Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

Why Property Rights Were Excluded from the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms*

  • Alexander Alvaro

Abstract

The Constitution Act, 1867, contained what were intended to be strong protections of property ownership. These protections gradually eroded, as property was subordinated to democratic will and legislation. The “property rights” debate took place in this context. Those provinces which opposed the property rights clause wanted to safeguard the supremacy of democratic institutions from the potential ramifications posed by such a clause. The federal government, the proponent of the clause, did not intend that such supremacy be usurped. However, the clause was never crucial to the Charter and the federal government abandoned the clause in order to achieve provincial agreement on patriation of the constitution.

La Loi constitutionnelle de 1867 avait un contenu visant à protéger les droits de propriété. Ces mesures de protection se sont graduellement estompées pendant que la propriété a été soumise à la volonté démocratique et à la législation. Le débat sur les « droits de propriété » s'est tenu dans ce contexte. Les provinces qui se sont opposées à la clause des droits de propriété ont toujours craint la perte de la suprématie des institutions démocratiques à cause des implications possibles d'une telle clause. Le gouvernement fédéral, partisan de la clause en question, n'avait aucunement l'intention de faire en sorte que cette suprématie soit usurpée. Mais la clause n'a jamais eu un caractère décisif pour la charte et le gouvernement fédéral a laissé tomber ladite clause en vue de conclure une entente avec les provinces au niveau du rapatriement constitutionnel.

Copyright

References

Hide All

1 Canada, House of Commons Debates, May 2, 1988, 15044.

2 The Constitution Act, 1982, s. 38(1).

3 Monahan, Patrick, Politics and the Constitution (Toronto: Carswell/Methuen, 1987), 103106.

4 George, M. Dorothy, England in Transition (London, 1931), 218, cited in Will and Durant, Ariel, Rousseau and Revolution (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1967), 684.

6 Ibid., 685.

7 Ibid., 684–85.

8 Britain, Great, Parliamentary Debates, March 8, 1763. Hansard's Parliamentary History of England, Vol. 15: 1753–1765 (London: TC Hansard, 1813), 1307.

9 (1765) 19 State Trials 1029.

10 Ibid., 1066.

11 Polanyi, Karl, The Great Transformation (Boston: Beacon Press, 1957), 101.

12 Smiley, D. V., The Federal Condition in Canada (Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1987), 39.

13 Parliamentary Debates on the Subject of Confederation of the British North American Provinces, 3rd Session, 8th Provincial Parliament of Canada (Ottawa: 1865, reprinted 1951), 39. (Hereafter cited as Confederation Debates.)

14 Ibid., 36.

15 British North America Act, 1867, s. 23(4). Now Constitution Act, 1867.

16 Confederation Debates, 33.

17 Specifically, ss. 91(2), (15), (16), (18), (19), (21), (22), (23) and (28) of the BNA Act. Hogg, Peter W., Constitutional Law of Canada (2nd ed.; Toronto: Carswell, 1985), 454455.

18 Ibid., 455.

19 Confederation Debates, 29.

21 Report of the Special Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Commons on Senate Reform (Ottawa, 1984), 8.

22 Scott, Frank R., “Section 94 of the British North America Act,” in Essays on the Constitution (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1977), 116.

23 Canada, House of Commons Debates, March 12, 1902, 1093.

24 Murray, W. Gladstone, Private Property a Guarantee of Freedom: Text of Address to the Ontario Property Owners' Association (Toronto: Bryant Press, November 14, 1944), 5.

25 Ibid., 2.

26 Trudeau, Pierre Elliott, A Canadian Charter of Human Rights (Ottawa: Queen's Printer, 1968), 17.

27 Ibid., 18.

28 Hogg, Constitutional Law of Canada, 747.

29 Shapiro, Martin and Tressolini, Rocco J., American Constitutional Law (New York: Macmillan, 1983), 296.

30 Ibid., 299.

31 Lochner v. New York, 198 U.S. 45; 25 Sup. Ct. 539; 49 L.Ed. 937 (1905) in Shapiro and Tressolini, American Constitutional Law, 299, 314.

32 Tarnopolsky, Walter, “A Bill ofRights and Future Constitutional Change,” Canadian Bar Review 57 (1979), 632.

33 Ibid., 633.

34 Extract from Joint Communique of Ministers, Proposals on the Canadian Constitution, 1971–78: Collation (Ottawa: CICS, December 1978), 73.

36 Roblin, Senator Duff, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence of the Special Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Commons on the Constitution of Canada, Issue 46 (Ottawa: January 27, 1981), 46:21.

