The Canadian Bill of Rights

Our Bill of Rights

Prime Minister Diefenbaker’s promised Canadian “bill of rights” will at any rate produce an extremely interesting debate. It will also bring forth an important judicial opinion; for the Supreme Court is to be asked, in advance, to pass upon the government’s proposals.

Canada, says the British North American Act, has a constitution similar in principle to that of the United Kingdom. This has long been taken to mean, by both the public and the courts, that Canadians enjoy the same ancient rights and liberties as do U.K. citizens.

These include freedom of speech, religion and assembly, the right to trial by jury, the right not to be held in custody without a charge (habeas corpus), the right not to be tried twice for the same offence, and so on.

Some of these rights are guaranteed by statutes. Others are embodied in common law and ancient documents like Magna Carta and Britain’s “bill of rights,” passed in 1689 and so ante-dating by a century the American charter of the same name.

If these rights already belong to Canadians, what is the need for a new enactment? This is perhaps one of the questions the Supreme Court will be asked to consider; but answers are readily supplied by enthusiasts.

They argue that in fact, if not in law, certain freedoms are not adequately protected in Canada. Some would perhaps wish to add new and controversial “rights” to the list, like the right to work or the right not to be discriminated against, in getting employment or receiving services, on grounds of race.

Only a constitutional amendment could establish Canadian civil rights, old or new, more firmly than they are established now; and it seems unlikely that this change could have the unanimous provincial support it would surely require. But the public will await Mr. Diefenbaker’s proposals with keen curiosity.

Handwritten note: “FINANCIAL POST – Editorial”


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Copy of the Canadian Bill of Rights
Canadian Bill of Rights
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Canadian Bill of Rights
Creator: Government of Canada

Subject: Canada – Canadian Bill of Rights | Canada – Parliamentary Statutes

Description: Copy of the Canadian Bill of Rights

Date Created: 1960

Identifier: Canadian Bill of Rights

John Diefenbaker in Cornwall, Ontario
Creator: Unknown

Subject: Canada – Head of Government | Canada – Personalities

Description: : John Diefenbaker in Cornwall, Ontario, surrounded by children in Eastern European costumes

Date Created: [1958?]

Identifier: MG01/XVII/JGD2899

John and Olive Diefenbaker with a group of Polish children
Creator: Unknown

Subject: Canada – Head of Government | Canada – Personalities | Traditional Costume

Description: John and Olive Diefenbaker with a group of Polish children in costume in Sarnia, Ontario

Date Created: 18 August 1959

Identifier: MG01/XVII/JGD6926

John Diefenbaker at a Chinese Youth Services banquet
Creator: Unknown

Subject: Canada – Head of Government | Canada – Personalities

Description: View of large banquet table at Chinese Youth Services banquet. Large group of unidentified individuals present including John Diefenbaker. Diefenbaker is being instructed on the use of chopsticks.

Date Created: [1958?]

Identifier: MG01/XVII/JGD2928

John Diefenbaker in House of Commons office
Creator: Unknown

Subject: Canada – Head of Government | Canadian Bill of Rights

Description: John Diefenbaker working at desk in House of Commons office. Behind him is a plaque of the Canadian Bill of Rights.

Date Created: [1975]

Identifier: MG01/XVII/JGD3141

John Diefenbaker and a delegate to the Progressive Conservative General Meeting – 16
Creator: Ted Grant – Photo Features

Subject: Canada – Head of Government | Canada – Personalities

Description: John Diefenbaker and delegate at the Progressive Conservative annual general meeting, holding copy #10 of the Bill of Rights, Ottawa

Date Created: 18 March 1961

Identifier: MG01/XVII/JGD3299


Audio

Speech by John Diefenbaker at the Young Progressive Conservative Convention, Ottawa

Creator:Progressive Conservative Party of Canada

Subject:Canada – Head of Government | Canada – Human Rights | Canada Bill of Rights

Description:John Diefenbaker affirms his lifelong championing of human rights and calls upon the youth of the party to take on responsibility for leading Canada into the future

Date Created:30November1959

Identifier:MG01/XVIII/T163-PAC23

Speech by John Diefenbaker to the Progressive Conservative Women’s Association, Ottawa

Creator:Progressive Conservative Party of Canada

Subject:Canada – Head of Government | Canada – Human Rights | Canada – Bill of Rights

Description:John Diefenbaker declares his desire to have a Bill of Rights voted on by Parliament in the coming session

Date Created:30November1959

Identifier:MG01/XVIII/T187-PAC39

Speech by John Diefenbaker to a Progressive Conservative banquet, Ottawa

Creator:Progressive Conservative Party of Canada

Subject:Canada – Head of Government | Canada – Human Rights | Canada – Census

Description:John Diefenbaker advocates for a Canadianism which will find expression in the coming census when citizens will, for the first time, be asked whether they are a Canadian

Date Created:17March1961

Identifier:MG01/XVIII/T203-PAC50


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