Presentation on theme: "The Rights of Canadian Citizens. What is a right? A legal or natural entitlement to have something or to do something without interference from others."— Presentation transcript:
What is a right? A legal or natural entitlement to have something or to do something without interference from others ▫What are some examples of right that all Canadians have? Examples in Canada: ▫free speech ▫right to vote ▫equal access to the law BUT: you don’t have the right to do something just because you need it or want it. ▫Rights are not wants. ▫Rights are not unlimited.
Human vs. Legal Rights Both exist in a democracy Human rights are said to be the rights we are born with, don’t come from the laws of any specific society. Legal rights reflect a society’s customs and values and are protected by the laws and statutes of a country. Equal Rights ▫all citizens share and are entitled to rights equally. ▫protect individuals or groups from intolerance, prejudice, persecution, enslavement and genocide.
Human vs. Legal Rights Human RightsLegal Rights The fundamental rights all human beings are entitled to ▫Apply to everyone ▫Cannot be changed or taken away by others ▫Are NOT enforceable legal rights until they are passed into a nation’s law. Rights that are set out in and enforced through laws ▫Apply to all citizens in a country ▫Can change over time ▫May or may not include human rights depending on the country
What are Human Rights? The United Nations created the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. It: ▫Stated that universal human rights are essential for peace, freedom and justice in the world ▫is universal, which means that everyone has the same rights regardless of who they are, where they are, or what they think or believe. ▫rejects discrimination on the basis of: race, nationality, age, religion, skin colour, gender, political opinion, sexual orientation, language
What rights do individual Canadians have? In 1982, Canada created the Constitution Act ▫updated the BNA Act from Confederation ▫patriated the constitution from Britain The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is the most important document within the Constitution Act The Charter ▫documents the rights that ALL Canadians are entitled to and cannot be denied ▫defines Canada’s ethical expectations about how people living in Canada should be treated and what their quality of life should be Although Quebec did not sign the Constitution Act and there are instances where the Charter can be overridden, it is still seen as a landmark document throughout the world
Fundamental Freedoms Conscience and Religion Thought and Belief Opinion and Expression Assembly and Association Press and Media Democratic Rights To Vote Elections at Least Every Five Years Legal Rights Life, Liberty and Security of Property Freedom from Unreasonable Search, Arbitrary Imprisonment, and Cruel and Unusual Punishment Presumed Innocent Until Proven Guilty Mobility Rights Freedom to Move Within Canada and to Leave Canada Equality Rights Equal Treatment and Protection Under the Law No Discrimination Based on Race, National or Ethnic Origin, Colour, Religion, Age, Sex or Disability Language Rights Federal Government Services Received in Either Official Language French or English Aboriginal Rights Existing Aboriginal Rights and Freedoms are Unaffected
Canadians also enjoy other important non- constitutional rights created and defined in specific pieces of federal and provincial legislation like: Health Care Public Education Ownership of Private Property Equal Pay for Equal Work Refuse Unsafe Work A Minimum Wage Join a Union Strike Marry Access Government Records
Do Groups in Canada Have Rights? Group rights in Canada are claimed by groups or individuals who share common features ▫Can you think of any groups that fit this description in Canada? Ethnic minorities, women, children and people with disabilities Groups may claim special rights ▫aboriginal peoples (being first settlers) Some may need more rights than average ▫ children need special protection (they are not able to protect themselves like adults)
Political Perspectives on Group Rights For Group RightsAgainst Group Rights Recognition of group rights is essential in a diverse and multicultural society Group rights are necessary to protect individuals within those groups from discrimination To deny the rights of some groups opens the door to denying those same rights to all groups Group rights lead to ‘self interest’ that divides society Group rights result in some people receiving special protection Groups such as Aboriginal peoples or the people of Quebec are not legally entitled to some of the rights they claim, such as self- determination
How do Individual Rights Relate to the Common Good? What if you had something important to say, but someone refused to let you speak? ▫If nobody came to your defence, it’s possible you would not be able to exercise your right to free speech. Your rights cannot be legally taken away, but that’s not much use unless other people recognize your rights, respect them, and defend them. Having Rights = Having Responsibilities = Protecting One Person’s Rights = Protecting Everyone’s Rights = The Common Good
What is the Common Good? Trying to create laws and policies that are beneficial to the community as a whole. ▫Ideally it benefits everyone equally Sometimes what is best for the rights of individuals may not be good for the common interest of all Canadians. The opposite is true where the government tries to act in the interest of all Canadians but interferes with the rights of some individuals and groups.
Is it for the common good if you guarantee the right of universal health care? Yes because...No because... A healthy population contributes more to the prosperity of a country and the quality of life of its citizens The costs of guaranteeing a minimum level of health care to everyone may be financially more than the country can afford.
Competing rights must be balanced According to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, all our rights are subject to some reasonable limits. Example: ▫Right: You have the right to free speech Limit: but not if you promote hatred against others ▫Right You have the right to practice your religion Limit: but not when doing so discriminate unfairly against others
Rights What rights are important in the Civic Mirror? In groups, write a set of laws that protect these rights. These laws will be presented to the class tomorrow. These laws will form your constitution Fundamental Freedoms Beliefs Opinions Press and Media Democratic Rights To Vote Elections (at Least Every Two Years) Legal Rights Life, Liberty and Security of Property Freedom from Cruel Punishment Presumed Innocent Until Proven Guilty Equality Rights Equal Treatment and Protection Under the Law No Discrimination Based on Race, National or Ethnic Origin, Colour, Religion, Age, Sex or Disability