In 1990, Supreme Court Justice Bertha Wilson proclaimed that the Canadian Charter of Rights 'is and must continue to be a vital force in molding the lives of Canadians.' In this collection of original essays commissioned by the Centre for Constitutional Studies, University of Alberta, legal and political scholars evaluate the impact of the Charter on life in Canada since 1982.
Other works have focused on the jurisprudence of the Charter - its internal coherence or its implications for the role of courts. Charting the Consequences considers 'externalities' - the effect of the Charter and its jurisprudence on non-constitutional aspects of the law and on the dynamics of legislative power, provincial politics, and social movements. Specific contexts are examined, including certain provinces, economic rights, taxation, First Nations, sexual orientation, social movements, private law, access to justice, and political science. Patterns become manifest across contexts. For one, the editors identify three strata of actors in society - ranging from the powerful to the least powerful - who are affected by the Charter in differing degrees. Secondly, they expose how the actors' influences on Charter interpretation are determined, in some measure, by the magnitude of their social and political power.
Charting the Consequences offers a fresh perspective on the Charter. It will generate new thinking and scholarship among lawyers, political scientists, and public policy makers.