Stephen Harper 's Tenure As Prime Minister Essay

1724 Words Nov 29th, 2016 7 Pages
One of the hallmarks of Stephen Harper’s tenure as Prime Minister was the adversarial relationship between Parliament and the courts. His government was “openly hostile towards the judicial branch” and often failed to take its Charter duties seriously. Harper’s lack of deference for the right and freedoms entrenched in the Charter led to several of his government’s laws being struck down by the Supreme Court of Canada. Conversely, the appeal of Frank v. Canada was a victory for the Conservative government – although the impugned legislation had been enacted over a decade before Harper became Prime Minister. It is still possible for the challenged sections of the Canada Elections Act to be declared unconstitutional, however, as the case is being appealed in the SCC. How the current government of Canada, under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, will respond to the decision of the SCC remains to be seen. It would appear, though, from their campaign promises and subsequent legislative proposals, the Trudeau government intends to take more seriously its Charter duties and maintain a less fractious relationship with the courts. The impugned sections of the Canada Elections Act, which prohibited citizens from voting if they were living outside of Canada for more than five years, were the basis for Frank v. Canada. The argument, put forth by Frank and Duong, was that this prohibition infringed upon the rights of expatriate citizens to vote in federal elections. The Charter of…

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