Charter of Rights and Freedoms State Among Canadian People

            The freedoms of the Canadian people, as guaranteed in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms states in section 1 that ". . . guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits . . . .” This means that specific freedoms, though guaranteed in section two of the Charter as "fundamental freedoms” are subordinate to limitations as the government sees fit, unlike the freedoms of the United States constitutional freedoms, which have no limits put on them, and are occasionally abused by groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, and anti- government militia groups as a result. Pornography, hate propaganda, and racist literature are all examples of areas of expression subject to limitation by the government in Canada, as they are all viewed as obscene. The first laws governing obscenity in Canada were created in 1892. These laws prohibited the sale and display of any material which was deemed immoral. Later, in 1927, the obscenity laws were expanded to include anything referring to "the corruption of public morals.” The laws were expanded to make criminal the possession, circulation, distribution or fabrication of any such material. During the 1950's, there was an increase in the availability of pornographic materials. This resulted in two opinions regarding pornography to surface; one opposed to the pornography industry, and demanded more rigid and strict regulations, while the other side of the debate called for no further regulations. During 1958, amendments were put forth in the House of Commons to define the term "obscene” in the Criminal Code of Canada, and were adopted in 1959. Throughout the 1970's, there was an increased outcry by the Canadian public against the growing amount of pornographic material available in Canada. A committee was formed to look at the problem, and in 1978, decided that Canadians were justified in calling for the control of such material.

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