Having said that, occasionally a judge can interpret it in the interests of the common good, as unexpectedly happened in this case:
A Beirut-born man who argued he should not be deported because his involvement in a Palestinian terrorist group was a form of "freedom of expression" has lost his bid to remain in Canada.
The Federal Court ruled against Issam Al Yamani, a volunteer at a Palestinian non-profit organization in Mississauga and the alleged former Canadian head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
Mr. Al Yamani, 50, had argued that his activities for the PFLP terror group were protected by sections of the Charter of Rights that guarantee freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression.
But the judge ruled that Mr. Al Yamani's complaint was "without merit" since "his right to belong to a terrorist organization does not fall within the rights protected by Section 15" of the Charter.
The Canada Border Services Agency said the decision "brings us one step closer" to deporting Mr. Al Yamani. "Individuals that commit crimes against humanity, war crimes, acts of terrorism or pose a threat to Canadian society are not welcome here," spokeswoman Anna Pape said yesterday.
Canada outlawed the PFLP in 2003, describing it as a Marxist terrorist organization that since 1968 had committed hijackings, car bombings and suicide bombings. The PFLP's bombing of an Israeli pizzeria in February, 2002, killed three civilians.
Mr. Al Yamani volunteers at Palestine House, which describes itself as "an educational, social and cultural centre to the Palestinian community" in Canada.
In so ruling, the judge violated a cardinal tenet of Charter jurisprudence: Section 15 must always be interpreted in favour of elements destructive to Canadian society, whether through tortured logic on the enumerated grounds, or reading in some vaguely analogous ground.
If Al Yamani can appeal from this decision, the appellate court will almost certainly slap down the Federal Court for its impertinence towards the Charter, though it may uphold his deportation on other grounds.
But the lower courts will be reminded of what Section 15 is really there for.
As will we all.
Source: National Post