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Opinion

Oppression and privilege: two Canadian stories in the rule of law

By ISG Senator Mary Jane McCallum      

The rule of law applies equally to everyone; no one is above the law. Yet the rule of law has never been well-defined or equally applied for Indigenous peoples.

Demonstrators in Ottawa, pictured Feb. 24, 2020, supporting the Wetʼsuwetʼen nation against the building of the Costal Gasoline pipeline through their traditional territory. As a First Nations citizen and a woman of Canada, the rule of law has been applied with the principle of oppression and not the principle of equality when compared to other women and citizens of Canada, writes Senator Mary Jane McCallum. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

OTTAWA—The rule of law is defined as “the restriction of the arbitrary exercise of power by subordinating it to well-defined and established law.” The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states that the rule of law is one of the principles upon which Canada was founded. Fundamentally, it means that the law applies equally to everyone; no one is above the law. Yet the rule of law has never been well-defined or equally applied for Indigenous peoples.

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