally, I see the unreasonable search and seizure law as being an excuse for criminals to get off and avoid justice. I wouldn't mind if a police officer opened my bag at school to check for drugs, as I have nothing to hide. Domiciles should be a different matter, as it would be a pain to get your house barged into by cops, but an unguarded bag sitting in your government provided school? Come on.On the other topic, Gloria Taylor was arguing that the law against physician assisted suicide was unconstitutional because it broke section 15 of the charter because it discriminated against those with degenerative diseases who do not have the ability to commit suicide themselves, and section 7, the right to life, which she argued states that the government must allow you to die if you no longer want to live. While I support Gloria Taylor's cause, I feel that these are weak arguments.Mitch

  8. In the case of R. v. A.M., I would rule that the search was unjustified. I think this because even if the participants were chosen randomly, depriving random people of their rights is no better than singling out people to deprive. Also, I believe that the lockers of the students should be considered their property, because although they are on the school property, it is still a personal and private space. If that is the case, then this warrentless search would violate the students rights.

  9. The three judged decided to let Sue Rodriguez die, but not to create a law allowing assisted suicide. While they were correct in letting her die, they should have created a law. Making assisted suicide illegal violates three charter rights: sections 7, 12 and 15. Section 7 states that everyone is entitled to the right of life, liberty and security. While on a basic level this just means everyone is allowed to live, it also means that you are allowed to choose what you want to do with your life. If you wish to terminate it, that should be your decision.Section 12 gives everyone freedom from cruel and unusual punishment. Diseases like ALS get incredibly painful, and it can be argued that forcing someone to live with this pain is cruel and unusual punishment.Section 15 guarantees equal rights to everyone regardless of lots of aspects, including disability. Suicide is legal, but assisted suicide is not. As time went on, Rodriguez became less and less able to make her own physical decisions. She wanted to end her life, but was physically too weak and unable. Denying her the right to die would be discriminating against the fact that she couldn't make that decision herself and therefore discriminating against her disability.The same violations apply to Taylor's case. She was not able to make her own decisions and was being discriminated against.Becca

  10. In the case of R. v. A.M., I agree with the court's ruling that the the student's right against unreasonable search and seizure had been violated. The police that conducted the search had no prior suspicion of drugs in that student's backpack before the use of the dog, and they did not obtain any warrants during the search process. This violated the student's expectation of privacy in regards to his/her personal property. I think it was therefore reasonable that the evidence was ruled inadmissable.lin the casevof gloria taylor, the laws against assisted uicide violated article 7 (rights to equality and to life, liberty and security of the person), and article 15

  11. For my analysis, I chose the Arsenault-Cameron v. Prince Edward Island case. Before we decide on which side the ruling should go, let’s figure out some of the important facts of the proceedings. There are several acts and pieces of legislation which have to do with this case. This is a constitutional case, and as such, it is based on section 23 (language of instruction) in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which is under minority language educational rights. Aside from the charter, this case also concerns the School Act, both in terms of the role of the Minister of Education and French Language instruction. Cases used to determine precedent in this case included Mahe v. Alberta, which referenced the School Act, R. v. Beaulac, Operation Dismantle Inc. v. The Queen, Slaight Communications Inc. v. Davidson, and Lavoie v. Nova Scotia (Attorney General). The interveners, or judges involved in this case were Antonio Larmer, Claire L'Heureux-Dubé, Charles Doherty Gonthier, Beverly McLachlin, Frank Lacobucci, John C. Major, Michel Bastarache, William Ian Corneil Binnie, and Louise Arbour.In this case, the appeal was upheld, which means that a French language school needed to be built for the instruction of the children in question. The vote was unanimous, with reasons that the number of students it would involve (49-155 students) warrants the school’s establishment, especially considering the age of the children would otherwise result in their assimilation into English culture, and English school instead of spending the hour long bus ride to get there. Though the costs of running a school would be significant, I would tend to agree with the ruling. This is a direct violation of the Charter of Rights and freedoms, and should be righted as such.

  12. Rodriguez v. British Columbia (Attorney General), 1993 CanLII 75 (S.C.C.) The Supreme Court disagreed with Rodriguez. The court said that "the objective of the laws was to preserve life and protect the vulnerablr in society." Sue hoped someone would be able to "help" her end her life once she is unable to enjoy life. In my opinion people has the right to suicide but it is illegal for anyone to assist in a suicide. In a five to four decision, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed/Denied the appeal, the Court upheld the provision in the Criminal Code of Canada. As a human I would accept the appeal because Sue is unable to enjoy life and needing someone to help her end herself. In this case we do not consider helping someone to die as killing. As a judge it is important to follow te law and know that law was to preserve life and protect the vulnerable in societ. However in my opinion I found it ironic because Sue knows what she need and it's her body. If she cannot enjoy her life, she wants to end her life and do not want to live anymore longer. That cannot not be "Protect the vulnerable in society". In my opinion, to protect the vulnerable in society does not mean to keep them survive, to protect the vulnerables meaning to have the best decision fo them.

