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Sign-up for our newsletter: https://firstfreedoms.ca/call_to_action_pages/stay_informed/ Can a thirteenth century document “written in Latin on the hide of a sheep” mean anything to us today? Dr. John Robson (historian, columnist, documentary filmmaker, Executive...
Sign-up for our newsletter: https://firstfreedoms.ca/call_to_action_pages/stay_informed/ Pastor Artur Pawlowski sat down with Barry W. Bussey and shared his personal story of coming to Canada and ministering in Calgary. He candidly shares his trouble with...
Sign-up for our Newsletter at: https://firstfreedoms.ca/call_to_action_pages/stay_informed/ At what point do you stand up? Prof. David Haskell describes a university assignment he presented to students, which resulted in several students dropping his course with...
Justice Ivan Rand, in a 1953 Supreme Court of Canada case involving religious freedom in Quebec, described “freedom of speech, religion and the inviolability of the person” as “original freedoms which are at once the necessary attributes and modes of self-expression of human beings and the primary conditions of their community life within a legal order.” We refer to these “original freedoms” as “first freedoms” (with the view that freedom of religion is a subset of freedom of conscience).
These freedoms are inherent and inalienable. They exist prior to the state. They can be recognized (or violated) by governments but they are not created through legislation or constitutions.
They are foundational. Other rights build on these freedoms. A functioning liberal democracy depends on free speech, freedom of conscience and religion, and respect for the inviolability of the person.
Justice and civil peace rest on the equal dignity and freedom of every human being, regardless of status, ability, political affiliation, race, age, sexuality, or creed.
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We are taking action to help Canadians discuss and defend freedom. Discover upcoming events, publications and more
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The Foundation is dedicated to defending liberty in practice as well as theory.
Depending on the situation, we are prepared to offer resources and provide legal support to those in need.
In 1968, then-Minister of Justice Pierre Trudeau opined that “A constitutional bill of rights in Canada would guarantee the fundamental freedoms of the individual from interference, whether federal or provincial. It would as well...
Dr. Ryan Alford, Professor at the Bora Laskin School of Law, Lakehead University, joins Dr. Bussey for a remarkable Freedom Feature discussion, recorded on February 23. Author of Seven Absolute Rights: Recovering the Historical Foundations of Canada's Rule of Law...
Why is Canada's new Conversion Therapy Bill so problematic? Listen as Barry discusses concerns around Bill C-4 with Dr. Don Hutchinson and Dr. Iain Provan. Bill C-4, An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Conversion Therapy), went through the Parliament of Canada in...
The Supreme Court Got It Right in Extending The Wall Barry W. Bussey (note that an abbreviated version of this case comment was previously published by The Lawyer's Daily) In free and democratic societies, membership in a religious community is premised on freedom:...
Law Matters but Politics Matter More: The Supreme Court of Canada and Trinity Western University The following case comment was originally published in the Oxford Journal of Law and Religion 2018 7(3) Barry W. Bussey The law on religious accommodation in Canada has...
The following is extracted from my chapter "Human Dignity Found in Religious Community," in The Inherence of Human Dignity Vol. 2: Law and Religious Liberty, edited by Barry W. Bussey and Angus J. L. Menuge (Anthem Press, 2021). In 2008 the province of Quebec...
Featured Upcoming Events:
First Freedoms will host our first annual lecture series in November 2022, addressing current topics related to one or more of the original freedoms. We welcome presentations from scholars and experts in their field whose work serves to advance the cause of freedom....
April 17, 2022 marks the fortieth anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This will be an important milestone to reflect on the state of freedom in Canada.
The following editorial, co-authored with lawyer Iain Benson, was previously published by Epoch Times. Commentary A complaint to the Canadian Judicial Council was recently filed concerning comments made by the Right Honourable Richard Wagner, chief justice of the...
The following editorial was previously published by The Lawyer's Daily. Religious or conscientious objectors to the COVID-19 vaccine have paid a high price for their principles over the last year in Canada. Many lost jobs (even when working from home) or were...
The following editorial was previously published by The Lawyer's Daily, June 16, 2022. Philosopher Thomas Sowell once quipped, “You will never understand bureaucracies until you understand that for bureaucrats, procedure is everything and outcomes are nothing.”...
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Our Top Priorities
The original freedoms are inherent and inalienable. Other rights build on these freedoms. A peaceful and prosperous liberal democracy depends on free speech, freedom of conscience and religion, and respect for the inviolability of the person.
FREEDOM OF SPEECH
“Freedom in thought and speech and disagreement in ideas and beliefs, on every conceivable subject, are of the essence of our life.” (Justice Rand)
FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE
“An emphasis on individual conscience and individual judgment also lies at the heart of our democratic political tradition” (Justice Dickson)
Inviolability of the Person
“Freedom must surely be founded in respect for the inherent dignity and the inviolable rights of the human person” (Justice Dickson)
“Freedom of conscience is the cornerstone of our most cherished freedoms. Logically, this position leads to the bold assertion that meaningful manifestations of all other civil liberties would be jeopardized if freedom of conscience were diminished.
Indeed, to remove freedom of conscience is to deal a battering-ram blow to the liberal democratic ideals that support all human rights protections. “
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