Dion Introduces Motion Calling on Government to Re-instate Court Challenges Program
April 19, 2007
Ottawa – The Conservative government must re-instate the Court Challenges Program and reverse the steps it has taken to undermine the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion said today.
“By cancelling the Court Challenges Program last September, Prime Minister Stephen Harper attacked an important tool Canadians depend upon to exercise and defend their Charter Rights,” said Mr. Dion.
“This week we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Charter, which is the centerpiece of Canada’s democracy – now is the time for the Prime Minister to admit his mistake and reverse his destructive course.”Mr. Dion gave notice of a motion today that calls on the government to re-instate the Court Challenges Program.
He noted that mounting a Charter challenge is extremely expensive, and the Court Challenges Program existed to help individuals and organizations cover the expense and make the process accessible to all Canadians.
“Mr. Harper’s decision to eliminate the Court Challenges Program fits a broader pattern – one of animosity toward some of the most basic precepts of our judicial system,” said Mr. Dion.
“The Canadian Charter enshrines equal rights in our country’s highest laws, but in order for it to be truly effective Canadians must have access to those laws. That is what the Court Challenges program provides, and that is precisely why I am calling on the government to re-instate it.”