Getson: What Matters to You?
PART I: Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law: 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. Fundamental freedoms, 2: Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: (a) freedom of conscience and religion; (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion, and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication; (c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and (d) freedom of association.
Listed above, in the language directly from the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, it states clearly what your constitutional rights are in our country. In following sections, it speaks of the freedom of mobility within the country, and the ability to leave and return to our country, as well as extenuating circumstances where there could be limitations.
All of them are reasonable, and for most people they are very much common sense. As most people will attest, it’s in our soul, we know what freedom is, what it feels like to be free, and when our freedoms have been compromised. Most folks have allowed freedoms to be compromised based on a collective good and know that their freedoms do not
supersede others. The language of our constitution captures that. It is a legal document, but it is easily read, and with that, knowing that every Canadian should be able to read it, hold it true, keep it safe, and near and dear to their hearts.
When I tried to search up a word to describe our current circumstances, a word that allowed for the discrimination of portions of a population based on health history, or sickness I honestly could not find something that fit the bill. Typically, a quarantine is for those that are sick, and remain in effect until better, or, is in effect for a given duration to allow for a potential illness to show effect.
When it came to programs that had limitations on freedom of association, not based on physical health, there is no comparison. When I started to try and define a word of which to call vaccine mandates, vaccination passports, limitation for access to services, anners in which people could receive service or priorities for services, it started to bring up lots of examples for case law indicating that it would be considered discrimination.
In fact, there were two basic types of discrimination that could be applied, which addressed at the individual level, and the institutional level. Structural discrimination, and Individual discrimination, both of which have demonstrated to have expressly negative effects on society, and individuals. In fact, most jurisdictions have laws expressly written to ensure that these acts are considered unlawful due to their
detrimental effects, and in fact, that they are considered most expressly in Canada and the USA as unconstitutional.
Reading the first two parts of our own constitution, which literally are the most important parts, and which all other parts are written under, being subject too as it were, makes it awful hard to swallow any “temporary measures” that had been accepted not in law, but policy, guiding principles, especially given that there is not substantial evidence for continued use, or efficacy, meeting the objectives for which it was intended.
The REP will now RIP here in Alberta, and those that continue to follow this practice, should really go back to the top of the page, and read those sections again. My personal opinion is that we need to pass real laws, that address the ability for future governments under no conditions to ever institute such a program again. The program was not brought to the floor to be voted upon by MLA’s, and it only saw the light of day because of the special powers granted by the house to the government to deal with an emergency, the pandemic.
I would also propose that that ability for governments to act under special
emergency powers be reviewed, and that if they were to continue past six months in duration, that they needed to be voted upon again by the house.
We are one step closer to normal as of Feb 9, but this strange state of heightened panic and catchphrases does not hold sway on the people of our province and country like it did nearly two years ago any longer. We have been through the worst of it, we have weathered the storm, and oh, by the way the temporary powers that were granted are coming to a close.
It took regular honest hard-working folks to say loudly the ends do not justify the means, and the everchanging rules are no longer relevant or fair. These beliefs are not only written into our constitution, but again, as free people who have been raised in a free country in our hearts, minds, and souls.
Canada, however, was a spark that brought to the attention of the world that protests can be conducted without violence, can have profound effects, can be large and loud, while respecting those around them, that have determination and resolve that won wars of the past. I have personally met the folks in the,convoy that originated in Acheson and ended up in Edmonton a few weeks ago. It was one of the most patriotic things I had seen for a very long time. I support that movement in spirit and intent.
Where I struggle, like many I have heard from directly, and indirectly in our area is that when that protest blocks the border crossing into the USA. I am very empathetic to the feelings of the folks involved, for all the same reasons noted above; however, when the laws that you are protesting, and the way they have been imposed are under protest it is difficult to support those same actions in the name of your right to protest.
The Critical Infrastructure Defense Act was brought into effect for just that reason; to mitigate the public, or specific protests, or special-interest groups of causing harm, or
taking hostage as it were, or occupying infrastructure that is so important to the common good.
I had stated that my opinion of the folks on our southern border are that they are good folks that are simply fed up, they have had enough, and that the mandate from the current Prime Minister was just the breaking point. Add onto that, the measures, programs, and restrictions at the provincial level, for this lengthened duration, and those were the conditions where the most Canadian traits came to the top. “Do not mistake our Canadian kindness for weakness”. I also forgave them for initially not understanding that they were crossing a line when closing the border.
That time has past now, those that are doing this now know full well what they are doing. I would strongly encourage them to take some of the small victories they have gained by being heard by so many, but if you continue to behave in this manner that support, I believe you will find will dissipate, based on the unsolicited feedback I’ve had, as well as the general conversations that are taking place out in the public.
I would also strongly encourage all institutions to look at their vaccination policies, requirements for proof of medical history. Are they relevant? Are they discriminatory? And are they even marginally supported by law or the constitution? Does the data and science of that time even back up such a policy? If you keep them in effect, you may want to lawyer up, because it will be a very tough argument or belief to hold, given our current realities.
Be good to yourselves and each other out there over the next few weeks. Everyone has been through a lot, we are not back to normal yet, but we are finally on the right track, at least out here in God’s Country.