Second-Class Rights? Principle and Compromise in the Charter

Dalhousie Law Journal, Vol. 13, No. 564, 1990

30 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2008

See all articles by Denise G. Reaume

Denise G. Reaume

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

Leslie Green

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law; Queen's University - Faculty of Law

Date Written: January 1, 1990

Abstract

In Societe des Acadiens du Nouveau-Brunswick v. Minority Language School Board No. 50, Beetz J. found two distinct classes of rights in the Charter and proposes a different interpretative policy with respect to each of them. First-class or 'seminal' rights are those founded in principle, while second-class rights are founded only in a political compromise among competing groups. Language rights are treated as political compromise rights.

This new view is a troubling one, not merely because it is, as we shall argue, unsatisfactory as a piece of legal reasoning, but also because the Court's division of the Charter into rights deserving a generous interpretation and those to be interpreted restrictively, is general in character, threatening to affect more than just language rights. We argue that this division between rights cannot be drawn in a plausible way and that it does not support the interpretative consequences which the Court draws from it.

Suggested Citation

Reaume, Denise G. and Green, Leslie, Second-Class Rights? Principle and Compromise in the Charter (January 1, 1990). Dalhousie Law Journal, Vol. 13, No. 564, 1990, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1159753 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1159753

Denise G. Reaume (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
Canada
514-398-6694 (Phone)

Leslie Green

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law ( email )

Balliol College
Oxford
Oxford, UK, OX1 3BJ
United Kingdom

Queen's University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Kingston, Canada, Ontario K7L3N6
Canada

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