The Charter of Wrongs: Canada's Retreat from Democracy


40 pages
ISBN 0-921877-18-8
DDC 342.71'085




Reviewed by David E. Smith

David E. Smith is a professor of Political Studies at the University of
Saskatchewan and author of Jimmy Gardiner: Relentless Liberal.


This short monograph is part of a Mackenzie Institute series on
terrorism, revolution, and propaganda. The Institute describes itself as
“a non-partisan independent organization . . . [conducting]
educational programs in those aspects of conflict that fall between the
traditional notions of ‘peace’ and ‘war’.” Brode lectures in
legal history at the University of Windsor.

The text is presented under 22 headings, a selection of which reveal
the monograph’s thesis, if its title has not already done so: “Was a
Charter Needed?”, “A Charter of Criminals’ Rights,” and “The
Criminal’s Best Friend.” Courts have triumphed over legislatures,
and judges over politicians. This is the Sterling Lyon prophecy of 1981
come true, or at least as true as a 40-page broadside against judicial
interpretation of the Charter can be. In this maelstrom, the author
indicates a lax system of sentencing and probation, and judges who
“reflect” their “biases,” among whom the former Justice Bertha
Wilson is singled out for her “feminist polemic” in the Morgentaler

To circumvent the revolution under way, Brode recommends extending the
“notwithstanding clause” to all sections of the Charter. This is a
vain proposal, and for reasons that challenge his own thesis: Canadians
love the Charter but not Parliament.


Brode, Patrick., “The Charter of Wrongs: Canada's Retreat from Democracy,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 19, 2024,