charter of rights and freedoms

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Many of us who live in the Free World recognize that free government, free exchange, free expression, free markets and free trade deliver better outcomes than autocracy, autarky, control, conformity and coercion. However, among those who have come of age in the decades since the end of the Cold War, there is neither an innate sense that freedom is better than the alternative nor a default belief in the power of individual liberty.

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Adoption of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982 made treaty and Aboriginal rights constitutional, though no one knew at the time what that meant. We are gradually finding out as the Supreme Court of Canada develops a new body of law.

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Back when Canada's premiers and then-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau debated what to put into what later became the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, property rights were one possibility and on the table.

Trudeau had pushed for property rights as justice minister in 1968, again as prime minister in 1969, and in 1980 during constitutional talks. But property rights never made it into the final 1982 Charter because Trudeau and Bill Bennett, then-Premier of British Columbia, were the lone advocates.