by Rhonda Massad
Canada 150 Community Leader
April 17, marks the 35th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Charter signed into law by Queen Elizabeth II in 1982, guarantees certain political rights to Canadian citizens and civil rights of everyone in Canada from the policies and actions of all areas and levels of the government. It is designed to unify Canadians around a set of principles that embody those rights.
“For the past 35 years, the Charter has helped build a country where people from all over the world can come together as equals and create opportunities for one another,” stated The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau in a statement today.
“The Charter protects the rights and freedoms that are essential to our identity as Canadians. It allows us to express ourselves as individuals and to celebrate our differences while bringing us closer as a country,” he continued.
One of the most notable effects of the adoption of the Charter was to greatly expand the scope of judicial review because the Charter is more explicit with respect to the guarantee of rights and the role of judges in enforcing them than was the Bill of Rights.
“The spirit and substance of the Charter are at the heart of Canada’s success and should inspire us all as we work toward a fairer, more just and compassionate society,” he stated.
“Today, I remind Canadians that we have no task greater than to stand on guard for one another’s liberties. The words enshrined in the Charter are our rights, freedoms, and – above all – our collective responsibility.”