Poverty : Rights, Social Citizenship, and Legal Activism

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Recent years have seen the retrenchment of Canadian social programs and the restructuring of the welfare state along neo-liberal lines. Social programs at both the federal and the provincial levels have been cut back, eliminated, or recast in exclusionary and punitive forms. Poverty: Rights, Social Citizenship, and Legal Activism responds to these changes by examining the ideas and practices of human rights, citizenship, legislation, and institution-building that are crucial to addressing poverty in this country.

The essays in this volume investigate current trends in social, political, and legal anti-poverty activism. They challenge prevailing assumptions about the role of governments and the methods of accountability in the field of social and economic justice. Through their analysis of rights advocacy and the interconnectedness of law and politics, the contributors also demonstrate that the fight for social and economic justice is vibrant and of critical importance.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 400 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 25.4mm | 500g
  • Vancouver, Canada
  • English
  • 0774812885
  • 9780774812887
  • 2,452,033

Table of contents



Part 1: Poverty and Rights: Reading Gosselin

1 Reality checks: Presuming Innocence and Proving Guilt in Charter Welfare Cases / Martha Jackman

2 But It's for Your Own Good / Diane Pothier

3 Social Rights and Judicial Competence / David Schneiderman

Part 2: Social Citizenship and the State

4 Claiming Adjudicative space: Social Rights and Citizenship / Bruce Porter

5 Aboriginal Women Unmasked: Using Charter Equality Litigation to Advance Women's Rights / Sharon McIvor

6 Welfare Reformed: The Re-making of the Model Citizen / Janet Mosher

7 The "Made in Quebec" Act to Combat Poverty and Social Exclusion / Lucie Lamarche

8 Trade Regime Federalism: An Assessment of the Social Union Framework Agreement / Barbara Cameron

Part 3: Social Citizenship and International Contexts

9 Collective Economic Rights and International Trade Agreements: In the Vacuum of post-National Capital Control / Marjorie Griffin Cohen

10 Enforcing Social and Economic Rights at the Domestic Level: A Proposal / Grainne McKeever and Fionnuala Ni Aolain

11 Minding the Gap: Treaty Commitments and Government Practice / Shelagh Day

12 Litigating Socio-Economic Rights in South Africa: How Far Will the Courts Go? / Karrisha Pillay

Part 4: Beyond Gosselin: Legal Theory Emboldened

13 Taking Competence Seriously / David Wiseman

14 Dignity, Equality, and Second Generation Rights / Denise Reaume

15 The Charter as an Impediment to Welfare Roll Backs: A Meditation on "Justice as Fairness" as a "Bedrock Value" of the Canadian Democratic Project / Ken Norman

Part 5: Legal Activism Revived

16 Why Rights Now? Law and Desperation / Margot Young

17 The Challenge of Litigating the Rights of Poor People: The Right to Legal Aid as a Test Case / Melina Buckley

18 Charter Rights and Government Choices / Gwen Brodsky
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Review quote

This collection transitions effortlessly between legal analysis, political commentary, and human rights advocacy. Featuring twenty different authors representing a range of interests and expertise, this collection provides a wide breadth of review on this topic ... This collaboration presents an important discussion on the range of barriers to equality which are found in Canadian society, particularly the Canadian judicial system. -- Alison Forbes * Saskatchewan Law Review, Vol.71, 2008 * In this volume, editors Margot Young, Susan B. Boyd, Gwen Brodsky, and Shelagh Day bring together a collection of essays intended to stimulate continued social, political, and legal anti-poverty activism or social justice. [...] In total, this volume is an indispensable resource for scholars endeavoring to widen their understanding of social citizenship, poverty, and rights in ways that intertwine social policy and law. As well, some or all of the chapters will make valuable additions to graduate course syllabi n poverty, social movements, social policy, and he welfare state. -- Amber Gazso, York University * Canadian Journal of Sociology, Vol.33, No. 3, 2008 * Dry legal scholarship is rarely as infused with compassion as it is in this book. The 18 individually authored chapters are written by legal scholars and practitioners, social activists and professionals who are waging an ongoing struggle against Canadian poverty. ...the chapters are thoughtful, insightful, and often compelling as well as Canadian-centric. -- A. F. Johnson, Bishop's University * Choice, Vol. 45, No. 05 *
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About Margot Young

Margot Young is an associate professor and Susan Boyd holds the Chair in Feminist Legal Studies in the Faculty of Law at the University of British Columbia. Gwen Brodsky and Shelagh Day are directors of the Poverty and Human Rights Centre in Vancouver.
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