Has the charter shifted the power to judiciary at the expense of the legislative branch?
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms has had a signnifcant impact on Canadian politics. It bestows judges with the power to reject laws that have been made by the elected representatives of the people. Some maintain the view that the Charter has expanded the rights and liberties of citizens, as well as the power of judges, at the expense of the legislative branch, and for this reason, it has changed the manner in which we conduct politics. On the other hand, some argue that the Charter has not given courts unlimited power over legislatures. The Charter of Rights is understood in such broad, vague language that gives judges a great deal of discretion in applying its provisions to laws that come before them. The judicial review is legitimate in a democratic society because of our commitment to the rule of law. All of the insititutions in our society must abide by the rule of law, and judicial review requires obedience by the legislative bodies to the law of Constitution. Judges are given the power to maintain or reject laws that they consider contradictory of the Charter. Additionally, a strong, independent judiciary is essential to the functioning of a democracy. Firstly, the statutes passed by the elected representatives are open to interpretation by the courts. Secondly, the judiciary adjudicates the disputes between the federal and provincial government, since they would be neutral in the situation. Lastly, the courts play a critical role in determining whether government actions are respectful of the rights of freedom and equality. However, this power given to the judiciary has created some concerns. For example, judges are appointed by the federal government in a closed process because of their training, they are not appointed because of any particular expertise. Therefore, some skeptics believe that judges are not competent. Also, there is a...
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