GeneralDescription of the Cases
GeneralDescription of the Cases
Mr.Whatcott was a member of the Saskatchewan Association of LicensedPractical Nurses ("SALPN"). However due to his beliefs hepicketed in from of the Planned Parenthood Regina ("PPR")offices to air his view and opinions by which he carried signsdenouncing parental planning equating it as an action of abortion. Healso shouted miss guided statements like parental planning will giveyou AIDs. Additionally he made religious utterances like “fornicatorswill not inherit the kingdom of God.” In this instance, aquestionable remark may be posed to conflicting rights. Since bythese actions Mr. Whatcott was sued and fined by the court. In thisthen it will be good to see what the Charter of rights and theirbalances protect (Boyd, 2006).
Someof the fundamental rights provided for by the charter of rights andfreedom are the freedom of expression, religion, conscience, thought,religion and opinion. These rights and freedoms are vital since theyassure political, social, legal and democratic progression. They alsoenable us to express freely our ideas and opinions, while allowing usto practice our religion and even granting us an opportunity todevelop a new way of thinking. We exercise these rights daily in ourday-to-day activities like our freedom of expression can be seen fromour talks to our text messages and even tweets and Facebook posts(MacIvor, 2012).
However,if unchecked the free expression of our thoughts, beliefs andconscience can be futile and anger others. This is because the ideasand opinions of others about how they are and how we think theyshould live are developed from our judgments (Gilliland, 2012). Inthis, their religion, sexual orientation, practices, and culture isformed from experiences, stereotypes or personal perception. Otherscome from our own values and beliefs, our distinction between what isgood, and what is bad. In addition, some people hold on to theseconvictions and beliefs more quickly than others do.
Anotherimport right protected by the Charter is the equality of individuals.This is even present in the provincial human rights (Gilliland,2012). In this, all persons are equal regardless of their race,ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, age, gender, etc.Additionally the Canadian law goes to the extent of prohibiting theexpression of hateful speeches against a renowned group on thegrounds of these identifiable attributes (Stewart, 2012).
Inthe case of Mr. Whatcott, a Christian activist who has a right andfreedom of expression. However, he seems have upset the balancebetween religion and free expression. Since on side, there is thefree expression but on the other bases on his picketing and hisstatements about abortion is hate full speech on the PlannedParenthood Regina. Hence, in this one principle that touched, inthis case, is that no right is absolute (Boyd, 2006). This is to meanthat no right by itself is absolute since other freedoms and right ofothers substantially limit it. Therefore, in consideration of Mr.Whatcott it would be necessary to see how his actions affected thefreedom of other especially PPR and his conduct as a professional(Milward, 2012).
Anotherimportant factor to that applies to this case is as that SupremeCourt made clear that there is no hierarchy of rights (LEISHMAN,2012). This is to mean that all rights are equal and there are nolesser or greater rights. Hence, in this light any attempt orapproach that place some rights over others must be strictly avoidedespecially in this case. When the rights of two parties are inconflict, the charter requires that a balance should be put in placethat respects the rights of both the parties involved (Gilliland,2012).
Inaddition, it is worth noting that rights do not extend as far as theyare claimed. By this, when faced by a complex and tricky scenarioorganization tend to determine whether the rights extend as far asthe parties claim. In this, the validation process will act if theclaim extends as far to bring a legal right. Alternatively, does itgenuinely involve a legal right. Then can the individual bringhimself or herself within the asserted right after the evidence hasbeen examined (LEISHMAN, 2012). Thus, it is clear that when all thefacts are set out not all claims to rights will be legally valid. Incompeting rights, scenarios like those that Mr. Whatcott is therights must be set out first. In this case, Mr. Whatcott will have toprove that his claim to free expression is valid legally. Hence, hewill have to show that he can bring himself to the parameters of therights. Additionally, evidence may be called upon to show that he iswithin the boundaries of the right unless the evidence is free of thecircumstance (Gilliland, 2012).
