Dalhousie Law Journal


military law, Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, military policy, military community, Canadian society


Substantial re-evaluations of the rules ordering many facets of Canadian society have been required since the introduction of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, both as a consequence and in anticipation of challenges in the courts. The military community in particular has been faced with extensive difficulties because of the adoption of the Charter of Rights by its parent civilian society. The dilemma the military finds itself in stems from the creation of the Charter by civilian politicians and lawyers who had the problems of a civilian society and legal system in mind; yet it applies equally to the military.' Although the Forces have adopted a number of changes in order to accommodate the Charter, there still remains a broad range of long-established military policies which could face challenges in the courts for limiting the enumerated rights in the Charter. Not only may a number of administrative practices and specific military offences be open to question, but so may the tribunals which form the very basis of military justice. Serious problems arise in trying to resolve these apparent contraventions because this conflict represents more than just a discrepancy between a particular set of laws and the Charter, rather, it is generated by a fundamental clash between the values of the military community and those of the Canadian society at large.