37 The Globe and Mail, January 26, 1981, Al.

38 Murphy, Rod, in Canada, House of Commons Debates, April 29, 1983, 25008.

39 Horsman, James D., Notes for an Address by The Hon. James D. Horsman, Q.C. Minister of Federal and Intergovernmental Affairs, Government of Alberta, Canada, to Alberta Real Estate Association (Jasper, May 13, 1985), 56.

40 Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence of the Special Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Commons on the Constitution of Canada, Issue 41(Ottawa,January 20, 1981), 41A:1, and Issue 43 (Ottawa, January 22, 1981), 43:58, 43:59.

41 The Globe and Mail, January 26, 1981, A1.

42 Trudeau, A Canadian Charter of Human Rights, 19.

43 Trudeau, Pierre E., The Constitution and the People of Canada (Ottawa, 1969), 50.

44 Ibid., 52.

45 Government of Canada, The Constitutional Amendment Bill: Text and Explanatory Notes (Bill C-60) (Ottawa, July 1978), 36.

46 MacGuigan, Mark, in Canada, House of Commons Debates, April 29, 1983, 25004.

47 Trudeau, Pierre E., in Canada, House of Commons Debates, January 27, 1981, 6595.

48 Russell, Peter H., “The Political Purposes of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” Canadian Bar Review 30 (1983), 3054.

49 Knopff, Rainer and Morton, F. L., “Nation-Building and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” in Cairns, Alan and Williams, Cynthia, eds., Constitutionalism, Citizenship and Society in Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press for Supply and Services Canada, 1985), 133182.

50 Russell, “The Political Purposes of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” 31, and Knopff and Morton, “Nation-Building and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” 136–37.

51 Ibid., 139.

52 Russell, “The Political Purposes of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” 40–43, and Knopff and Morton, “Nation-Building and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” 144–50.

53 Ibid., 54.

54 Ibid., 148.

55 Ibid., 147.

56 Ibid., 147–48

57 Ibid., 148.

58 Monahan, Politics and the Constitution, 104.

59 Russell, “The Political Purposes of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” 30.

60 Trudeau, A Canadian Charter of Human Rights, 19.

61 Ibid., 20.

62 Trudeau, The Constitution and the People of Canada, 52.

64 Government of Canada, The Constitutional Amendment Bill: Text and Explanatory Notes, 36.

65 Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence of the Special Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Commons on the Constitution of Canada, Report to Parliament, Issue 20(Hull,October 10, 1978), 20:11.

66 MacGuigan, Mark, in Canada, House of Commons Debates, April 29, 1983, 25004.

67 Hunter v. Southam, [1984] 2 S.C.R. 145, at 156.

68 2 S.C.R. 145, at 158, where Justice Dickson states: “There is … nothing in the language of [section 8] to restrict it to the protection of property or to associate it with the law of trespass. It guarantees a broad and general right to be secure from unreasonable search and seizure.”

69 Reference Re British Columbia Motor Vehicle Act, [1985] 2 S.C.R. 486.

70 Ibid., 499.

71 McBean, Jean, “The Implications of Entrenching Property Rights in Section 7 of the Charter of Rights,” Alberta Law Review 26 (1988), 548.

72 The Queen (N.B.) v. Fisherman's Wharf, (1982) 135 D.L.R. (3d) 307.

73 Hogg, Constitutional Law of Canada, 745, n. 17.

74 Whyte, John, “Fundamental Justice: The Scope and Application of Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” in The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: Initial Experience, Emerging Issues, Future Challenges (Cowansville: Canadian Institute for Administration of Justice, 1984), 39. This volume is a compilation of papers delivered at the Institute's conference, October 12–15, 1983.

75 Brandt, G. J., “Right to Property as an Extension of Personal Security—Status of Undeclared Rights,” Canadian Bar Review 61 (1983), 398.

76 New Brunswick v. Eastabrooks Pontiac Buick Ltd.; New Brunswick v. Fisherman's Wharfs Ltd., (1982) 144 D.L.R. (3d) 21, at 31. Referred to by Garant, Patrice, “Fundamental Rights and Fundamental Justice (Section 7),” in Beaudoin, Gérald-A. and Ratushny, Ed, eds., The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (2nd ed.; Toronto: Carswell, 1989), 347.

77 Regal Petroleum Ltd. v. Ministry of Energy Mines and Resources, (1985), 63 N.R. 135, at 136. Referred to in Ibid.

* The author gratefully acknowledges the helpful comments of Professor Peter H. Russell on earlier drafts of this article, as well as the advice of the anonymous referees for this Journal.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue canadienne de science politique
  • ISSN: 0008-4239
  • EISSN: 1744-9324
  • URL: /core/journals/canadian-journal-of-political-science-revue-canadienne-de-science-politique
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed