CANADA’S CONSTITUTIONALIZED BILL OF RIGHTS, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms,2 unified the country under a set of principles that were designed to encapsulate liberty and equality, and safeguard an expansive set of rights and freedoms. Entrenched in 1982, the Charter fundamentally changed the Canadian legal landscape and allowed the Supreme Court of Canada to take center stage as the “best show in town,”3 generously sketching out rights for all in a golden age of Canadian law. But, as Peter McCormick argues in his new book The End of the Charter Revolution, that golden age may be finished. The Charter revolution is over, McCormick argues, and the cases before the SCC are now “detail shufflers rather than groundbreakers.”4 The bulk of support for McCormick’s bold theory is a narrative of each Court since the Charter’s birth. Chief Justice of Canada Brian Dickson’s court framed Charter rights, Antonio Lamer’s court expanded them, Beverly McLachlin’s court contained them—these narratives all support McCormick’s one simple thesis: the “forward motion of Charter interpretation is at an end.”5 We have returned to a ‘new normal.’
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"Book Note: The End of the Charter Revolution: Looking Back from the New Normal by Peter J McCormick."
Osgoode Hall Law Journal