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More Cherished Rights
In preceding pages I outlined and focused on our rights. In particular our right to arms for our defence. Simply because in Canada that right is obscure. But with out that right all other rights are just theoretical and at the whims of our elected representatives. We have other rights, equally important rights. as Benjamin Franklin put it
Those that turn their swords into ploughs tend to do a great deal of ploughing for those who did not.
The Fruits of our Labours
Why do we work? Why do we labour, trading our time for money? We labour to provide ourselves with the necessities of life. We labour to provide ourselves with what we want. To me this is basic, I go to work every day to make money. Money I trade for my needs and wants. We all have basic needs air, food, shelter, etc. but once those needs are met we then go after the wants of life. The things in life that make us happy that gives us that sense of accomplishment, "The fruits of our labours". This takes many forms and varies from individual to individual but what is common is we want things of our own. Property both real and material coupled with the right to enjoy that property.
Without laws to protect this we would be at the whims of others. Indeed there are more laws to protect wealth and property than there are to protect life. We as a civilized society are able to enjoy our property because of it. However there is a fly in the ointment so to speak when our Charter of Rights and Freedoms was drafted back in the 1980s this was not enshrined. While it is part of our Bill of Rights 1960 it was left out at the urging of the Provincial Governments. Why? Under the BNA property rights fell under jurisdiction of the Provinces and our Governments of the day were not willing to cede this right to the Federal powers. That would have meant that the Provinces would have to make all property laws conform to the Charter giving each citizen uniform rights across the country. The reason given for this omission was that the Provinces believed it would complicate and render certain Provincial Statutes unconstitutional in matter of land expropriation for roads etc. To my way of thinking it would be better to have one law for all than 10 different laws. To have Provincial Governments make laws that respect this right.
All is not lost in this matter in the original Four Provinces we have the Common Law and the English Bill of Rights 1689. This is confirmed by the Constitution which set the date of reception of English Law as 1792. Though that date varies with the addition of each Province after 1867. Even still this does not clarify the matter. Like with the right to arms we now have to blow the dust off of some very old documents.
While we have property rights per se they are not absolute in the mind of our Provincial Governments. Crown Commissions often have made efforts to limit the enjoyment of property. One such Commission is the Niagara Escarpment Commission. (NEC) The NEC has stated very narrow "acceptable use" for lands that fall within the escarpment area. Initially these restrictions were designed to slow down urban sprawl and limit development of the escarpment. How ever these restrictions have evolved and have been used to stop land use. A couple of examples come to mind the first is a potato farmer who put a chip wagon on his land and began promoting his potatoes through the sale of french fries. The NEC ordered the farmer to stop and remove the chip wagon. The farmer said no the case fell before a Provincial Court, the issue is whether a crown commission has the right to dictate what a person may do on "Their" land. The Provincial Court in this case found in favour of the farmer. Citing that a farmer has the right to sell his crop on his land if he so desires to without the permission of the Government.
A second case is that of a sportsman who had purchased land on the escarpment and cleaned up the old farm and converted it to recreational use. (the farm land was farmed out) He had built an archery centre. A complaint from a neighbour brought the commission in and because this was not considered "acceptable use" the archery centre was ordered closed. This centre represented a substantial financial investment to its owner both in land and development. While there is a side issue that is unrelated to the NEC (a business license from the township) A government agency has dictated what a person can use their land for. If this business had located anywhere but on the escarpment it would be a non issue (except obtaining a license). I accept that there is a need for the protection of biospheres and out door spaces, how ever this fellow was not running a strip mine operation. Consider that this activity was confined to the property, it is quiet, clean and lawful. That said how can an agency of the government dictate what one can or cannot do on their land? It draws into question. Who really owns the land?
