The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

LETTER: Charter rights are not absolute

‘Ignoring the rights of others is a distortion of the language and purpose of the Charter

As I read the article “Diner owner in B.C. Supreme Court facing injunction,” published on Oct. 22, I was somewhat shocked (though not at all surprised) by the comments raised by the owner of Rolly’s in Hope and the staff member that the closing of the business is “legally against the Charter” and “against the Constitution.”

READ MORE: Hope restaurant closed on morning of injunction hearing

READ MORE: Injunction order for Hope restaurant sends message to others: Farnworth

I encourage all members of our community to actually read the charter, and in particular, the language of section one, which states that the charter “guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.” Charter rights are not absolute. The application of the Charter requires a delicate balancing of our individual rights as well as our collective rights and obligations in a democratic society.

One’s individual rights are subject to reasonable limits.

People can argue until the cows come home about whether limits placed by our elected governments are reasonable or not, but let’s at least debate the correct question rather than simply regurgitating what we read on social media or hear from other sources about ‘my rights.’

With those rights come obligations. Other members of our society have rights too, and the Charter protects their rights as well.

To focus entirely upon one’s rights while ignoring the rights of others is a distortion of the language and purpose of the Charter.

Ed Kaye

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