Andrew Petter is a leading constitutional scholar who served from 1991 to 2001 as a British Columbia MLA and cabinet minister, including Attorney General. In The Politics of the Charter, Petter assembles a set of his original essays written over three decades to provide a coherent critique of the political nature, impact, and legitimacy of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Showing how Charter rights have been shaped by the institutional character of the courts and by the ideological demands of liberal legalism, the essays contend that the Charter has diverted progressive political energies and facilitated the rise of neo-conservatism in Canada. Drawing upon his constitutional expertise and political experience, Petter evaluates the Charter in practical, legal, and philosophical terms. These essays, along with a new introduction and conclusion, map out Petter's political philosophy and review the entirety of the Charter record. The Politics of the Charter is vividly written, free of legal jargon, accessible to a broad readership, and will provoke renewed discussion about how best to achieve a more compassionate and egalitarian Canadian society.
Andrew Petter is a professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Victoria.