The End of the Charter Revolution: Looking Back from the New Normal

By Peter J. McCormick

© 2014

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms became an entrenched part of the Canadian Constitution on April 17, 1982. The Charter represented a significant change in Canadian constitutional order and carried the courts, and the Supreme Court in particular, decisively into some of the biggest controversies in Canadian politics. Although the impact of the Charter on Canadian law and society was profound, a new status quo has been established. Even though there will be future Charter surprises and decisions that will claim news headlines, Peter J. McCormick argues that these cases will be occasional rather than frequent, and that the Charter "revolution" is over. Or, as he puts it in his introduction, "I will tell a story about the Charter, about the big ripples that have gradually but steadily died away such that the surface of the pond is now almost smooth."

The End of the Charter Revolution explores the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, beginning with a general historical background, followed by a survey of the significant changes brought about as Charter decisions were made. The book addresses a series of specific cases made before the Dickson, Lamer, and McLachlin Courts, and then provides empirical data to support the argument that the Charter revolution has ended. The Supreme Court has without question become "a national institution of the first order," but even though the Charter is a large part of why this has happened, it is not Charter decisions that will showcase the exercise of this power in the future.

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Product Details

  • Division: Higher Education
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.6in x 9.0in
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  • PUBLISHED DEC 2014
    From: $29.95
    ISBN 9781442606395
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    ISBN 9781442608337
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Quick Overview

The End of the Charter Revolution explores the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, beginning with a general historical background, followed by a survey of the significant changes brought about as Charter decisions were made.

The End of the Charter Revolution: Looking Back from the New Normal

By Peter J. McCormick

© 2014

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms became an entrenched part of the Canadian Constitution on April 17, 1982. The Charter represented a significant change in Canadian constitutional order and carried the courts, and the Supreme Court in particular, decisively into some of the biggest controversies in Canadian politics. Although the impact of the Charter on Canadian law and society was profound, a new status quo has been established. Even though there will be future Charter surprises and decisions that will claim news headlines, Peter J. McCormick argues that these cases will be occasional rather than frequent, and that the Charter "revolution" is over. Or, as he puts it in his introduction, "I will tell a story about the Charter, about the big ripples that have gradually but steadily died away such that the surface of the pond is now almost smooth."

The End of the Charter Revolution explores the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, beginning with a general historical background, followed by a survey of the significant changes brought about as Charter decisions were made. The book addresses a series of specific cases made before the Dickson, Lamer, and McLachlin Courts, and then provides empirical data to support the argument that the Charter revolution has ended. The Supreme Court has without question become "a national institution of the first order," but even though the Charter is a large part of why this has happened, it is not Charter decisions that will showcase the exercise of this power in the future.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Division: Higher Education
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.6in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    The End of the Charter Revolution makes a provocative claim, supports it with good evidence, and will generate significant scholarly debate. It will also be useful in the classroom, given its moderate length, clean writing style, wealth of data, and intriguing observations.
    Christopher Manfredi, McGill University
  • Author Information

    Peter J. McCormick is Professor in the Political Science Department at the University of Lethbridge. He is the author of several books, including Supreme at Last: The Evolution of the Supreme Court of Canada 1949-1999 (2000) and Canada's Courts (1994).
  • Table of contents

    List of Illustrations
    Acknowledgements
    Introduction

    1. Towards the Charter
    False Dawn: The Supreme Court in the 1950s
    False Start: The Bill of Rights
    The Bill of Rights as Fumbled Opportunity
    Preparing the Revolution: Transforming the Court
    Accomplishing the Revolution: Entrenching the Charter

    2. Interpreting the Charter
    Modes of Constitutional Interpretation
    Interpreting the Bills of Rights
    Conclusion: Interpreting Constitutions, Interpreting Rights

    3. The Dickson Court: The Charter Framed
    The Dickson Court and the Charter: The "First Five"
    Following Up
    The Blockbuster: Morgentaler
    The Odd One Out: The Labour Trilogy
    Conclusion

    4. The Lamer Court: The Charter Expanded
    The Lamer Court and Gay Rights
    The Lamer Court and Equality Rights
    The Lamer Court and Free Speech or Obscenity
    The Lamer Court and Judicial Independence
    The Lamer Court and Charter Remedies: The Expanding Repertoire
    Charter Remedies: Retroactive Invalidity
    Charter Remedies: Declaration
    Charter Remedies: Adjusting the Legislation through Interpretation
    Charter Remedies: Reading up and Reading in
    Charter Remedies: Temporary Suspension of Invalidity
    Charter Remedies: The Constitutional Exemption
    Conclusion

    5. The McLachlin Court: The Charter Contained
    The McLachlin Court: Substantive Issues under the Charter
    Substantive Issues: Voting Rights
    Substantive Matters: Extradition and the Death Penalty
    Substantive Matters: Equality Rights
    Substantive Matters: Freedom of Religion
    Substantive Matters: Freedom of Association
    Substantive Matters: Health Care
    Substantive Matters: Freedom of Expression
    Remedies under the Charter
    Remedies: The Supervisory Order Option
    Remedies under the Charter: Damages and Monetary Remedies
    Remedies under the Charter: The Notion of Positive Rights
    Conclusion

    6. The Charter by the Numbers
    1. Caseload Size and Its Components
    2. Frequency of Disagreement: Minority Reasons in Charter Cases
    3. Size and Content of Decisions
    4. "Swing" and "Contest" Judgements
    5. Judicial Citations, Age, and Precedential Replacement
    6. Citations of Dissents and Concurrences
    7. "Foreign" Citations
    8. Academic Citations
    Conclusion

    Conclusion
    Cases Cited
    Bibliography
    Index

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