The Charter at 25 – February 16 (Part 10 of 10)

Public Record

The Charter at 25 – February 16 (Part 10 of 10)

The McGill Institute for the Study of Canada hosts a conference on the history and impact of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, McGill University, Montreal, Que., February 14–16, 2007. The event marks the Charter’s 25th anniversary.

In this February 16th session, a panel of speakers discuss the role of judges within a constitutional democracy. Ian Binnie (Supreme Court of Canada judge) explores the use of a “frozen rights” approach when interpreting the Canadian Constitution. This approach binds judiciaries to the original meaning of the Constitution rather than allowing for subjective interpretation. Antonin Scalia (Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court) questions who should have the power to determine a government’s stance on legal and illegal activities in a democratic society. Mr. Scalia examines the 20th-century phenomenon of what he terms “abstract moralizing.”

After presenting their speeches, the panellists comment on each other’s arguments. Bob Rae (former premier of Ontario) makes opening remarks and moderates.