By Gudrun Schultz
ST. ANDREW, Jamaica, March 31, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Canadian lawyer has said the Charter of Rights and Freedoms has allowed Canada’s courts to turn the country into one of the most socially liberal societies in the world.
“Twenty-five yeas ago [when the Charter came into effect], none in Canada anticipated the kind of changes the Charter would bring,” said Janet Epp Buckingham, speaking at a recent Jamaican meeting of the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship. Buckingham is director of law and public policy with the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada,
As reported by Focus on the Family Canada, she cited numerous examples of how the courts had used the Charter to legalize abortion, homosexuality and pornography, among other issues.
Despite Canadians assuring themselves that “we are a Christian country, our courts will not do that,” she said, the Charter allowed judges to strike down existing laws by declaring them to be unconstitutional, or by “reading into” laws changes that had never been debated in Parliament.
The attack on freedom of religion in education, she said, was the most dangerous threat of the courts, citing cases where Christian schools had been forced to sacrifice government funding in order to uphold their beliefs.Â
Together with various local Christian groups, Buckingham offered advice to a joint select committee of Jamaican legislators studying a proposed Charter of Rights based on the Canadian model.
Attorney-at-law David Henry, a pastor, told the committee to word the Charter as explicitly as possible in order to guard against later challenges that would erode the rights it is intended to protect, including marriage, reported Radio Jamaica.
Jamaicans have been working towards a Charter of Rights since 1991. Church leaders and the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship are concerned over sections in the proposed Charter they say leave open the door for the legalization of abortion and homosexuality, as well as attacks against religion in schools.
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