Presentation on theme: "Lesson 2: Rights and Responsibilities in a Democracy."— Presentation transcript:
Lesson 2: Rights and Responsibilities in a Democracy
Canada’s Democracy Since it is not practical for all Canadians to have a say on every matter, we vote for representatives to make decisions and pass laws on our behalf. This is called a representative democracy. Elections are the process by which our elected representatives are chosen. In Canada, all citizens have guaranteed rights and freedoms.
What is a ‘right’? A right is a freedom or an abstract idea of something that is due to a person or governmental body by law or tradition or nature. Rights are not as much granted or endowed as they are fought for and claimed. Examples: freedom of expression, freedom of religion.
Rights and Freedoms in Canada The Canadian Bill of Rights was the first expression of human rights in Canada and was enacted on August 10, 1960. Today, citizens’ rights and freedoms are protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Charter is a part of the Constitution Act, 1982 that was signed by Queen Elizabeth II.
Seven Sections of the Charter The Canadian Charter contains seven sections that define our rights as Canadians: Fundamental freedoms Democratic rights Mobility rights Legal rights Equality rights Official languages of Canada Minority language education rights
Fundamental Freedoms freedom of religion freedom of thought freedom of expression freedom of the press freedom of peaceful assembly freedom of association
Democratic Rights Democratic rights include the right for every Canadian citizen, 18 years and older, to vote in an election and to be a candidate in an election. It also includes the requirement that governments hold elections at least every five years.
Universal Suffrage The right to vote has not always been universal. It has been fought for by various groups throughout our history. Initially, only men who owned property could vote. Women and various religious and ethnic groups were not allowed to participate in elections. After much campaigning and debate, women received the right to vote provincially in 1917 and federally in 1918. The last of the restrictions for various ethnic groups were finally lifted in 1960.
What is a ‘responsibility’? A responsibility is a duty or obligation. It is the social force that binds you to your obligations and courses of action demanded by that force. Example: your right to an education comes with the responsibility to show up to school on time and be prepared.
Responsibilities in a Democracy It is the responsibility of all Canadians to respect and abide by the rules set out by the Constitution in order to reap the benefit of their protected rights. The right to vote comes with the responsibility to vote and to make an informed decision.
Final Thoughts Electoral participation in Canada has been declining at all levels of government (federal, provincial and municipal). Voter turnout in the last Ontario provincial election was 48.2 per cent. Is the decline in voting disrespectful to those that had to fight for their right to vote? Is democracy working if the majority of citizens do not vote?