by Karen Selick, Derek From, and Chris Schafer
“….A constitutional guarantee of liberty, to be consistent with J.S. Mill’s description, should ensure that everyone has the right to freely pursue their own happiness as long as their actions do not harm others. Such a constitutional guarantee would protect individuals from unjustified state inference with their chosen way of life. But there are many ways in which the courts in Canada have permitted the government to impede individual liberty.
For example, the government may confiscate your property without compensation (R. v. Tener). It can force you to have your photo taken even if it conflicts with your deeply held religious beliefs (Alberta v. Hutterian Brethren of Wilson Colony). It can force parents to educate their children in a particular fashion (R. v. Jones). It can force individuals to pay union fees even if they are not union members (Lavigne v. Ontario Public Service Employees Union). It can punish you for putting certain substances in your body (R. v. Malmo-Levine; R. v. Caine). And it can prohibit you from entering into mutually agreeable contracts with other individuals (Reference re ss. 193 & 195.1(1)(c) of Criminal Code (Canada)). Continue reading