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Alberta's Francophone Heritage
Background, People, Culture, Heritage Community Foundation, Albertasource and Alberta Lottery Fund


Francophone Edukit

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Trudeau and the Canadian Charter


Royal Commission
on Bilingualism and Biculturalism (RCBB)

Languages Act

Trudeau and the Canadian Charter

Franco-Albertan Politicians

Influential Figures


The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was incorporated into the constitution in 1982. Certain provinces opposed the Charter on the grounds that they already had laws which guaranteed the rights and freedoms of their citizens. However, Prime Minister Trudeau insisted that the Charter be accepted so as to prevent governments from ever mistreating their citizens. A compromise was adopted between the provinces and the federal government, allowing the provinces to create law contrary to the Charter, in spite of it; this became know as the "notwithstanding clause." It is the most controversial element of the Charter. Some Canadians believe the clause renders the Charter null and void, while others take the view that the Charter would never have been ratified without it.

The Charter gives Canadians fundamental rights, the freedom of expression and of religion. It guarantees democratic rights, such as the right to vote and to hold regular elections. Citizens are guaranteed the right to move and work anywhere in the country. They have a right to a fair trial and may not be arrested or punished without legal proof. There is freedom from discrimination, be it of the sexes or on the basis of race; both official languages are protected and individuals are allowed to use their language of choice under certain circumstances. Canadaís multicultural rights are also protected as are the rights of women and Aboriginal peoples.


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