By Karen Selick
Bad legal reasoning — especially when it comes from the country’s highest court — is similar to an urban legend. Once launched into the world of legal precedent, bad reasoning gets stripped down to a pithy slogan, then repeated over and over again until everyone accepts it as a truth beyond questioning, even when it’s fallacious.
That’s what happened to the concept of “economic liberty” 22 years ago, when Canadian courts were first wrestling with the then relatively new Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
In a 1989 case, three justices of the Supreme Court of Canada raised doubts about whether economic liberty should be considered part of the “life, liberty and security of the person” guarantee of the Charter. However, they said it was too early in the history of Charter jurisprudence to decide the issue definitively. Continue reading