This Week in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms 2018-06-10

by | June 10, 2018

By Scott Douglas Jacobsen

The Mohawk Council of Kahnawake (MCK) has announced it will not appeal a recent court decision striking down a controversial section of its membership law that barred residents who married non-Indigenous partners from living with them in the community on Montreal’s South Shore.

Quebec Superior Court Justice Thomas Davis ruled the law, dubbed “marry out, get out” by many Kahnawake Mohawks, violates Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“It is clearly in our interest to move forward as a community and to put this unpleasant episode behind us as a community,” said Grand Chief Joe Norton in a statement released Wednesday.

“It was unanimously agreed [by the Kahnawake Mohawk Council] that going to another court would not serve our purpose,” Norton said.

Council also agreed to pay $35,000 to seven of the 16 plaintiffs, as Davis ordered.


Bedell, 18, is a former member of the Mayor’s Youth Council and has been active in student politics since he was in middle school.

He said he was interested in participating in the project because issues that young people face need to be addressed.

“Though we do have a Charter of Rights and Freedoms, oftentimes in our political discourse, we tend to only focus on issues that adults face,” said Bedell. “We brush under the rug how those issues affect children.”

Developing the children’s charter began in 2017 when Children First Canada, a national non-profit organization, hosted online forums and focus groups to see what issues concerned Canada’s youth.”


“The Supreme Court of Canada didn’t find this to be a laughing matter, and has reinforced on several occasions, the fact all provincial legislation must conform to the Constitution, which has provisions for regional and voter thresholds in deciding electoral reform.

There was a foundational case heard before the B.C. Court of Appeal back in 1989 (Dixon v. Attorney General of B.C.) that has been referenced numerous times since by the Supreme Court of Canada, that determined “the right to a high degree of equality of voting power is one of great importance; it is one of the most fundamental freedoms granted by the Charter.” This resulted in B.C. introducing the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act that included the following principles as instructed by the Court: “that the principle of representation by population be achieved, recognizing the imperatives imposed by geographical and demographic realities, the legacy of our history and the need to balance the community interests of the people of British Columbia.”

The legislation also followed the direction of the court in allowing a population deviation of plus or minus 25 per cent. When electoral boundary commissions are struck, they go to great lengths to comply with the Constitution to ensure equality of voting power is maintained.”


“Gerald Comeau, a volunteer with the Bangor Sawmill Museum in Meteghan River, N.S., said the museum does not have a mandate to take an ideological position on abortion, and should not be compelled to do so in order to be eligible for funding.

“We’re a museum. We’re not involved in the business of ideological questions of abortion and so on,” said Comeau in a phone interview Thursday. “So we came to the decision that we could not support that clause.”

Comeau, a former longtime Tory politician and senator, said he wrote a letter to accompany the application that affirmed the organization’s respect for human rights and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but the application was nevertheless denied.

He said without government funding, the museum — home to one of Canada’s last water-powered mills — does not have enough money to hire a student museum guide, and so will not open this summer as scheduled. The funding required to hire the student amounts to about $3,000.”


“A landmark Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario ruling, which recently determined that cutting or reducing benefits for workers over the age of 65 amounts to discrimination, is expected to have significant implications for older workers from coast to coast.

After more than a year and a half of deliberation, the tribunal decided in favour of Brantford teacher Steve Talos, who was taken off the Grand Erie District School Board’s benefits plan upon reaching the age of 65. On May 18 the tribunal determined that doing so violates Section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees Canadians protection from discrimination on the basis of age.

“The tribunal found, five years ago, that the legislation allows the Grand Erie District School Board to do what it did, and the only way this could possibly move forward and be successful was if we challenged the legislation itself,” said Jamie Melnick, who represented Mr. Talos in the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal case. “This decision I believe is the first decision in Canadian history that has found in favour of the applicant on the basis of age discrimination under the Constitution.””


Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He authored/co-authored some e-books, free or low-cost. If you want to contact Scott:

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