LES DROITS DEMOCRATIQUES

Authors

  • GERALD-A BEAUDOIN

Abstract

Section 3 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms entrenches the right of each citizen to vote and to be a candidate in federal and provincial elections. Is it reasonable in a free and democratic society to refuse the right to vote to certain citizens? In my opinion, the right to vote should be given to judges, returning officers, and prisoners; our laws should define with great precision the test of mental sickness. Advance polling and proxy voting should be extended; voting by mail should be established. The doctrine, "one man, one vote", applied in the United States, should constitute the objective, having regard, however, to the particular situation of Canada, which is not densely populated and where distances are considerable. As far as membership in legislative houses is concerned, section 3 will not force Canada to adopt the system of proportional representation. Section 4 of the Charter entrenches the principle of periodic elections and puts on the same level Parliament and the legislatures for a maximum duration of five years except in emergency cases. Finally, section 5 provides for an annual sitting of the houses, thus eliminating the possibility for any government to rule for a long period of time without answering to the elected representatives of the people.

Keywords:

Constitutional Law

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Published

1983-03-01

Issue

Section

Legal Commentary

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