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I would wager that far more Canadian lawyers have heard of Brown v. Board of Education than American lawyers have heard of Regina v. Drybones. Yet, the latter case occupies as important a place in the development of civil rights protections in Canada as Brown does in ours, albeit for a variety of different reasons. Moreover, probably few American lawyers know that Canada adopted a new Constitution in April 1982 that contains the following provisions, among others: a guarantee to every individual of equal protection of the law without discrimination, particularly based on race, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability; explicit authorization for the creation of programs designed to ameliorate the conditions of disadvantaged individuals . and groups, again with specific reference to those disadvantaged because of race, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability (affirmative action, in other words); a guarantee "equally to male and female persons" of the rights set out elsewhere in the Constitution (an Equal Rights Amendment); and an explicit grant to persons whose rights have been "infringed or denied" to seek court redress.
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