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date: 20 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Section 7 jurisprudence shows strong application of the rights to life, liberty, and security of the person to a range of state action and actors. However, courts have significantly limited the progressive potential of these rights through two doctrinal concerns: the negative/positive rights distinction and causation issues. The result is a bounded jurisprudence reflecting both the strengths and weakness of liberal legalism. In particular, claims targeting the twenty-first century crises of Canadian society—social and economic inequality, as well as environmental degradation—while meaningfully apiece with the values of life, liberty, and security of the person, are unlikely to succeed under section 7 without critical and pointed judicial movement beyond liberalism’s divide between public and private action.

Keywords: life, liberty, security, liberal legalism, section 7, positive/negative rights, causation, public/private

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