A constitution is the supreme law of a nation that outlines the government structure for the nation and defines and limits government power.
The British North American Act (BNA Act) of 1867 was Canada’s first constitution that set up the basic system of government that we have today.
The Constitution Act of 1982 is the supreme law of Canada and it includes the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms spells out the nature of civil rights in Canada.
All the laws in Canada must be consistent with it. Therefore, the government of Canada and the provincial governments are required to comply with it and to protect the fundamental rights of Canadians.
The Charter can be used to protect individuals from unfair political or legal decisions.
All Canadians must receive equal treatment and protection under the law, regardless of their race, ethnic origin, religion, sex, age, disability or sexual orientation.
The notwithstanding clause allows Parliament or a provincial legislature to pass a law violating any of these rights (except the equality right that prohibits discrimination based on sex). They can do this simply by inserting in such law a declaration that it shall operate notwithstanding the fact that it is contrary to a particular provision of the Charter.
Our Basic Rights - The Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Most Canadians take the idea of rights for granted. However, it was not until 1982 that a Charter (legal document outlining rights) was included in the Canadian Constitution, the basic law of land. These basic freedoms are summarized as follows: 1.
a) freedom of conscience and religion
b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion, and expression including i) freedom of the press (news reporters)
ii) freedom of peaceful assembly (public and private meetings of groups) iii) freedom of association (to meet with anyone)
a) right to vote
b) right to...
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