Concept 5: Freedom of Expression

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Ricky Gale
CC: STAR Program Developer
December 22, 2008

Chamberlain v Surrey School District No. 36

I've been working on this case for quite some time now, a few months filtering through case notes and a few articles on the Internet and journals and such. So I think I've become pretty knowledgeable on the topic and I also feel I've formed some pretty strong opinions about why I feel that the case is important. I found this case especially important because it's not only an issue of freedom of expression but it's also an issue of equality and tolerance. I think that rings especially true when discussing the issues of the three books in terms of a tool for teaching different family models. Yes, I think it's important for all children to have their family model taught in classrooms. And I really believe Justice McLachlin's quote rings true: that "tolerance is always age appropriate". It's never too early to teach our children the importance of being a good citizen. That's one of the main goals of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Beverly McLachlin used the term "tolerance" and through my interpretation of reading the case notes and whatnot that she didn't solely mean "tolerance" but she also meant "acceptance". I'm sort of hesitant to use the word "tolerance" because I think it sort of connotes the idea of "putting up with" something and sort of ... almost feeling superior to that something that you're tolerating. That "oh I'm tolerating you", whereas the term "acceptance", it seems more appropriate in that there's a sense of equality and a real sense of celebrating diversity as opposed to just tolerating it.


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.