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Complexities of Liberalism in Practice

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1 Complexities of Liberalism in Practice
Chapter 11 Complexities of Liberalism in Practice

2 Difficult to maintain principles of liberal democracies and promote individual rights while pursuing the betterment of society. In other words: individual vs. collective rights Protection of Rights: In Liberal Democracies, these types of legislations are protected by law The difficult process to change these is to ensure that fundamental rights are upheld, but allows for a method of change (democracy) In Canada, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (USA: Bill of Rights) outlines and protects our fundamental rights Ultimately, no individual has the right to infringe on other’s rights Some provinces may have other legislation to accommodate other rights and freedoms that are important to that area, however, the Constitutional legislation (Charter of Rights and Freedoms) overrides any other provincial legislation that exists. Ex. Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms/Charter of French Language Problem: in Liberal democracies, some of these Charters can focus on individual rights at the expense of the collective rights (rights of community or society) Ex. Industrialization and Laissez Faire created large socio-economic gaps – individual rights (equality of opportunity) was somewhat meaningless as the rich had more power, poor couldn’t get an education etc. ii) Dictatorships Most have a Constitution and fundamental rights written down however, government alone interprets and implements these rights Individual freedoms is often subjugated to the state

3 B. Promotion of Collective Rights:
Responsibility of government in Liberal Democracies Usually achieved through the extension of individual rights USA: collective rights were ‘unwritten’ to a certain degree – not included in the Bill of Rights Affirmative Action groups 1960s – groups formed to address inequalities of minorities and women Believed that: ‘in order for all citizens to effectively enjoy equality of opportunity, members of certain groups need to be treated differently’ Ex. US government had some hiring practises changed that gave preferential treatment to minorities and women (so did Canada) to create more ‘equality’ in the workplace – Canada (Charter of Rights and Freedoms) Collective rights usually refers to official language groups and Aboriginal groups and are included within the Charter (unlike the USA) Reflect and affirm Canada’s bilingualism and pluralistic nature

4 C. Recognition of Collective Rights:
Sometimes groups have had to fight to have their rights recognized, even though there were ‘guaranteed’ by law (Charter) Canada: Ex. Francophone Schools in Alberta had to go to the Supreme Court in order to be considered part of the Public Education program (despite Charter rights for Language) Ex. Continued struggle for the Metis to have hunting and harvesting rights (as stated in Section 35 of the Charter)

5 D. Balancing Perceived Common Good with Respect for Rights:
Government must find a balance between the common good of society and the desire for individual fundamental rights and freedoms – to appease citizens Language Legislation in Canada Bill 86 (1993) public signs and advertising must be in French in Quebec. There can be other languages but the French has to be dominant Page 382 discusses the other Language Bills in Quebec and the outcomes First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Peoples (FNMI) Charter contains clauses to guarantee their Collective rights Page 386 Religion and Religious Symbols Can be seen as an individual right unless an entire group is in need of protection Ex in France Government pt in effect a law that restricted religious symbols in public – in order to protect the secular character of public institutions Other countries followed suit (Beligium) 2004: Minister of Education enforced this law in the schools Targeted Muslim women who wore hijabs (scraves), Sikh males who wore turbans, Jewish males who wore Yarmulkes (skull caps) and any people wearing large Christian Crosses Could be expelled but protesting occurred and expelled students were allowed back in but the law stayed in effect Ex. Canada: Passport Canada would not give passports to some children in a Sikh family as they stated the turban interfered with the ability to see their faces (this claim was disputed by the Sikh community)

6 Belgium’s burqa ban opens a racial pandora’s box
E. Illiberalism: Ideologies opposed to values of liberalism Can be seen as undemocratic but occurring in a democratic country Ex. No religious symbols (France) Can occur during a time of crisis (Sept. 11 – Patriot Act, Security Certificates) Belgium’s burqa ban opens a racial pandora’s box Illiberal democracy in France (and beyond) Is Canada’s multiculturalism in peril? Hungary’s ‘illiberalism’ should not go unchallenged

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