Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Charter of Convenient Politics

Sometimes the mask slips a little… Dust my Broom catches this nugget from the Winnipeg Free Press:

A looming court battle over Manitoba's anti-smoking law will hinge on whether the province must treat white bar owners the same as their aboriginal counterparts, an issue that could have implications across the country.

The section of the law that exempted aboriginal reserves from the smoking ban was struck down in August by Justice Albert Clearwater of Court of Queen's Bench, who ruled it violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Manitoba government is trying to appeal the decision by arguing, in part, that the Charter guarantee was not designed to provide a level playing field for white males.
If the Manitoba government's argument is correct, the Charter does not exist to protect equality; by definition, it promotes inequality instead, making it a Charter less of Rights and Freedoms than is supposed than one of Privileges and Immunities (which subsection 2 of section 15 pretty much allows anyway). The assertion by the Manitoba government is not necessarily a long shot either; the Supreme Court has certainly done little to discourage their interpretation.
The province argues that if everyone must be treated equally under the law, employment equity programs and other initiatives designed to help minorities could be struck down.
That's rather it in a nutshell. [Emphases added in quotes.]


Little Tobacco said...

the interpretation of the Charter as protector of group/minority rights is the "human rights" as opposed to "individual rights" interpretation and, sadly, it is the dominant interpretation at present.

MapMaster said...

Little Tobacco, could you email us at thelondonfog@hotmail.com? There is a cash prize waiting for you!

Anonymous said...


It seems that we are entering the day when blatant racism by a governing authority can be openly practiced without contest.