Home Publications The Evisceration of Liberty in Canadian Courts

The Evisceration of Liberty in Canadian Courts

By | Fraser Institute on Jan 08 2013

From Publications

The classical liberal philosopher, J.S. Mill, said of liberty:

The only [liberty] which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good, in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it. (Mill, 1859/1974: 72)

Mill’s concept of liberty is powerful and robust. It protects the so-called “negative” freedom of individuals, permitting them to be self-determining, free from state interference of any kind, unless it is to prevent harm to another.

Unfortunately, this concept of liberty is almost completely foreign to Canadian constitutional law jurisprudence. Our courts are out of step with the classical liberal philosophical foundations of our own political system. In fact, the courts in Canada have eviscerated the concept of liberty.

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