Finding Order in Calgary's Cash Corner: Using Legal Pluralism to Craft Legal Remedies for Conflicts Involving Marginalized Persons in Public Spaces
41 Pages Posted: 12 Sep 2014 Last revised: 4 Oct 2014
Date Written: August 28, 2014
Conflicts over how to use public space have been met with legal responses that often have exclusionary effects on marginalized persons in the community. This article will situate the conversation within the case study of day labourers congregating in a public block in downtown Calgary. Using insights from legal pluralism and findings from secondary ethnographic research on informal economies, the article will show that marginalized persons who gather in public spaces do not necessarily exist randomly or engage in chaotic or deviant behaviour. Rather, order can and does exist amongst marginalized communities in public spaces in the ways that they abide by common rules and norms, and in the ways that they adapt to existing legal restrictions. The article argues that by recognizing order in these marginalized spaces, in fashioning remedies, courts can move away from a competing rights approach to focus on more consultative and flexible remedies. The article proposes one example, by using section 24 of the Charter to craft remedies that may more properly solve the question of how do we all share public space?
Keywords: day labourers, immigrants, marginalized persons, public space, legal pluralism, charter, remedies, informal economy
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