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ERIC Number: ED261365
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1985-Aug
Pages: 28
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
The Canadian Charter of Rights, American Jurisprudence, and Canadian Civil Libel Law: Will There Be an Occasion for Dancing in Canadian Streets?
Pizante, Gary
The new and immense task that awaits the judiciary of Canada is to decide what limitations, if any, ought to be imposed upon freedom of expression as protected in the new Canadian Constitution with an entrenched Charter of Rights. The area of civil libel law provides special problems related to free speech and press. One source of help for scholars, lawyers, and judges struggling with this problem is the thinking of the American philosopher, Alexander Meiklejohn. His view is that the First Amendment was meant to protect political speech. Thus, he heralded the United States Supreme Court decision in "New York Times vs. Sullivan" as "an occasion for dancing in the streets." It is questionable, however, whether the Canadian courts will accept this theory of self-government and its idea of what is reasonable. Ultimately, the decision rests on how much of a departure from the past the Charter represents. The original purpose of the Canadian system was to provide peace, order, and good government and not life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Meiklejohn's thinking is based on a respect for the sovereignty of the people and on their ability to handle democratic tasks. Parts of his theory may lie on the surface of Canadian ideas, which, as the Charter shows, have a commitment to freedom of expression. The coming court battles and judicial decisions will demonstrate just how deeply that commitment goes. (The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is appended.) (HOD)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada