Justice and Public Safety
April 11, 2017

The following statement was given today in the House of Assembly by the Honourable Andrew Parsons, Minister of Justice and Public Safety:

Government Joins the Country in Celebrating the 35th Anniversary of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Mr. Speaker, next week, Canadians will celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Constitutionally enshrined in 1982 under the government of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the Charter guarantees rights to all Canadians, such as democratic rights like the right to vote, legal rights like the right to life, liberty and security of the person, equality rights to ensure equal protection and benefit of the law without discrimination, among others.

As Minister of Justice and Public Safety, and the Attorney General, I consider myself an ambassador of the Charter. Part of my duty is to ensure that the rights of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are protected, and that the Government of this province respects the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in all that it does.

Mr. Speaker, I am committed to ensuring that the system of justice here is fair and accessible and that it respects and promotes the charter. Where would this country be on matters such as same-sex marriage, access to abortion services, or more recently, medical assistance in dying without the Charter?

In our first year of government, we have already endorsed Charter values. For example, with the passing of the Access to Abortion Services Act, we ensured individuals can attain respectful and private access to legal health services while respecting the rights of others to protest or express dissent.

The Charter continues to actively shape the design and interpretation of our laws and policies and it protects our fundamental freedoms. In this 35th anniversary year, I believe it is especially important to engage people in this province on the role the Charter plays in their lives. To that end, we’ll be engaging with people across the province, on social media to start a dialogue about the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We encourage you to participate.

Thank you.

2017 04 11                              1:55 p.m.