In Ontario a law has been added to The Highway Traffic Act. It was added in response of "Street Racing" while I agree that street racing is a dangerous enterprise that needs to be dealt with we must take issue with the manner it has been dealt with. Driving on Provincial roads is a privilege and not a protected right. Ones drivers license is the property of the Provincial Government. However ones car is not. Part of the Act allows for the seizure of our cars at roadside, said seizure of property runs contrary to fundamental justice and our RIGHTS. The fine for said offence is between $2000 and $10 000 while some might feel that is fair others might call this excessive and argue two points of constitutional law. The first being the English Bill of Rights which is in effect in Ontario and sec 7 of the Charter. The Bill of Rights forbids excessive fines and sec 7 guarantees us security of the person which includes your family and household and a prohibition against causing undue hardship to them. Many of the charges laid under this part of the Act were in transition zones from highway to local streets. Few if any were actual street races. (Section 172(1) HTA.) The burden of proof lay with the driver to prove a negative, more often than not in traffic court the odds of winning are slim great weight is given to the word of the Constable.
Rights of Parents?
I am a parent, I have tried my best to raise my child to the best of my abilities. I think that is true of the vast majority of parents. But what do we do when we feel that is not true? There are laws protecting children as well as agencies charged with this protection. Either known as the Children's Aid Society or Child Protective Services etc. We have given them powers that we do not normally grant our Police, that is the ability to enter private property without warrant and remove children from their homes and parents. I do believe we need such agencies, and their work is important to the safety of our most precious resource children.
How ever the question must be asked, Who decides what abuse is? There is a fine line between discipline and what some may call abuse. Growing up in the sixties I was subject to corporal punishment it was considered normal, and the use of a strap was not uncommon. Of course today this would not happen without dire consequence for our parents. I am not here to debate spanking. I am writing in support of parental rights, The danger of state interference and the manner this interference is brought about.
Parents must be allowed to raise their children as they see fit and in accordance with their lites. I contend that If you do not hug your child you have no right to spank your child. But this is merely my opinion. As parents we are vulnerable to outside scrutiny, scurrilous complaints can bring the severest of scrutiny. I know of 2 instances where teen aged children have filed complaints of abuse out of spite. Pure and simple they lied. Yet no sanction was brought to bear upon the accusers. Other than temporary foster care while the accusations were investigated. It was not what they thought it would be, suffice to say they were glad to be returned to their parents though their actions did damage their relationships.
The latest instance of state interference is in Winnipeg where Children have been removed from a home because the mother is a racist. all it took was a phone call from the school and the child was removed even though in Canada there is no law forbidding racism with in the home. How is a parent's beliefs abuse? Where do we draw the line? Who decides where this line should be drawn. This is the second time children have been removed because of "parental belief". Another occasion was a Christian Sect that believed in the Biblical philosophy of "Spare the rod and spoil the child". Their children were removed and they were forced to alter their belief and promise never to strike their children. Even though there was not a law fordidding this.
One might well get the idea that your children are not your children but merely wards of the state in your care.
Child and Family Services Act ontario CHILD, YOUTH AND FAMILY ENHANCEMENT ACT (AB) CHILD AND FAMILY SERVICES Sas
The Child and Family Services Act Man Youth Protection Act Que Family Services Act NB Children and Family Services Regulations, N.S.
Child Protection Act, R.S.P.E.I. Child, Youth and Family Services Act, S.N.L.
I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind. The Right Honourable John Diefenbaker.
These words are becoming increasingly hollow in our society. One may believe and say what ever they wish so long as it is politically and socially acceptable. While I believe Racism to be a social ill I am not willing to seize a person's child because I disagree with what they believe. If we are to remove a child from an alleged "white supremacist" then we will be moved to remove children from Muslims who teach their children to hate non Muslims. As in the Omar Kadhr case which is before the courts. Meet Omar's Dad. .Omar was raised to hate westerners he joined al qaeda at his father's insistence at an early age. Went to Afghanistan and was fighting against the allied forces. This has caused a great cafuffle. This again is not important but the beliefs involved are germane to the argument in this page. Where do we draw a line?
