Tuesday, June 14, 2005

A question for the lawyers

In P.201-203 of their Chaoulli dissent, Binnie & Lebel rejected that Quebecers "liberty" was at risk, reasoning that economic & property rights are not ennumerated in the Charter.

Is this sound? To me, the logical extension of this reasoning is that "liberty" might as well not be referenced in the Charter at all. If it only refers to the liberty to exercise rights which are ennumerated, then it's essentially redundant, i.e. meaningless.

Or put another way, what if the (say) Alberta govt. enacted a law saying you're only allowed to sleep with someone of the opposite sex to whom you're married? Could they say that they're not violating anyone's liberty, since "sexual rights" are not included in the Charter? What the hell?

Obviously there's some other precedent or Section with which the law could be overturned, but what exactly is "liberty" worth, if it's not pretty open-ended?

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