Limiting rights, Canadian style : the Supreme Court of Canada, American jurisprudence and section 1 of the Charter /
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The addition of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms represented a fundamental shift in Canadian governance. Many saw the tabling of such a document as a further, even fmal, step towards the Americanization of the Canadian polity. While the Charter's presence has significantly altered the relationship between citizens, government and the courts, it has done so by maintaining the traditional values and experiences that has been the hallmarks of Canadian constitutionalism. This is in contrast to the fears harboured by critics suggesting that the Charter was a further Americanization of the Canadian Polity, notwithstanding the very different natures of the American Bill of Rights and the Canadian Charter. Analyzing American Supreme Court precedent use by the Canadian Supreme Court has demonstrated that such an Americanization has not, in fact, occurred. In the present analysis of American precedent use in section 1 limitation of rights cases, the citation of these precedents are at best episodic, at least on the quantitative level. Qualitatively, the Canadian Supreme Court generally uses American jurisprudence to further support broad definitions of 'great rights' . As for the more intricate details of rights limitations and the process involved in detennining how Charter rights are limited, one would be hard pressed to find even cursory references to American case law.