Justice, Equality and Rights

Course Code: POLS 224

Academic Year: 2021-2022

Since 1982, with the introduction of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, we have witnessed a dramatic acceleration in the moral evolution of Canadian society. Much of this change has been spearheaded by the Supreme Court, which has increasingly come to replace Parliament as the architect of our nation's understanding and application of justice. What the court has essentially wrought through its rulings is a social and political order more respectful of individual rights, more concerned with the realization of equality and more intent on improving the condition of traditionally marginalized groups. Focusing on the most important constitutional cases of the past twenty years, this course will examine the impact that the Supreme Court has exercised through its interpretation of the Charter and the constitution in general. The course will examine the court's decisions on religious expression, hate speech, abortion, health care, union privileges, the rights of the criminally accused, anti-terrorism laws, pornography and sexual orientation. An overriding question throughout the course will be whether the Supreme Court's articulation of justice, equality and rights has served Canadian society well.