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Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Magna Carta Our Shared Legacy of Liberty



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One comment on youtube states...

"Good job. Trudeau’s Charter (disaster) Historically Canadian rights and freedoms have evolved in an ebb and flow depending on who was politically in charge at the time. They have emerged from five main sources, Native, English, French, American, and eventually Canadian. I am most concerned with the latest creation that essentially withdrew more than it gave and what and who it was given to. Trudeau deceived Canadians and advanced socialism in this country while inserting options that grossly favoured Quebec. Canadians, and particularly Canadian Premiers, were duped, once again, by Trudeau and Lévesque into thinking that Quebec was wronged when the opposite was true. North American first rights emerged from the Iroquois League comprised initially of five tribes, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca Nations. Each tribe has its own tribal laws, a situation that continues today. Next came the Europeans whose rights trace back to the Magna Carta in England of 1215, which largely guaranteed property rights and freedoms of the individual against the Lords, Nobles, Earls, etc., and the crown. In America, the Bill of Rights was the first 10 amendments to the Constitution (1787) which were adopted in 1791. They served to protect natural rights of liberty and property as well as guaranteeing certain personal freedoms. In France the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of man and of the Citizen, influenced by the American Declaration of Independence, mainly granted the freedom of expression, thought, association, liberty, security and the protection of private property. The British North America Act followed shortly by the Quebec Act and Indian Act established the rights and freedoms until the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights was proclaimed on 10 December 1948 and guaranteed the right to life, liberty, and security of the person. Discrimination was prevented on the basis of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status. Article 17 specifically states that “everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others and that no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.” There are a total of 30 articles dealing with other specific rights in the document. The Canadian Bill of Rights was assented to on 08 October, 1960 and prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, colour, religion or sex. Individuals had the right to life, liberty, security of the person and enjoyment of property. Other rights were also granted with respect to equality before the law, religion, speech, assembly and association, and freedom of the press. Finally, in Canada, the Constitution Act of 1982, contained Part 1, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Part 2, Rights of the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada, Part 3, Equalization and Regional Disparities, Part 4, Constitutional Conference, and Part 5, Procedure for Amending Constitution of Canada. Trudeau took it upon himself to repatriate the Constitution from the UK and include the Charter. There was no requirement to do so nor any demands from the people to do so. Moreover, since there was no amending formula all he had to do was ask the mother Parliament in the UK to send it along. Hence, he did not need the Premier’s permission or assent and he hardly bothered to get it. Yes, there were some negotiations but that was just for show. The key point is that the people didn’t get a chance to see what he had planned. It would appear that since the Premiers had no approving authority then they didn’t bother to study or reflect on it to most Canadian’s detriment. Either the Premiers were not smart enough to see the deception or colluded in it. In any event, we the people were ignored and it is supposedly our constitution. Just in passing, don’t you think it would have been appropriate that in instituting an amending formula they might have followed it. In any event, only Trudeau, Chrétien, Ouellet, and the Queen signed it which negates the often raised issue of Quebec not signing; there was no signing by the Premiers; nor did Trudeau need their approval. In short, Trudeau’s method was downright undemocratic and heavy handed similar to his overreaction to the FLQ. Nonetheless, since its introduction Quebec has steadfastly adhered to its provisions except for language training. Indeed, they have yet to refuse an equalization payment so by convention they are in. The Charter elevated the status of Quebec in many ways and removed certain rights that had hitherto been enjoyed by Canadians. He bullied the Premiers and failed to get the authority of the people in a referendum largely because he feared that the people would reject it. Moreover, he did not get the approval of all Premiers, notably Quebec’s, although that would not prevent him from proceeding nor Quebec from complying in the following years. Indeed, one Premier at the time, Sterling Lyon of Manitoba, said in retrospect essentially, that if he had known the consequences the Charter would have on Canada he would have not supported it. I believe that other Premiers would likely feel the same but would fear to utter it. In short, Trudeau simply ignored all resistance and with his majority government, largely supported by Quebec and Ontario ministers, carried on. This dictatorial act changed the very spirit of Canada and trampled on certain rights