LES DROITS ECONOMIQUES ET SOCIAUX: PARENTS PAUVRES DE LA CHARTE QUEBECOISE?
AbstractOne of the elements underlying the distinctive character of the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms is the inclusion of economic and social rights. Nevertheless, courts and lawyers in Quebec, as elsewhere, seem reluctant to look at economic and social rights as legal norms. Not only is the «non justiciability» of economic and social rights held as dogma by, many authors, it also influences courts decisions, at least insofar as the rights of citizens vis-à-vis the State are concerned. Undoubtedly, the weak formulation of economic and social rights in the Charter plays a role here, as probably does the fact the economic and social rights take no precedence over ordinary laws. A tendency among members of the judiciary to view poverty issues as matters of individual responsibility is also present. However, the attitude of the courts is basically informed by a presumed incompatibility between «economic and social rights» and «civil and political rights». Such an absolute dichotomy finds support neither in Supreme Court decisions, nor in international law. As the Quebec Charter enters its third decade of existence, a greater recognition of the justiciability of economic and social rights is overdue . Two ways are suggested in which this could be promoted: first through a more systematic use of economic and social rights in interpreting other human rights; and second, through an exploration of the idea of a «central core» of economic and social rights that could be legally enforced against possible encroachments by the State.
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