The Proper Balance of Power in Democracies Argumentative Essay by Quality Writers

The Proper Balance of Power in Democracies
This paper discusses the balance of power as it relates to the judiciary in Canada.
# 102751 | 2,414 words | 8 sources | MLA | 2008 | US

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Some political observers argue that the balance of power between the legislature and the judiciary resides with the judiciary in Canada - a troubling assertion for those who feel unelected officials should not hold that kind of sway over the political process. In the view of this writer, such an argument is undoubtedly correct. With that uppermost in mind, this article looks at why it may be said that Canadian judges wield sweeping powers. From there, the paper turns to examine the arguments raised by at least one prominent Canadian academic who feels strongly that judges should use the considerable powers of their position to promote the creation of a Canada more in keeping with the notions of equality and inclusiveness that Canada allegedly stands for. The writer concludes by looking at how justices now see themselves in Canada, how the Charter entrenchment of certain rights has expanded their legislative role and what implications their prominent place in the democratic process offers for interest groups and citizens' groups. The writer maintains that the proper balance of power in a democracy should be one in which judges interpret the law rather than make it via prescriptive measures, but laments whether this will ever happen in Canada.

From the Paper:

"Other academics, while appearing to share Dr. Greene's view that justices should play a key role in the shaping and formulation of Canadian law, nonetheless bristle at any suggestion that Canada's judiciary has been assertive in resisting the non-democratic or authoritarian impulses of Parliament - at least in some notable cases that have sweeping implications for all Canadians. For instance, L.E. Weinrib writes in 1994 that Canada's Supreme Court justices caved in to the legislature (and possibly to public pressure, as well) when they decided to reject Sue Rodriguez's request that she be allowed to die via assisted suicide. Of especial importance - at least to Ms. Weinrib - the majority of the Supreme Court read Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as enshrining the sanctity of human life and not as an expression of an individual's right to be an autonomous decision-maker in a free society."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Brooks, Stephen. Canadian Democracy: An Introduction, 3rd Edition. Toronto, ON: Oxford University Press, 2004.
  • Department of Justice Canada. "Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms." n.d. <> (23 March 2007), Government of Canada.
  • Dyck, Rand. Canadian Politics: Critical Approaches, 3rd Edition. Scarborough, ON: Nelson Thomson Learning, 2000.
  • Greene, Ian, Carl Baar, and Peter McCormick, "Law, Courts and Democracy in Canada," International Social Science Journal 49, no.2 (1997): 225-239.
  • Greene, Ian. "Courts - Ian Greene." Canada: A Democratic Audit. 11 March 2005 <> (23 March 2007), Canadian Study of Parliament Group.

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