that were previously enjoyed by Canadians. So what changed and why? First, the charter is full of vague language which must be interpreted by someone and that has fallen to the courts. For example, in the very first paragraph, the term “such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society”! The document is riddled with such language as will be demonstrated when each item is discussed. Nevertheless, such language allows for residual legislation and laws to be developed by bureaucracies and the legal system which may never have been contemplated by the government(s) at the time they were contemplating it. For example, B & B! Para 2 states that “everyone has the following freedoms:’ and then lists them. Did they really mean everyone or did they mean every Canadian? Subsequently in a legal case brought by a non citizen, this “everyone” also seen in para 7, 8, 9, and 10 was judged to mean everyone. When the presiding judge asked that specific question of the Dept. of Justice lawyer he responded in the affirmative. Hence, anyone who sets foot on Canadian soil has the rights guaranteed by the charter. It is difficult to see that this was the intention and if it wasn’t then it should be changed. Affirmative action programs were introduced insofar as socially or economically disadvantaged individuals based on the rate of employment or more correctly unemployment compared to the overall rate of unemployment in Canada. Affirmative action programs benefit a certain group of people and by doing so is discriminatory. In short, if I assist Peter it is to the detriment of Paul. Indeed, under equality rights in para 15, we are not allowed to discriminate under certain circumstances such as race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability. Yet subsection (2) allows government(s) to do so. So discrimination is now a Canadian value depending on a government’s decision. Moreover, Trudeau left language out of the mix intentionally although it is covered under the UN Charter, so that French and Francophones could benefit under the language laws, and they have dramatically and continue to today. This meant that discrimination was ok on the basis of language and made the “Official Languages Act” an open season for discrimination within the Public Service, Military and RCMP. It continues today even though the government of the day insists that merit is the governing principle. Nonesense! The use of French and the provision of services in French has flourished under the Language provisions of the Charter whereby the bureaucracy has determined what the vague terms “significant demand” and “due to the nature of the office, it is reasonable that communications with and services from that office be available in both English and French.” Indeed the government even subsidizes groups that want services even though their numbers are miniscule. As you might expect, significant demand has been liberally interpreted to the advantage of Francophones. Under the provisions for minority language educational rights both languages are protected and instruction is provided where numbers are “sufficient to warrant” them. Hence, across Canada both languages of instruction are generally provided except in Quebec. There instruction in English is severely restricted despite the Charter. This is due to the “notwithstanding” clause in para 33 (1), which Trudeau wanted to ensure that Quebec could opt out of any legislation that they did not want to support. It is like the “get out of jail and pick up $200 card in monopoly. Therefore, once again Canadians are discriminated against on the basis of language in Quebec but nowhere else. Importantly however, the federal government transfers monies to the Provinces for education, among other things, but Quebec has not been penalized for not providing English language training as required by the Charter. That provision comes under para 40. Trudeau also introduced “multicularism” into the Charter even though Canada consists of three cultures historically, Native, French, and English. This has led the way to support the idea that Canada is more of a mosaic than a melting pot as is the case in the U.S. Trudeau was extremely anti-US and took every opportunity to slight that nation. Today this issue, multiculturalism is the subject of much debate as other cultures migrate to Canada and expect to get support for their groups from government(s). The current government has even gone so far as to describe Quebec as “a nation within a unified Canada.” And so it goes on! My personal view is that if we ever expect to unify this country we should do so by reinforcing our Canadian nature not our hyphenated Canadianism which is currently the fad. We had trouble describing Canadianism before the charter and now it is near impossible. In para 35.1 (2) Trudeau enshrined equalization into the constitution in order to ensure that Quebec and the Maritimes would always be able to extract taxes from the citizens of other provinces to those who were less fortunate or ambitious and hopefully vote liberal, and they have. You will remember that Quebec, the Maritimes, and Newfoundland and Labrador, were heavy liberal supporters in the federal parliament. Indeed, Quebec ministers controlled the federal government along with Trudeau. Quebec, for example, had always been a have-not Province and currently takes approximately half of the equalization pot this year estimated to be $14.8 billion. Yet, Quebec provides some services at much lower costs than other provinces. Additionally, some of her resources, hydro electric, are provided at reduced rates for Quebecers while not having