Minority Language Educational Rights

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Justin Trudeau
Member of Parliament
September 15, 2009

How does the Charter protect minority rights?

Well I think the Charter is one of those documents that will age extraordinarily well. The principles that it sets out which, which are not by any means new to Canada, can be traced back as far as the French Revolution and beyond. The idea that these are the foundation blocks upon which you build a just society for me is extraordinarily important. The word "democracy" is bandied about an awful lot these days where we say, "oh no it's democratic will of this or democratic will of that." For me one of the conversations I have with a lot of people who are all, all you know hyped up about how wonderful democracy is, is yes it's wonderful as long as you avoid situations of the tyranny of the majority. The example I often give is: suppose right-handed people were to suddenly, if there was a bill put forward, that said that people who are left handed because of the dangers or accidents or extra left handed scissors are a cost to society, left handed people need to pay 20% more taxes and right handed people can pay 20% less taxes. Obviously it's a patently unjust principle or law but because the vast majority of people are right-handed in this country or around the world, it's a law that the majority could pass. So you could have a majority of people agree to something that wouldn't be fair and just at all, and that's where the Charter becomes extraordinarily important because there are you know ground rules that no matter what kind of majority you bring forward, you can't go against without contradicting the very essence of this tremendous project that is Canada.


Disclaimer - The resources presented in this learning tool, the Charter in the Classroom: Students, Teachers and Rights (CC: STAR) are included only to assist in the study of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They do not necessarily represent an endorsement of a position or issue, opinion or view of its contributors, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Inukshuk Wireless, the Ontario Justice Education Network, the Canadian Civil Liberties Education Trust or any of the people, organizations, or institutions affiliated with it.