Canada's NDP

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April 17th, 2012

Statement by NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair on the 30th Anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

It has been three decades since Canada chose to codify and protect our fundamental rights as citizens in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Today the Charter stands as an example the world over. It reminds us that respect for basic human rights is a vital part of every modern society, and that any threat to these rights constitutes a threat to society as a whole.

New Democrats are proud of the role we played in shaping the Charter of Rights and Freedoms—including Tommy Douglas' passage of Canada's first Bill of Rights in Saskatchewan and the role Ed Broadbent played in ensuring that women’s rights were enshrined in the Charter itself.

At the same time, the anniversary of the Charter also serves to remind us that, 30 years after the repatriation of the Constitution, Quebec is still not a signatory to the most fundamental compact of our democracy.

As such, New Democrats will continue on the path laid out by Jack Layton, working to create the conditions that will one day allow Quebec to embrace the Canadian constitutional framework. We will work tirelessly to give real meaning to the unanimous recognition that the Québécois form a nation within Canada.

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a document that reflects our most fundamental common values. New Democrats will continue to work to ensure that one day it becomes part of a Constitution that includes us all.