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The Oxford Handbook of the Canadian Constitution edited by Oliver, Peter; Macklem, Patrick; Des Rosiers, Nathalie (19th October 2017)

Part V Rights and Freedoms, B Rights and Freedoms under the Charter, Ch.37 Section 7: The Right to Life, Liberty, and Security of the Person

Margot Young

From: The Oxford Handbook of the Canadian Constitution

Edited By: Peter Oliver, Patrick Macklem, Nathalie Des Rosiers

Section 7 jurisprudence shows strong application of the rights to life, liberty, and security of the person to a range of state action and actors. However, courts have significantly limited the progressive potential of these rights through two doctrinal concerns: the negative/positive rights distinction and causation issues. The result is a bounded jurisprudence reflecting both the strengths and weakness of liberal legalism. In particular, claims targeting the twenty-first century crises of Canadian society—social and economic inequality, as well as environmental degradation—while meaningfully apiece with the values of life, liberty, and security of the person, are unlikely to succeed under section 7 without critical and pointed judicial movement beyond liberalism’s divide between public and private action.

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