AuthorRobert J. Sharpe; Kent Roach
The amendment of the Canadian Constitution in 1982 to include the
Charter of Rights and Freedoms brought about a fundamental change
in Canadian l aw and politics.1 The Charter sign if‌icantly increased the
law-making power of Canadian courts. Decisions on m any important
public issues, formerly within t he exclusive authority of Parliament and
the provincial legislatures, are now subject to judicial review. Char-
ter litigation has become an import ant tool used by interest groups
to advance their political ends. Canadian courts now play a central
role in deciding how the law should deal with such int ractable issues
as assisted dying,2 abortion,3 mandatory ret irement,4 the legitimacy of
laws restricting pornography5 and hate propaganda,6 laws concerning
prostitut ion,7 and the treatment accorded minoritie s, such as gays and
lesbians.8 In addition, the recognition of Aboriginal and treaty rights
1 Canadian Char ter of Rights and Freedoms, Part I of the Constitution Act, 1982,
being Schedule B to t he Canada Act 1982 (UK), 1982, c 11 [Charter].
2 Carter v Canad a (Attorney General), 2015 SCC 5, [2015] 1 SCR 331.
3 R v Morgentaler, [1988] 1 SCR 30, 44 DLR (4th) 385.
4 McKinney v University of Guelph, [1990] 3 SCR 229, 76 DLR (4th) 545; Stoman v
Vancouver General Hospital, [1990] 3 SCR 483, 76 DLR (4th) 700.
5 R v Butler, [1992] 1 SCR 452, 70 CCC (3d) 129; R v Sharpe, [2001] 1 SCR 45, 194
DLR (4th) 1.
6 R v Keegstra, [1990] 3 SCR 697, 61 CCC (3d) 1.
7 Canada (Attor ney General) v Bedford, [2013] 3 SCR 1101.
8 Vriend v Alberta, [1998] 1 SCR 493, 156 DLR (4th) 385; M v H, [1999] 2 SCR 3,
177 DLR (4th) 577; Little Sisters Book and Art Empor ium v Canada (Minister of

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT