Although the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is twenty years old, little is known about how it affects those who wield power, what influence it has on legislative decisions, or to what extent the government believes it should be constrained by Charter concerns. For most laws Parliament has the final word on how social policy is balanced against protected rights. Thus the extent to which legislation is sensitive towards rights depends on how those who develop, propose, and assess policy view the Charter. How influential are governmental legal advisors? How risk averse or risk tolerant are government ministers when pursuing legislative goals that may result in Charter challenges? How capable is Parliament in requiring government to justify and explain legislative choices that may impair rights?