Articles on Charter of Rights and Freedoms

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Australia is the only Western democracy without some form of charter of rights legislated by parliament or entrenched in the constitution. Lukas Coch/AAP

Why an Australian charter of rights is a matter of national urgency

We have a serious deficit in legal protection for human rights in Australia, rights that have been in regression for 20 years. We need a legislated charter setting out the rights we care about.
A team of Canadian therapists have filed an application with Health Canada seeking permission to provide psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy to patients with terminal cancer. (Shutterstock)

What if psychedelics could revolutionize the way you die?

Research shows therapeutic psilocybin to be a safe and effective antidote to end-of-life anxiety and depression. Does prohibition therefore violate our right to "life, liberty and security?"
Quebec premier-designate François Legault gestures as he addresses a meeting of his new caucus on Oct. 3, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

First Ontario, now Quebec: The notwithstanding threat

Threats by two of Canada's newest premiers to invoke the notwithstanding clause send a clear message to the federal Liberals: Ontario and Quebec do not play by the rules.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s threat to wield the notwithstanding clause reveals flaws in Canada’s Constitution in terms of how municipalities are completely unprotected. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Ford’s fight with Toronto shows legal vulnerability of cities

Ontario's recent threat to use the notwithstanding clause to reduce the size of Toronto's city council is a reminder that municipalities have little protection under the Constitution.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford speaks to reporters in Toronto on Sept. 10, 2018, after announcing he’ll invoke the notwithstanding clause in his battle to shrink Toronto city council. Is Ford taking on the “Court Party?” THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov.

Doug Ford’s attack on the ‘Court Party’

Doug Ford’s wielding of the notwithstanding clause is part of a broader opposition to judicial activism that has developed among right-wing politicians and academics in the post-Charter era.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford speaks to reporters in Toronto on Sept. 10, 2018. He’s vowing to invoke the seldom used notwithstanding clause in his fight to slash the size of Toronto city council. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov.

The history of the notwithstanding clause

The notwithstanding clause in Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms has seldom been used. But it's not totally gathering dust, and now Ontario Premier Doug Ford is threatening to wield it.

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