Dalhousie Law Journal


Human rights, Canadian society, mechanisms, issues, redress


To the great body of the people, the whole mass of right is without remedy. Selling justice to the favoured few, denying it to the many, the system gives the rights in outward show; takes them away in effect; gives rights by what it says, takes them away by what it does. 1 Society has changed since Jeremy Bentham made the above observation. However, the problem he identified has not been eliminated. The gap between what governments say about human rights and what they do about violations of human rights is wide. In spite of occasional verbal protests from other nation states, President Idi Amin continues to murder and torture the people of Uganda. United States' President Carter has made strong statements on the importance of human rights, but has stopped short of imposing economic and political sanctions on offending nations. Canada has ratified the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but it has not drafted legislation to properly implement it. The Canadian Bill of Rights trumpets "equality before the law" but the courts have construed this right narrowly.