In February, 1984, I wrote an essay comparing the two year old Charter of Rights and Freedoms ("Charter") with the American Bill of Rights for my high school law class. At the time, I was wondering why did I decide to choose that topic instead of another one. I was not confident about writing an essay about something I had little inkling about. There was no internet back then and there were not many articles that I could use as research material. How could I possibly make a comparison of a less than two old Charter with an almost 200 year old U.S. Bill of Rights? I could not possibly make things up!
After all these years, I have learned and seen what the Charter means to Canadians. When I watched the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms ("the Charter") via webcast tonight, I heard former Prime Minister Jean Chretien, who was the Justice Minister back in April 17, 1982 when the Charter was born, speak about how much the Charter means to Canadians and to people around the world. Other countries have used the Canadian Charter as a model, said Mr. Chretien. If I could have foreseen the journey it would take, I would have not have grumbled so much while I was writing my essay back in 1984. I was tearing my hair out, trying to meet my essay writing deadline. So, as I watched the 30th anniversary celebrations tonight, I smiled and felt extremely grateful that we have something that Canadians should not take for granted.
By the way, I found that handwritten essay I wrote, in my basement tonight, which I had filed with several other essays I have written in school. Back then, I thought I could learn something from them in the future. It felt really weird tonight. It was like looking inside a time capsule! My law teacher gave me an A-. Trust me, I had no idea how that paper would turn out after all the grumbling and pulling of hair! I am glad, now, that I had the opportunity to do that analysis back then.