Ms. Rebick discusses the history of section 15 and argues that it is important to note that it was the women’s movement and the burgeoning disability rights movement that fought to strengthen the language of section 15 against some considerable resistance on the part of the Liberal government of the day. The strong equality rights language of section 15 is due to the creativity, mobilization, and persistence of the women’s movement. Whatever the legal impact of the Charter the political impact has been overwhelmingly positive. Whether or not women have actually won rights under section 15, women believe that they have the right to equality and that is incredibly important. In fact, Canadians believe deeply in the equality rights of the Charter and this belief has helped to fuel equality rights movements in Canada that have been mobilizing over the last decades up to and including the most recent example of gays and lesbians in the same-sex marriage struggle. Ms. Rebick notes that the women’s movement considered the inclusion of section 28 a major victory for equality rights in Canada, our Equal Rights Amendment. Yet in the history of Charter litigation and despite the dismal record of litigation on gender equality for women, section 28 has rarely been used. Lawyers see section 28 as a back up to section 15 rather than as a counter to section 1 and perhaps some discussion on section 28 would be a useful way to improve the court record on women’s equality.
"The Political Impact of the Charter."
The Supreme Court Law Review: Osgoode’s Annual Constitutional Cases Conference
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