04.11.2012 05:50 AM

Harper and Mulcair’s Achilles heel

Both despise the Charter, for different reasons. Harper loathes equality; Mulcair hates the idea that provinces are equal, and the Charter’s genesis.

Liberals need to be all over this. If there is one document Canadians cherish, it’s this one. Heed the instincts of the old guy, always.

Former Liberal prime minister Jean Chretien is expressing surprise that next week’s 30th anniversary of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the 1982 patriation of the Canadian Constitution seems to have largely escaped the official attention of an otherwise history-conscious Conservative government.

Chretien, who was Pierre Trudeau’s justice minister at the time and a pivotal player in the political drama that led to Queen Elizabeth’s historic Parliament Hill signing of the documents on April 17, 1982, told Postmedia News on Tuesday that — as in 2007, when the 25th anniversary of the charter was widely celebrated outside the federal government — he has not been approached to participate in any official anniversary-related activities.

“I don’t know why they don’t,” Chretien said during an exclusive interview in his Ottawa law office ahead of next Tuesday’s anniversary. “You know, it’s a very important moment in Canadian history — whether you agree or disagree,” added the 78-year-old Chretien, who is scheduled later this week to unveil a new historical display in his hometown of Shawinigan, Que., showcasing hundreds of gifts he received from foreign countries during his decade as prime minister from 1993 to 2003.”


  1. WDM says:

    The Charter got a shout-out in Statements by Members by CPC MP Michael Chong. I don’t think the good Mr. Chong will be back in Cabinet anytime soon.

    • dave says:

      Yeah, I notice MP Chong was one of the 1st to get up in Members’ Statements to deplore the robocall thing and its impact on our elections.
      He’s not yet on my list of Progressive Conservatives of the Jed Baldwin type, but he is closing in.

  2. michael hale says:

    Chretien has a way of giving advice to the party just by expressing his natural inclinations.

  3. Bill From Willowdale says:

    It doesn’t matter. The federal Liberals, with Bob Rae permanently at the helm, are doomed. Best we all start planning for a Conservative / NDP two party system. Sad true but it’s likely now.

  4. Michael Behiels says:

    The Charter is in danger for two reasons.

    1-Harper cut the Court Challenges Program except for Official Languages communities that are protected. Most citizens can’t afford to take their Charter cases to court all the way to the SCC.

    2- Harper has appointed and will appoint more anti-Charter judges to the Supreme Court of Canada as well as appointing Federal court judges and m any provincial court judges.

    If he succeeds with his anti-Charter agenda over the next ten years, the Citizens’ Charter will be a worthless piece of paper.

  5. The only ‘hatred’ I see is from Kinsella. There is plenty to be critical of where Harper is concerned, but a hatred of equality seems a bit odd. I’d like to ask someone what Harper has done to quash equality in Canada. Has a section of the Charter been deleted without us knowing it? Have women been made second class citizens? Has he declared war on homosexuals? Has he singled out some ethnic group?

    I know this is Kinsella’s site, but I think there is a better way to criticize any politician than to engage in meaningless hyperbole and rhetoric. Behiels, at least, points to policies the Conservatives have brought in. That forms the basis of an argument. I would like to know which of the new SCC justices are “anti-Charter.” Perhaps what he means is justices who have a different interpretation of the Charter, one he doesn’t agree with. I thought the law was supposed to be open to interpretation. There have certainly been some questionable decisions in support of Charter rights in the last 30 years.

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