A Comparative study of human rights in Alberta and Saskatchewan
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AbstractJuridico-political ideology maintains the autonomy of the law; Weber argued otherwise. He asserted that the ideology of legalism legitimates the political structure and masks the relationship between political and legal structures (Weber, 1977, pp. 80-125). This study was designed as a Canadian test of Weber's theory that there exists a relationship between political and legal structures. The study compares the Human Rights legislation, Commissions and Boards of Inquiry of Alberta and Saskatchewan. These provinces were selected because of their divergent politics; historically the politics of Alberta have been conservative, while those of Saskatchewan have been liberal-socialist. It was hypothesized that the differences between the Alberta and Saskatchewan legislation and practices would correspond to the differences between their politics. Operationalization entailed two steps: first, content analysis of each province's legislation, Commission and Board reports, then classification based upon Dolbeare's typology (1976) of political ideologies. The study findings support the hypothesis: like its politics, Alberta legislation and practices approximate the Dolbeare model of individualist-conservatism; and Saskatchewan politics, legislation and practices approximate the Dolbeare model of reform liberalism. Saskatchewan legislation, policies and practices are more aggressive and interventionist; its legislation provides greater protection to minorities; its policies demonstrate a greater willingness to intercede on behalf of minorities and its Boards display a greater propensity to make awards in favour of complainants. Conversely, Alberta legislation, policies and practices are more conciliatory and evidence a greater concern for business interests and respondents' civil liberties. The study reveals the inherent conflict between human rights and civil liberties. Alberta agencies formulate: human rights as evolutionary, complaints as misunderstandings between individuals and the Board's role as limited to the resolution of the particular complaint; Saskatchewan agencies formulate: human rights as the inalienable Rights of Man, complaints as the product of contraventions of these natural law rights and the Board's role as generalized. Relationships between the various legal structures are delineated: legislatures determine the composition of Boards: compared to independent Boards, Boards composed of Commission members have a better relationship with their Commissions and are more likely to make orders favorable to complainants. The research findings call into question Dolbeare's assertion that reform liberalism supports the ideology of legalism.
Bibliography: p. 240-243.