Mar. 25, 2012 - A Principle of Law

A Principle of Law

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as a part of the Consitution Act, is statutory law.

As stated in section 32 of the Charter, this Act of Legislature:

32. (1) This Charter applies
   (a) to the Parliament and government of Canada in respect of all matters within the authority of Parliament including all matters relating to the Yukon Territory and Northwest Territories; and
   (b) to the legislature and government of each province in respect of all matters within the authority of the legislature of each province.

In other words, unless you are a part of a government, you are not obligated to do, for others, those things detailed in that Legislative Act.

In the case of R. v. Dell, 2005 ABCA 246, a bouncer was charged by Dell with violated his charter rights when the bouncer detained him at a night club. The court ruled that, since he was not acting as an agent of the government nor was he performing a function of government at the time he detained Dell, the bouncer could not be charged with violate Dell's Charter rights. The bouncer, acting in his private capacity is not obligated to obey that Legislative Act.

The interesting corollary of this is that the bouncer would be obligated to obey that Legislative Act if or when he is acting as an agent for, or perfoming a function of, the federal or a provincial government.

So, when a policy enforcer (a police officer) asks to see your driver's licence, a document bearing not only your name but also the name of a province, are you not giving the officer evidence that suggests you are acting as a agent for, or performing a function of, that province?

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