The Charter, the Bench and the Barcode: Is the Law in Canada Losing its Way?

Date(s) - September 28, 2023
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

UBC Sage Lecture Hall

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You are invited to attend a public lecture at Sage Lecture Hall by Bruce Pardy, Professor of Law at Queen’s University and the Executive Director of Rights Probe, titled “The Charter, the Bench, and the Barcode: Is the Law in Canada Losing its Way?”

Dates: Thursday, September 28
Time: 7–9 pm
Place: UBC Sage Lecture Hall, 6331 Crescent Road, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1
Parking: Paid parking is available in the Rose Garden Parkade


The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is the document that was supposed to protect Canadian liberty. “The Bench” refers to the roster of Supreme Court judges that have instead transformed the Charter into a managerial blueprint. “The Barcode” stands for the transhumanist, digital fate that awaits Canadians on the other side of the slow-motion legal revolution currently underway: a technocratic administrative state that regulates life, including private behaviour and speech, in the name of common good. The individual is increasingly becoming subordinate to the collective. The law is becoming arbitrary and unequal. Is the end of Western liberal civilization, as we have known it, conceivable?

Bruce Pardy, Professor of Law at Queen’s University and executive director of Rights Probe, will delineate how broad discretion in the hands of a managerial aristocracy has replaced law as the foundation of our modern Canadian system of government. Professor Pardy will address some of the following questions: have we rejected the legal principles upon which our society was built? Or is the present deterioration of law’s rule actually a consequence of those principles? How can we recover civic life based on the rule of law in Canada?

Rev. Dr. Andrew Bennett, Program Director for Faith Communities at Cardus, will offer a response to Professor Pardy.


Bruce Pardy is Professor of Law at Queen’s University and the Executive Director of Rights Probe, an initiative researching and explaining the shifting legal ground in Canada. Pardy has written on a range of pressing legal subjects, including environmental governance, climate change, energy policy, human rights and freedoms, professional and university governance, property and tort theory, free markets, and the rule of law. He has taught at law schools in Canada, the United States and New Zealand.

Andrew Bennett is Program Director for Faith Communities at Cardus, a non-partisan think tank reimagining institutional life for the common good. He is an ordained deacon in the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church in the Eparchy of Toronto and Eastern Canada, and served as Canada’s first Ambassador for Religious Freedom and led Global Affairs Canada’s Office of Religious Freedom from 2013 to 2016.


The Houston Centre for Humanity and the Common Good is a five-year initiative of Regent College, grounded in Dr. James M. Houston’s comprehensive vision of integrative scholarship. Its main task is to foster interdisciplinary and interreligious dialogue on the central question of the late-modern world: what does it mean to be human?

Inviting a range of philosophical perspectives through collaboration with the University of British Columbia and other institutions, the Centre explores a holistic understanding of humanity that accounts for the unique social, political, and theological issues of our time. Comprising a community of leading scholars, the Centre generates dialogue across disciplines—theology, philosophy, biology, cognitive science, political studies, and more—in order to navigate the mystery of the human person.

Through public lectures, seminars, and a variety of publications, the Houston Centre helps others engage theological questions of humanity for the common good.

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