  13. Rodriguez v. British Columbia I do not agree with the Supreme court's decision of 1993 on denying Sue Rodriguez the right to be assisted in her death. This is because I agree with her point that it denied her the right to security of person. If she knew she was going to die she should have legally been allowed to procure assistance in it before she was changed as a person because of her unfortunate case of ALS. Also the Supreme Court stated that the law was there to protect the vulnerable but I disagree with this because in this case Sue Rodriguez had the ability to choose that she no longer wanted to live and I think she should have the right to deal with that accordingly. I think this should not be allowed for those who are more vulnerable (those with difficulty expressing themselves) but it is not fair to use this against a stable person like Sue Rodriguez, who is in a declining condition.

  14. 1.I analyzed the case of Rodriguez v. British Columbia. In this case, Sue Rodriguez argued that the ban on assisted suicide was unconstitutional as it violated her right to life, liberty, and security of person. She eventually appealed to the supreme court for her right to die.This case was especially difficult because it lacked precedent in Canadian law. Ultimately the court decided to dismiss the appeal to change the law, but did allow Sue Rodriguez herself to commit assisted suicide. Any further appellants wishing to commit assisted suicide would have to appealo the justice system again, the law against assisted suicide was kept in the Criminal Code. The Supreme Court argued that the purpose of the law was to preserve life and therefore was still a valid law.If I were a judge in this case it would be very difficult for me to make a ruling. There are many factors in this case that must be taken into account. First and foremost, a person should not be able to take the life of any other person except in self defense under any circumstances. In this way, I do not believe it can ever be lawful for a physician to take the life of his or her patient. However, I do believe that if someone is in good mental health and is in extreme, unpreventable turmoil and wishes to take his or her own life, then this should be permitted. Taking into account all of these factors, I would rule that a trained physician would be permitted to provide the means with which to take one's own life to any person in extreme pain or strike and in good mental health.2.She claims section 15 on equality was violated as well as section 7 on the right to life.

  15. It frankly disgusts me after reviewing the case of Sauve v Canada. I cannot believe how our court system bows down to criminals as if they are good people. Our supreme court should be ASHAMED of themselves for allowing prisoners serving a sentence of 2 years and over the right to vote. By allowing the prisoners to vote, they'll vote for the party that will give them the smallest prison sentence, not what will benefit our country. Our supreme court has disappointed me time and time again. I disagree with judges Lacobucci, and McLachlin due to their clear misjudgement. They say that it is a fundamental right to be able to vote, however prisoner inmates who have committed indictable offences have lost their charter rights. As long as people who commit indictable offences and are put in jail, should lose their rights completely.Jon

  16. Also to add I agree with James completely, you should lose your charter rights when you are in jail. Everyone who is in jail is there for a reason and should therefore be stripped of their charter and constitutional rights. Somewhat like Guantanamo Bay. But that's a whole other debate.

  17. I analyzed the R. v. A.M case, and I believe that the search was one hundred percent justified. The school was aware that there was a drug issue, and that gives them the right to bring in dogs. If they had been opening students' bags while they were in class without a consent or a reason, they would in fact be violating the students' rights, but that was not the case. Bringing in a dog is not in any way a search. It is a search from the moment that they begin to search through students' personal belongings. For that they would need to have some sort of reasoning, which they did. From the moment they had enough evidence that indicated that the bags did contain illegal substances, that gives the officers the right to go through the students' bags without any of their rights being violated. As for the Gloria Taylor case, I think that this is more of a morality case. If you analyze the charter, you will find that assisted suicide does in fact violate two of the charter's sections. However, in terms of morality, it makes you question rather she should in fact be given the right to be assisted in her suicide taking into consideration the conditions she was living in, and how she was unable to do it herself. I personally think that she should be given those rights because I strongly believe that everyone should be given the right to die with dignity. She knew she would die eventually, and that it was a matter of time before her whole body stopped functioning and she died. I don't think that anyone should have to go through what she did, and that her kids should not have to see their mother in the terminal stages of a disease like that. As long as Gloria, or any other person suffering from a terminal disease the deteriorates your body, was in a healthy mental state that made them aware of their decisions. Nina

  18. Rodriguez v. British Columbia 
I feel that Sue Rodriguez made a very good point about wanting assisted suicide because each day life became more and more unbearable for her and people should not have to be in such excruciating pain. If a person is sick with a terminal disease, they should have the right to be able to have an assisted suicide because as their disease/illness starts to affect their body more and more, life has much less value to them than it does to someone who is healthy and will be able to function without constant pain. If a person with a terminal disease is forced to live it out until the end, depending upon their disease, they could start to need people to help them bathe and go to the washroom, which could make them feel as if they have no dignity. Some of the judges felt as though the Rodriguez case did not follow section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which states that Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice. After some reconsideration by Justice Sopinka, they ruled that that her request actually did not infringe upon the charter. No other cases were used as references to help deiced if Rodriquez were to be permitted assisted suicide but instead they looked into the past-prohibited suicide. No one intervened in this case. Sierra

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