You are Under Arrest!
It is the Right of every citizen to apprehend a person committing a crime. This is covered in the Criminal Code of Canada. Indeed we can hold somebody against their will should we see them commit a crime. How ever they must be turned over to a constable as soon as practicable. There is also a new section of the criminal code that states
Disarming a peace officer
270.1 (1) Every one commits an offence who, without the consent of a peace officer, takes or attempts to take a weapon that is in the possession of the peace officer when the peace officer is engaged in the execution of his or her duty.
Definition of “weapon”
(2) For the purpose of subsection (1), "weapon" means any thing that is designed to be used to cause injury or death to, or to temporarily incapacitate, a person.
(3) Every one who commits an offence under subsection (1) is guilty of
(a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years; or
(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than eighteen months.
2002, c. 13, s. 11.
Now imagine if you enter a shop only to find an "Officer of the Peace" robbing the shop with his sidearm. Lets say that you manage to disarm him and place him under citizens arrest. When Police arrive they arrest their fellow officer, charge him with armed robbery. Then charge you with section 270(1) of The Criminal Code. The constable will likely get one year while you will get five years should you plead not guilty. This is an example how poorly worded law can damage your rights and in fact how poorly worded laws do pass. If the phrase 'Without lawful excuse" were included then your actions are justified.
Group Rights? or Equal Rights?
I would like to discuss "group rights" or rather the fact they do not exist. Rights solely exist in the hands of individuals. Where this becomes confusing is the concept of enfranchisement or the right to vote. With enfranchisement we are automaticaly equal, we have a voice in government. Secondly when members of society band together as a single identity and claim existence beyond that of merely being a human being.
A group claiming special status within society may wish to be protected from the main stream but these protections are not rights. If we accept that we as humans have certain rights and entitlements as such we are all equal. How does inventing and extending "rights" to a particular group serve a "Greater Good"? Does that not make us unequal? I submit for consideration that by allowing a "Special Status" to a group or groups causes resentment in the mainstream of society. When a group is recognized as a minority and demand "protection" beyond existing criminal and civil law they have set themselves up for the resentment and creation of counter groups. A chicken and the egg scenario if you will.
Without naming names or the placing of labels I will outline a scenario that does exist today. One particular group who had suffered hard under western society. Over time they were able to gain access and a voice in government. They lobbied successfully to have our Hate Speech laws enacted. This law placed an undue limit upon freedom of speech which in our Charter is a fundamental right. But it could be limited because of section 1. This law lead to the prosecution of those that actively sought to see this group austricised and excluded from society. A victory for them? not quite for you see the very same law is now being used to silence them by another rival group which time and history have placed them at odds with one another. It was not only the law but also the Human Rights Code that has also been the blunt instrument of these groups to silence those that would disagree with them.
We either have freedom of speech or we don't. With that freedom also comes the right to say what ever to whom ever, even if it is impolite and hurts feelings or is down right offensive. If people are gagged by the government viz laws and codes then resentment grows and festers in the shadows. Hatred is forced under ground beyond the scrutiny of society. Malcom X once said in an interview that there will never be equality in the world until two people can sit down and speak their minds without fear of offending one or the other. There are civil remedies available to stop the spread of lies and fallacious theories there was no need to have criminal sanctions enacted, as I have previously stated that there are existing laws that can deal with most situations. After all is not arson, assault, and murder already illegal? Up until an act is committed it is all just talk. Talk by the way which if it is a threat of violence is also already illegal.
We need in our fair land a renewed assertion of our RIGHTS. If we are to remain a liberal democracy. We are on the slope towards a social democracy where the individual will be lost and with it our Freedom. If we are to maintain a just society everyone must be equal subject to the same laws with out special status. Other wise we will face the same fate of the "Beasts of England" in George Orwells "Animal Farm". Where "All animals are created equal but some animals are more equal."