Posts Tagged ‘equality’

Canadian flagThere is the common legal refrain and myth that we’re all equal under the law.

Part 1, Section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states:

15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.

Here comes the weasel words, which say all Canadians aren’t equal under the law.

(2) Subsection (1) does not preclude any law, program or activity that has as its object the amelioration of conditions of disadvantaged individuals or groups including those that are disadvantaged because of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability. (84)

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Unbalanced scales

Among the common misconceptions about the United States are that it’s a democracy (it’s a republic), that the U.S. Constitution mentions “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” (it’s in the Declaration of Independence), that it has a government of, by, and for the people (mentioned by President Abraham Lincoln at his Gettysburg Address, 87 years after U.S. independence), and then there is the misconception that everyone is equal before and under the law.

The U.S. Constitution, the document that provides the framework for the U.S. government, says it is “the Supreme Law of the Land,” and it says of the members of Congress:

They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

Not only isn’t everyone equal before the law in the U.S., but equality before the law is also unconstitutional, in that it is unconstitutional, and, therefore, unlawful, to arrest any member of Congress outside of the exceptions provided, and to arrest them for any statements made, even if they were intended to cause a riot.

So much, then, for members of Congress having special privileges being some new phenomenon.

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