Application of Universalism and Particularism in Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Research Paper Sample)
The aim of this paper was to critically explore whether it can be claimed that constitutional law in Canada does show a tension between universalism and particularism, and if so, how this has shaped the constitutional interpretation and underlying principles.source..
Application of Universalism and Particularism in Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Universalism is a legal concept that holds that all human beings are equal before the law, therefore, everyone should enjoy universal human rights and the protection of the law without any form of discrimination. On the other hand, particularism is a constitutional ideal that maintains that all groups of people are not the same because some people and cultures are more important than others in the society. This belief gives rise to the notion that these special groups of people and cultures should be given preferential treatment when interpreting the constitution. Benjamin Beger (Professor of Law, Osgoode) has described the character of the constitutional law of Canada as a mix of ‘particularism’ and ‘universalism’, with these two logics of its character at times in tension with each other1. Therefore, this paper will critically explore whether it can be claimed that constitutional law in Canada does show a tension between universalism and particularism, and if so, how this has shaped the constitutional interpretation and underlying principles.
952534683700 In order to understand Canada’s constitutional culture, it is imperative to note that the country was not established by people who had a common vision and conviction that all human beings deserve equal treatment before the law, and that they have inalienable universal human rights. The country did not have that single moment in history whereby the whole populace agreed to establish a nation that would be governed by universality whereby everyone would be treated equally before the law. Whereas the United States and France were founded on the basis of universal truth, Canada was not founded on universal truth2. The process through which Canada was established was a slow evolution joined together by the Treaty of Paris, local treaties between indigenous peoples and colonial representatives, a Royal Proclamation, Acts of Imperial Parliament, and finally, Confederation and its first Constitution in 1867.
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