Anotherprinciple that is applicable to this case is that in conflictingscenarios like this one the rights must be identifies and defined inrelation to one another by looking at the context of things. This iscritical because the charter rights do not exist in a vacuum and mustbe resolved by looking at the context in order to solve conflicts(LEISHMAN, 2012). This will also help in trying to bring the fullestrealization of all the rights involved. Importantly, also as thecontext is being considered the constitution and societal valuesunderlying the matter must also be examined. The appreciation of theconstitution and societal values and their understanding alsocontributes to solving rights conflict (MacIvor, 2012).
Theextent of interference of the rights is also an important principleto be looked at. When the rights are in conflict then it is importantto see if the is intrusion of one right on another and the extent bywhich they interfere. It is important since if the interference issmall or minor the right will not get much protection if any(Milward, 2012). In addition, if there is no effect on the otherrights then there is no need to go to deeper in the resolutionprocess. In this, the recognition of the rights of one group orindividual does not necessarily mean that the rights have beenviolated. There must be evidence of intrusion of those rights.Similarly, the claim that rights have been violated is not by itselfenough there must be evidence and not just assumptions that one rightwill interfere with others (MacIvor, 2012).
Freespeech rights of a member and his duties have been set apart.Professional bodies have a degree of by how much they can limit theirmembers’ political stands and proclamations. In this, Whatcott’sappeal of his case should succeed (LEISHMAN, 2012). This is becauseof some various factors the court did not consider.
Thefirst one being that the disciplinary committee found that Whatcotthad committed a professional misconduct (Gilliland, 2012). In that,his statements were incorrect and his actions were defaming and ofharm to the stand of nursing profession on the public. In addition,the committee did not consider or look into Whatcott argument thathis statements were constitutionally protected. Instead, they finnedhim and suspended his service. This intern made the court to rulethat his actions would grant the nursing profession a negative imageand in fact, they were a violation of the SALPN’sCode of Ethics. However, the court too found that a section in theNurses Act 2000 interfered with his rights of speech it still ruledthat the interference is justified (LEISHMAN, 2012).
Inthis it can be seen that the committees ruling was a bit overruledsince Whatcotts actions could not have had any effect on the image ofthe nursing profession (Stewart, 2012). This is because he had notidentified himself as a nurse in the course of the picketing. Inaddition, only a very little number of people would know that he heldsuch a position. Contrastingly, Whatcott was identified as a nurseonly when PPR filed for the court order and when SALPN issued a pressstatement on the issue (Boyd, 2006). Hence, the fact that Whatcott’sconduct and his job are affecting the field i.e. medical services isnot of great help. Additionally those facts do not offer a verytangible conclusion that the public would think lowly of the nursingprofession because of his conduct (LEISHMAN, 2012). The court rulingtoo is a bit faulty since it is focused on whether it isconstitutional for Whatcott or not rather than focusing on theeffects of the Disciplinary committee on Whatcott. Hence, theinfringement or interference of his right of speech isconstitutionally unjustified. In addition, there is no rationalconnection between his actions and the discipline ordered. Inconclusion therefore, since there is no appropriate evidence thatWhatcoott’s conduct would affect the image of the nursingprofession then the disciplinary action is unwarranted. Thus that iswhat will grant victory to Whatcott during his appeal (Boyd, 2006).
Boyd,D. R. (2012). Theright to a healthy environment: Revitalizing Canada`s constitution.Vancouver: UBC Press.
Gilliland,R. (2012). TheCharter at thirty.Toronto: Canada Law Book.
LEISHMAN,R. O. R. Y. (2006). AgainstJudicial Activism: The Decline of Freedom and Democracy in Canada.Montreal Kingston London Ithaca: MQUP.
MacIvor,H. (2012). Canadianpolitics and government in the Charter era.Don Mills, Ont: Oxford University Press.
Milward,D. L. (2012). Aboriginaljustice and the Charter: Realizing a culturally sensitiveinterpretation of legal rights.Vancouver: UBC Press.
Stewart,H. (2012). Fundamentaljustice: Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.Toronto: Irwin Law.