to claim this in the equalization formula. However, the wording is so vague that it may not stand up under a court challenge or when the negotiations on it resume in 2014. Clearly, it a matter of subsidizing failure on the part of most have-not provinces by suggesting that provincial welfare will impove their economic performance! It hasn’t happened! One exception, NL has dug its way out of the welfare rut but mainly due to its oil production. Indeed, equalization, according to the Fraser Institute, a non-political think tank, embodies four negative realities: first, have-not provinces enjoy more generous public services that haves; second, it is a transfer of wealth from high-cost provinces to low-cost ones; third, it weakens the economies of have-not provinces; and, it is not likely enforceable in court. This is due to the vague language such as “committed to the principle”, and “reasonably comparable levels of public service at reasonably comparable levels of taxation.” The most important change in the Constitution was the removal of property rights even though they are included in all the other documents listed and have been a mainstay since the Magna Carta. As a socialist, Trudeau seemed to favour communism, since his trips abroad to Cuba, China, and the Soviet Union received the most fanfare and media hype. Also, his formal education was under noted socialist and communist professors at various elite schools here and abroad. Naturally, he removed property rights since in his view the individual came after the state not before. This change now allows the state or Province to appropriate land or other properties without consideration of the individual. For example, in Ontario you could have your land appropriated for a windmill or solar array without recourse. If you have minerals, oil, natural gas or any other commodity in or under your land it will be appropriated. Furthermore, you may not be compensated. Martin balanced the budget back in 1994 in part by stealing 31 billion from the surplus of PS, RCMP, and military pension plan. He also stole 51 billion from the EI surplus. The fact that the public really believes he was a financial wizard belies the reality that he was nothing but creative and used the lack of property rights to make the case. The pension surplus is still in the courts but will be lost just as the WW I case of pensioner payments was lost in the courts and for the same reason. Take the case of Vancouver that approptiated a CPR right of way in order to create a park without compensating the company. This “theft by regulation” is dealt with in a book by Mark Milke entitled “Barbarians at the Garden City. Trudeau claimed that he could not get the approval of the return of the Constitution and the Charter by NDP Premiers unless he removed property rights from the document. No doubt that those Premiers wanted this but Trudeau was disingenuous about the whole matter. He could have cared less what the NDP Premiers wanted but since it fit perfectly with his socialist principles he acquiesced. Finally, we come to the amending formula which essentially gives Ontario and Quebec a veto. This is because you must have approval of two-thirds of the provinces that have at least 50% of the population. You can do the sums but without one or both of these provinces virtually no amendment would have a chance. Moreover, even if an amendment were passed the legislative assembly of any Province could thwart it if a mere majority of its members expressed dissent. In that case the amendment would not apply to that Province. Once again, a built in escape mechanism for Quebec, or any other Province for that matter, except we all know who dissents in this country. Since Trudeau’s 1982 Constitution two attempts have been made to amend it and both in Quebec’s favour. Instead of attempting to correct the obvious flaws it was more of an ego trip. One might also suspect that it was PM Mulroney’s attempt to eclipse Trudeau by improving the status of Quebec. You can look into both the Meech Lake Accord and the Charlottetown Accord to see the changes proposed but unlike Trudeau, Mulroney could not ignore the amending formula. In the first instance an MPP in Manitoba, Elijah Harper denied unanimous approval which was required and Premier Clyde Wells refused to bring the matter to a vote letting the time lapse thereby denying approval. In the second case a referendum was held and six of ten Provinces rejected it along with one Territory; Quebec who stood to gain the most was one of the rejecting Provinces and their turnout was a whopping 83% the highest of all jurisdictions. Trudeau, more worried about his legacy was vehemently opposed to both attempts to amend his constitution and flooded the media with dissenting columns and interviews. There can be little doubt that he influenced the vote. It should be noted however, that all federal political parties, except reform, were in support of the Accord which demonstrates how out of touch MPs were and are with their constituents or how little trust the people should have in their political elite. In any event, on both these occasions the people won. In conclusion, we should hope that the next attempt, and there needs to be one to right the wrongs therein, puts approval back in the hands of the people since it is far too important a matter to leave in the hands of politicians; look what happened the last time only politicians were involved. Trudeau is gone but his charter continues to enslave us to the egregious benefit of Quebec and provincial welfare. Ron Coleman, Col (retired)"

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