Constitution as a Bill of Rights and a Bill of Rights as a Constitution: Popular Sovereignty and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms




Goley, Audree

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While the Canadian and American governments have many similarities in their origins and development, the government systems that resulted differ significantly in nature and practice. An interesting development in Canada is the remarkably activist judiciary that has become a major player in constitutional politics and development of a “Court Party” in the past forty years since the adoption of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982. This politicization of the court system in Canada is recognized by many, but the question as to why it arose seems to vary greatly. This thesis introduces and explains the phenomenon of the “Charter Revolution” as being caused by the Charter itself in establishing a bill of rights as its constitution instead of creating a structure and declared powers for government institutions. By providing an understanding of the origins of government and analyzing foundational documents of both the United States and Canada, I will explain how the text of the Charter, while seemingly representative of the people, has provided positive empowerment for political activity by the judiciary and in doing so, has allowed for the rejection of popular sovereignty.



Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms., Bills of Rights., Charter Revolution.