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Chapter 6: Rights and Freedoms

CBC Archives

Canada and International Human Rights Law
Canada is respected the world over for its commitment to enshrining rights for all in its Constitution.Yet a little known contribution to the development of an international human rights regime was made by a Canadian law professor named John Peters Humphrey, as we learn in the report prepared for CBC Radio's This Morning.

Diefenbaker's Bill of Rights 1960
Long before the 1982 Constitution enshrined a Charter of Rights and Freedoms, an earlier government had taken a significant step. On August 10, 1960, Canada's Bill of Rights became law. Six weeks after that, the CBC program Outlook examined that earlier bill's significance.

Morgentaler and Women's Rights
Few rights of Canadian women have been as controversial as access to abortion. For more than two decades Dr. Henry Morgentaler advocated for the right of Canadian women to have abortions on demand. Here Morgentaler speaks after a presentation before a 1967 government committee considering changes to the abortion law.

The Notwithstanding Clause and Rights and Freedoms
A distinctive characteristic of Canada's 1982 Constitution is the so-called notwithstanding clause which permits the federal or provincial governments to temporarily defy a Supreme Court ruling. The day after Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa invoked the clause to ignore one such Supreme Court ruling, four of his ministers resign, including one who makes an emotional speech in the Quebec National Assembly.

Alberta Teacher's Right to Express Views on the Holocaust
Alberta school teacher Jim Keegstra provoked controversy for teaching students that the Holocaust is a myth perpetuated by evil Jews.Three of the students, who subsequently got a lesson on the Holocaust, tell CBC Television how seeing a graphic documentary about death camps and hearing speeches by survivors affected their views.

TVO's The Agenda

What Is Hate Speech?
The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 2011 that Bill Whatcott violated the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code by distributing flyers denouncing homosexuals. Does this ruling better define the distinction between free speech and hate speech? (Scroll to the end of the article to watch the video.)