Constitutional Rhetoric or Social Justice? Reflections on the Justiciability Debate
Social Justice and the Constitution - Perspectives on a Social Union for Canada, eds J. Bakan & D. Schneiderman, Ottawa, Carleton University Press: pp 17-28 (1992).
3 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2015
Date Written: 1992
The Ontario government’s initial efforts to put a social charter on the Canadian constitutional reform agenda were welcomed by poverty rights advocates across Canada, who lamented the absence of explicit reference to social rights in the 1982 Charter. However, no government seems prepared to support the entrenchment of anything stronger than a declaration of good intentions. The chapter challenges conventional arguments relating to positive versus negative rights; judicial competence and the pursuit of rights as a mechanism for social change, that underlie the prevailing critique of justiciable social rights. It concludes that, by rejecting the justiciablity of social rights, Canada’s First Ministers have lost a precious opportunity to transform the Charter into a more faithful reflection of the social values and aspirations which the vast majority of Canadians share.
Keywords: Ontario, charter, constitution, reform, poverty rights, poverty, entrenchment, positive rights, negative rights, social change, justicability, social values
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