A clip of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaking about his opposition to the notwithstanding clause in the Charter of Rights has been taken out of context and shared online, with social media users claiming that the 29-second video is proof that the Canadian government is attacking the fundamental rights of its citizens.
Section 33 of the Charter of Rights, otherwise known as the notwithstanding clause, allows a provincial government or Parliament to introduce an unconstitutional law which can override certain aspects of the charter for a period of five years, with the ability to renew the law for a further five years (here), (here), (here).
In the short clip being shared online, the Canadian prime minister is heard as saying: “Regardless of the fact that we are attacking your fundamental rights or limiting your fundamental rights, and the Charter says that is wrong, we are still going go ahead and do it. It’s basically a loophole that allows a majority to override the fundamental rights of a minority.”
One user who shared the clip via Twitter said:” So....we're not under a Communist regime you say?” (here). The video had gathered over 230,000 views at the time of writing.
Another iteration of the video on Instagram had over 65,000 views (here).
One user added in the comments: “WHAT WHAT WHAT he said that. Totalitarianism has arrived.” Another said: “Canada stand up [sic] this is Criminal.” (here).
Examples of the clip shared online can be seen (here), (here), (here), (here).
The clip has taken Trudeau’s comments out of context, however. Trudeau was speaking about his opposition to the notwithstanding clause, not his support for it.
The comments were made in an interview with the Ottawa Bureau of The Canadian Press (here), (here).
The clip cuts short Trudeau’s sentence at the point where he says: "That's why I agree with my father that it is not a great thing to have in a Charter of Rights and Freedoms” (here).
Media reports of Trudeau’s comments in context can be viewed (here), (here), (here), (here).
Trudeau’s comments in opposition to the notwithstanding clause comes as a teacher in Quebec was removed from the classroom for wearing a hijab under a provincial law, ‘Bill 21’, which prohibits public workers such as teachers and police officers from wearing religious symbols at work (here), (here), (here).
The notwithstanding clause was then invoked to prevent Bill 21 from being challenged and struck down as a violation of the Charter of Rights (here).
Missing context. A clip of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaking about his opposition to the notwithstanding clause has been taken out of context. Trudeau was addressing his opposition to it, not his support of it.
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