PM's snub of charter anniversary 'shocking': Chrétien
Jean Chrétien says he is shocked that the federal Conservative government has no plans to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Chrétien helped enshrine the charter into the Constitution on April 17, 1982, as justice minister in prime minister Pierre Trudeau's government. Chretién will be speaking at a conference at the University of Ottawa to mark the anniversary.
Jack Jedwab, one of the conference organizers, told CanWest News last week that Harper, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, Heritage Minister Bev Oda and former justice minister Vic Toews had been invited to address the April 16-17 event, but declined.
"[Former Progressive Conservative prime minister John] Diefenbaker was such a proponent of the Charter of Rights," Chrétien said. "I hope they will not put the flag at half-mast [Tuesday] because it will be the anniversary."
Harper and critics have complained in the pastthat judges have used the charter to undermine the powers of Parliament.
Harper was barely a month into office when he suggested judges should show greater deference to Parliament and "apply the law, not make it."
With files from the Canadian Press