The Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms is an important part of Quebec society. Thanks to it, all citizens are protected, even against any government that might want to limit these rights. The Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms guarantees democracy in Quebec and Canada. Most democratic countries have a charter of human rights and freedoms, but these can take many forms.

The Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms

In 1975, the Quebec government adopted the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. This charter is a fundamental law, that is to say that no other legislation passed in Quebec can contradict the charter. The charter affirms the equality of all individuals in the eyes of the law and prohibits discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, sexual orientation, language or age. It therefore guarantees the rights of all Quebeckers.

The Canadian Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms

In 1982, the Canadian government also adopted a Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. This charter guarantees the same rights as the Quebec Charter, but applies to all Canadian provinces. As in Quebec, this charter is a fundamental law and no other law may contradict it. If it happens that a law is not in accordance with the charter or a citizen claims that his or her rights are not sufficiently protected by law in particular, is the job of the Supreme Court of Canada to interpret the charter and make a judgment.

Note: The following is an excerpt from the leaders’ debate during the federal election of June 1968. The four major party leaders were present: Réal Caouette for the Social Credit Party, Pierre Elliot Trudeau for the Liberal Party, Robert Stanfield for the Conservative Party and Tommy Douglas for the New Democratic Party. The question asked by the journalist was about homosexuality and abortion. Which leaders do you most agree with on this issue? Why? Are the views expressed by some politicians still popular today?

A timeline (in French) is available for this period:

Author:  Alexandre Lanoix

See also – Traces of the past:

Quickly check your knowledge: