#CanadaStrong, #CCRF, #civilrights, #CNDpoli, #freedomofspeech, #policy, #terrorism, #terrorismprevention, 1984, Bill C-24, Bill c-51, Canadian Law, civil law, Constitutional Law, Human Rights Law, Law, Rule of Law
Over the past few months, the federal government has passed bills that attack Canadians’ human rights and freedoms; even those that are enshrined in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They have cited Jihadist and extremist threats to the Canadian people as justification for striking such rights. Bill C-51 and C-24 significantly decrease the safety of Canadians by exposing them to punishment without due process for exercising among others, the right to free speech and association. C-24 and C-51 allow bureaucrats, not judges, to strip a Canadians’ human, legal, and now citizenship rights.
One of the procedural similarities of these 2 bills is that they both exclude the Courts from ruling where a Court conventionally has jurisdiction to rule. While Canada has a Senate, it does not balance political power as in the U.S. model. In Canada, the only balance of power is the Courts, which dialogues with Parliament to ensure that all laws passed are constitutionally valid and fairly applied. The main function of the Courts is to ensure that no individual becomes a victim of the “Tyranny of the Majority”.
Ironically, as we do not have a proportionally representative electoral system, and as the Conservatives only received about 40% of the popular vote, we are experiencing the tyranny of a group in power and the interests aligned with them. By writing the Courts out of these laws, the federal government thwarts the Rule of Law by not conforming to conventions of law, nor upholding in Canadians’ rights as enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This lack of professionalism is appalling.
We are all human, and we all make mistakes, many times out of fear. I think that we are seeing a fearful reaction from our MPs and Executive, particularly in response to the tragic events of October 2014. While I sympathize with all those who had to endure such a harrowing experience, it does not excuse the current and blatant abuse of power. Every job comes with advantages and disadvantages. When I began to study law, I remember our professors warning us that while it is a great profession, it is a profession fraught with danger that we must accept at our own risk.
As a lawyer, I have been threatened with physical harm. It was disturbing, but I understood that for better or worse, it was part of what I signed up for when I took my oath. Politicians have higher risks that lawyers in this regard. These conditions are historic and current. It must be difficult for them and their families, but it’s what they signed up for when they took their oath. If politicians are willing to sacrifice Canadians’ rights for their own feelings of safety, they are obviously not up for the job and should consider a different line of work.