Letter To The Editor
I note that you carry Professor Bruce Pardy’s viewpoints on our present national dilemma of rights and freedoms.
There are others , including mine.
A couple of weeks ago you carried (in a cousin publication, The Financial Post) Prof Pardy’s view that he lamented that the courts and the system had failed the people, in that early decisions had ruled in favour of the Government imposed unconstitutional covid measures. I wrote on my blog (could not find your letters to the editor e-mail address on the weekend), in response to Prof Pardy capitulation, that we were still in the second period, and the legal fight is far from over. I suggested that instead of lamenting our lot, he and others should be solidly behind those groups (for example, Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms and Rocco Galati) urging them on in their efforts to make the Charter of Rights and Freedoms be fully heard, and complete scientific information be placed on the courts’ tables.
Now, Prof Pardy has a bit of a change of heart in another viewpoint you carry in your paper. He has formed a group and issued a declaration highlighting, as many of us have been saying for months, that the country is in trouble. Our rights and freedoms have been violated.
While I applaud this new action , the Problem is Prof Pardy’s declaration gives two sentences to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This is, notwithstanding Prof Pardy’s far more extensive legal background than this author, the single most important document as it relates to citizens’ rights and freedoms that the country has, gets scant mention.
Before 1982, citizens to defend their rights and freedoms relied on common law, precedents, convention or custom, and after 1960 the additional Bill of Rights. However, The Bill of Rights was a Federal Act that could be changed at the whim of any Government, and only applied to federal matters.
In 1981/82 all this changed. Individual rights and freedoms became an integral part of The Constitution Act 1982. Beyond the reach of quick, politically convenient change!
This Charter in Section 52 declares:
52 (1) The Constitution of Canada is the supreme law of Canada, and any law that is inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution is, to the extent of the inconsistency, of no force or effect.
This should be proclaimed from the rooftops and even from ivory towers like law schools and think tanks in this country—and need I say, Proclaimed by our fourth estate, the Press.
There is no mention of this in Professor Pardy’s declaration!!
As I travel the country and write (my blog had over 1 million readers in October) about this, I am struck by Canadians lack of knowledge of their most basic freedoms and rights —and they are starving for this information and celebrate when I explain it.
Rather than gloss over in two sentences the Charter, Professor Pardy and his group should be detailing the sections of the Charter, describing and interpreting them, and assisting citizens in understanding our Constitution.
A. People have lost their jobs, unable to travel, but the Charter says in Section 6 —‘the right to pursue a livelihood anywhere in this country ‘ and ‘the right to travel anywhere in this country and leave this country.’
Our very right to earn a living has already been compromised by Government orders—without as much as a cost benefit analysis, a long standing basic tool in any new public policy action.
B. Section 2 talks of freedoms of assembly, and association, of religion, conscience, and the press. Yet, Churches closed down, restriction on movement within one’s own community!
C. Section 7 talks about the citizen’s right to ‘life, liberty and security of the person.’ How is this consistent with coercion by Government to force people to take an experimental injection that causes more harm than all other injections of this type combined over the last 30 years?
D. Section 15 talks of equality—
‘15 (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.’
We are not now all equal before and under the law. Some have more rights and freedoms than others everywhere in this country.
Many Governments and others believe Section 1 of the Charter relieves them of their responsibility to follow the other freedom and rights provisions of the Charter:
‘1 The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.’
But no Government in this country has produced one study, report, nor involved Parliaments in ‘demonstrably justifying ‘ what they are doing—in law within reasonable limits in a free and democratic society.
We have a solemn responsibility to detail the Charter, not just the theoretical notions of rights and freedoms. Rather, how it applies in real life—on the ground, NOW!
From Bonavista to Tofino to Iqaluit.
Additionally, one wonders why Professor Pardy and group have not supported my proposal dealing with the reference issue. The Federal and Provincial Governments have the power to reference to their highest court any actions that they have taken to see whether those actions are Constitutional. I have written all the Premiers requesting that they invoke this power. Not one Provincial Government has agreed to do this. This would expedite the court process significantly, the one thing that frustrates most when they look at how long traditional methods will take to get a Constitutional ruling. At the website www.Lawyersstandup.ca this is explained and thousands are supporting this idea. Why are the Premiers so reluctant to act on this?
Dear Editor, I hope this will find space, unedited, in your paper.
Honourable A. Brian Peckford P. C.
Last Living First Minister That Helped Craft The Constitution Act 1982.