In the present day Canadians are better able to enjoy and profit from the practice of democracy, than they did in the past. With the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms encouraging equality and freedom of speech; giving woman, men and people of all racial and sexual diversities the ability to partake in the politics of our country.
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (CCRF) was established in 1982, and is a part of our constitution. Due to the CCRF many Canadians now have equal rights and representation. Before the CCRF was enacted, the Bill of Rights was used to determine the rules and regulations that society and individuals would have to obey. The Bill of Rights did not have a certain guideline set on how to treat minorities, or rights that need to be put into play to protect specific groups of individuals. This was because of the time in which it was created, several groups were not considered as a part of our country because of race, sex, religion, etc.; however, as society progressed so did the charter. The CCRF helped Canadians enjoy our democracy, for without it we would still be stuck in a conservative mindset in which women are not considered human and people are still discriminated against based on sexual orientation, race, and age. The CCRF has brought forth a lot of change in Canada, from situations like the Oakes case to giving the LGBTQ2+ community basic rights. David Oakes was caught with hash oil, and after a series of court visits, it was ruled that his rights had been violated. This case plays a significant part in the shaping of the charter as without it the there would not be a balance between the government and the requirements of a democratic society. Another way the CCRF has shaped up democracy for women is by granting them reproductive rights. Henry Morgentaler was a doctor who would give women illegal abortions as they were not legally allowed. In order to get an abortion women would have to go in front of a jury and have them approve it. The only exception to this was if the child or mother is in danger. However after being arrested multiple times, and fighting for what he believed in the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favour of Morgentaler, and granted it unconstitutional. Women being granted reproductive rights was a step towards equality, and is still an unforgettable moment in history. There are various indigenous groups that are spread out all throughout Canada, and make up 4% of the population. Canadians and Indigenous individuals have a long history of betrayal. Despite the past, things have taken a turn for the better when the government allowed them to have a say in matters that involve them and the members of their community. Although it does not fix the injustices that were caused, it gives them a voice in which they are heard. The LGBTQ2+ community has been discriminated for a long period of time, and sometimes still are. Even though there are instances where this happens, the government has put forth rules which prevent the discrimination of individuals based off their gender identity and expression. Without these amendments to the CCRF Canada would not have progressed in the magnitude that it did. Individuals would still be stuck in an old mindset, and no one would benefit as a society.
Freedom of speech is another reason democracy is highly valued in Canada. John Stuart Mills argues that people should be allowed to say what they want, but they should be aware that their actions will have a consequence. This ideology is similarly shown in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom; it states that everyone has the right to freedom of speech, religion, etc but that also means it comes with certain limitations, such as finding the fine line between free speech and hate speech. Mills justified free speech up until the point that it inflames violence. The deliberation that the actions of individuals shouldn’t be interfered with by society up until the point of causing damage. Similarly, in the TVO series Marvin Kurz expressed how broad the constitution is, and if it had been drafted better there would be a more clear idea in regards to freedom of speech. That being said, Canadians value the importance of free speech and place it highly since not just men have the right to express how they feel.
The political field has always been a very male dominated environment. There has been a very obvious lack of representation which has caused a glass ceiling to form. Before women were welcomed in the political world, there were a set of requirements that had to be upheld. Members had to have a certain amount of money, own a piece of land, complete higher education, and basically be a white male. During this time women were not allowed to vote, or even own property. During this era it was assumed that men and women are not of equal status. Men were seen as the breadwinners of the family, whereas women were expected to stay at home and cater their needs. Once the late 19-20th century begin, so did change. Women argued for having the same rights as men in the political and public sphere. The main concerns were the removal of marriage laws which showed women as property, and income gap reduction. Fast forward to 2018 where women are breaking the glass ceiling and making their mark in politics and various other jobs. Justin Trudeau’s cabinet has 88 seats for women which is 26%. Women being a part of politics means there will be an increase in more female judges, lawyers, and service workers. It also means there is an increase in awareness of the exploitation of women in the workfield, focus on domestic abuse and child support. This step up means the idea of politics being a ‘man’s job’ diminishes; Individuals move away from the thinking of a capitalist society.
I agree that Canadians do enjoy more liberty from the practice of democracy in the present day than they did in the past as it gives everyone an equal opportunity. Being a bi-sexual Muslim who comes from a country in which democracy is next to non existent, it is refreshing to see everyone’s voices being heard. Growing up and seeing the individuals in politics, I never felt represented; I never felt as if someone understood the struggles and problems I have had to endure, until now. Democracy is enjoyed more now than it was in the past because there are not groups of cisgender white males making all the political decisions for diverse groups of individuals. Women, Aboriginals, LGBTQ2+, and individuals with disabilities are all shown in the government and are all represented without any discrimination. Back then democracy was not highly placed back then because there was a constant fight to have everyone recognized equally. However it’s 2018, and representation is the reason there are so many minorities in politics and other fields that were predominantly ruled by straight white males.
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