Hace 30 años Canadá repatrió su Constitución, la cual, por razones históricas y políticas, tenía su "casa" en el Parlamento Inglés. El proyecto de repatración fue considerado por varios Primeros Ministros de Canadá a lo largo de la historia pero ninguno pudo lograr el acuerdo necesario con los gobiernos provinciales hasta que el Primer Ministro Pierre Trudeau lo hizo. El 17 de abril de 2012 en una ceremonia que tuvo lugar en la Colina del Parlamento de Canadá en Ottawa, el Primer Ministro Trudeau y la Reina Isabel II firmaron oficialmente la repatriación de la Constitución la cual fue modificada para incluir en Ley la Carta Canadiense de Derechos y Libertades, cuya creación fue también idea de Trudeau y hoy día constituye su mayor legado (entre muchos otros).
La Carta Canadiense de Derechos y Libertades consagra en ley los derechos y libertades que gozamos los canadienses y que nos protegen del poder del Estado. La Carta contiene los derechos y libertades fundamentales en una democracia; derechos de mobilidad, derechos democráticos, derechos legales, derechos de igualdad. Establece de manera sólida la igualdad de todos los ciudadanos Canadienses (y se extiende también a residentes de Canadá). Entre los derechos más importantes establecidos por la Carta son las Libertades Fundamentales:
2. Toda persona tiene las siguientes libertades fundamentales:
a) Libertad de conciencia y religión
b) Libertad de pensamiento, creencia, opinión y expresión, incluídas la libertad de prensa y otros medios de comunicación
c) Libertad de manifestación pacífica (peaceful assembly - protesta)
d) Libertad de asociación
Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law:
Rights and freedoms in Canada
1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.
2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
(a) freedom of conscience and religion;
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
(d) freedom of association.
Democratic rights of citizens
3. Every citizen of Canada has the right to vote in an election of members of the House of Commons or of a legislative assembly and to be qualified for membership therein.
Maximum duration of legislative bodies
4. (1) No House of Commons and no legislative assembly shall continue for longer than five years from the date fixed for the return of the writs of a general election of its members.
Continuation in special circumstances
(2) In time of real or apprehended war, invasion or insurrection, a House of Commons may be continued by Parliament and a legislative assembly may be continued by the legislature beyond five years if such continuation is not opposed by the votes of more than one-third of the members of the House of Commons or the legislative assembly, as the case may be.
Annual sitting of legislative bodies
5. There shall be a sitting of Parliament and of each legislature at least once every twelve months.
Mobility of citizens
6. (1) Every citizen of Canada has the right to enter, remain in and leave Canada.
Rights to move and gain livelihood
(2) Every citizen of Canada and every person who has the status of a permanent resident of Canada has the right
(a) to move to and take up residence in any province; and
(b) to pursue the gaining of a livelihood in any province.
(3) The rights specified in subsection (2) are subject to
(a) any laws or practices of general application in force in a province other than those that discriminate among persons primarily on the basis of province of present or previous residence; and
(b) any laws providing for reasonable residency requirements as a qualification for the receipt of publicly provided social services.
Affirmative action programs
(4) Subsections (2) and (3) do not preclude any law, program or activity that has as its object the amelioration in a province of conditions of individuals in that province who are socially or economically disadvantaged if the rate of employment in that province is below the rate of employment in Canada.
Life, liberty and security of person
7. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.
Search or seizure
8. Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.
Detention or imprisonment
9. Everyone has the right not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned.
Arrest or detention
10. Everyone has the right on arrest or detention
(a) to be informed promptly of the reasons therefor;
(b) to retain and instruct counsel without delay and to be informed of that right; and
(c) to have the validity of the detention determined by way of habeas corpus and to be released if the detention is not lawful.
Proceedings in criminal and penal matters
11. Any person charged with an offence has the right
(a) to be informed without unreasonable delay of the specific offence;
(b) to be tried within a reasonable time;
(c) not to be compelled to be a witness in proceedings against that person in respect of the offence;
(d) to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal;
(e) not to be denied reasonable bail without just cause;
(f) except in the case of an offence under military law tried before a military tribunal, to the benefit of trial by jury where the maximum punishment for the offence is imprisonment for five years or a more severe punishment;
(g) not to be found guilty on account of any act or omission unless, at the time of the act or omission, it constituted an offence under Canadian or international law or was criminal according to the general principles of law recognized by the community of nations;
(h) if finally acquitted of the offence, not to be tried for it again and, if finally found guilty and punished for the offence, not to be tried or punished for it again; and
(i) if found guilty of the offence and if the punishment for the offence has been varied between the time of commission and the time of sentencing, to the benefit of the lesser punishment.
Treatment or punishment
12. Everyone has the right not to be subjected to any cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.
13. A witness who testifies in any proceedings has the right not to have any incriminating evidence so given used to incriminate that witness in any other proceedings, except in a prosecution for perjury or for the giving of contradictory evidence.
14. A party or witness in any proceedings who does not understand or speak the language in which the proceedings are conducted or who is deaf has the right to the assistance of an interpreter.
Equality before and under law and equal protection and benefit of law
15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.
Affirmative action programs
(2) Subsection (1) does not preclude any law, program or activity that has as its object the amelioration of conditions of disadvantaged individuals or groups including those that are disadvantaged because of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.
Fuente: Canada's Department of Justice Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms