The article goes on to explain the recent weakening of the charter in Canadian politics:
Oh dear. Given all the charter has achieved for women this seems troubling to me. I don't think that judges hold too much political clout in view of the charter; in fact, I see the Charter as the necessary antidote to the 'supreme clout' of the 'prima inter pares' (ha! equals indeed, tell that one to Steven Harper) prime minister. So what to do about all this?
Whether the Charter will look as robust in another 25 years is open to debate. Gusts of discontent from the ideological right have increasingly driven senior courts to take cover. In addition, the costs of litigation have sent the price of a Charter challenge soaring out of reach for ordinary litigants and many public-interest groups.
Coupled with the slow starvation of legal-aid programs and the recent demise of the federal Court Challenges Program, which financed test cases and legal interventions, the future looks bleak for Charter challengers.
"We are stuck with this Charter that looks wonderful on paper, but it's just that -- paper -- unless people have the ability to enforce their rights," said Bruce Ryder, a law professor at York University's Osgoode Hall Law School. "Only those who drive a Cadillac get to use the Charter highway."
Amid these grim prospects, the courts are sure to face more sensitive and politically volatile issues -- including topics such as terrorism, reproductive technology, euthanasia, cloning and sophisticated electronic intrusions into privacy. The Supreme Court's landmark 2005 Chaoulli ruling, which said that patients can seek private care if their needs are not met in a timely fashion, is also bound to spawn more cases attempting to map out the boundaries of medicare.
On another front, modifications to the appointment process for Supreme Court of Canada judges have raised serious questions about who will decide these cases. If the ideological views of judicial nominees become a dominant consideration for future governments, the Supreme Court could end up resembling its U.S. counterpart, where liberal and conservative factions are entrenched and predictable."
The Charter is an essential tool for those marginalized in a majoritarian society. Its increasing 'distance' from those it was created to serve is alarming--to say the least.