We have rights and freedoms in this country of Canada. They exist on paper in promise form, recorded in The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. However, what Canadians really want is not a piece of paper but to be able to live out actual rights and freedoms in their daily lives and not have these rights violated by government.
What are these rights? If you would like to see the entire Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms go to https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/const/page-15.html. It is too long to quote the entire thing in this short article. However, what are some of these rights? Some include:
“freedom of conscience and religion;”
“freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;”
“freedom of peaceful assembly”
“freedom of association”
“Every citizen of Canada has the right to enter, remain in and leave Canada.”
“ Every citizen of Canada and every person who has the status of a permanent resident of Canada has the right
(a) to move to and take up residence in any province”
“Everyone has the right not to be subjected to any cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.”
These are some of our cherished freedoms and I for one am not willing to lose them. When the government violates a Canadian's rights and freedoms it is called “Government Over-reach.” When governments over-reach into our lives it is also called “Systemic Evil.”
This article is written during the time of the Covid 19 situation. A vaccine has been made available. The news is full of terror stories and the government has been mandating regulations, controls, shutdowns, lockdowns, etc. In the process of all the clamping down peoples chartered rights to practice their religion corporately, freedom of peaceful assembly, and freedom to remain in and leave Canada are all severely restricted or outright banned. It is time to evaluate is this government protection or is this government over-reach?
In a time like this it is imperative that our government's response be measured, reasonable, and be supported by demonstrateable evidence that justifies the action taken and that the evidence is shared widely with the public. The evidence needs to show that the actions taken have produced results and results that outweigh the damage of those same actions. Are the governments' rules actually halting the spread of Covid 19? I believe that in a truly free society, the curtailing of the rights of the citizens should not happen without feedback from the citizens, for example, in the form of referendums. I also believe that in a free society, any agreement reached between a government and its citizens on the limiting of freedoms should be with the understanding that it is a temporary limitation and clear timelines should be given and agreed upon for the ending of the limitations. Instead B.C. Health minister, Bonnie Henry's “Order Of The Provincial Health Officer” states “This Order does not have an expiration date.”Short timelines given and agreed upon for the ending of the limitations would be fair governing that respects the rights and freedoms of citizens. This would be showing respect to those citizens.
Instead of feeling respected, many Canadians feel violated. Rights and freedoms do not become less important during a time of crisis; they become more important. That is because when governments take rights away from citizens it can be so hard to get those rights back again. Canadians wonder if they will get their precious freedoms back, or if they will get them back with strings attached. It would be very frustrating to have a freedom that we once enjoyed, partially offered back to us with strings attached.
The governments' policies of shutdown/lockdown and restricting the interaction of Canadians with their families and friends, has had a profound negative impact on many. There has been a very large price that we, as a nation, have paid throughout this time and that Canadians continue to pay. Many have lost their jobs and their careers, many have lost their livelihoods and years of hard savings. Some have had to postpone their weddings. Others have had their graduation experience greatly diminished. Some have had to delay or not attend funeral services for loved ones. Some have put off surgery. The list goes on and on. Many have made huge sacrifices, not because they chose those sacrifices but because those sacrifices were required of them by their government.
Now those who have been negatively affected and who have had their chartered rights and freedoms bypassed, would like to see hard evidence that would justify the radical actions of their Canadian government. In the media there is conflicting evidence, some of it suggesting that the Covid virus is worse, but not dramatically worse, than other flu viruses. According to CBC news "Every year, between 2,000 and 8,000 Canadians die of the flu and its complications." Other flu viruses also have cost the lives of thousands of people every year and yet this degree of shutdown is unprecedented. So where is the scientific, evidence-based rational for our government's actions? Is it not fair to ask for it in light of all of the sacrifices? Especially when Canadians did not choose those sacrifices but they were imposed upon Canadians.
Should governments take drastic actions to protect populations from risks to their health? How significant a risk to the public's health is significant enough to merit drastic action? How drastic is drastic? Do health risks merit the government taking away fundamental freedoms from their citizens? These are not easy questions to answer, but our Canadian government has gone pretty far down this road of shutdowns, lockdowns, restrictions and penalizations. While these questions are not easy to answer, the government has gone down this road and has opened the can of worms. According to the Canadian Government, as of May 2021, 24, 489 Canadians have died of Covid 19. I believe that is a statistic that includes 2020 and 2021. By comparison, every year about 80,000 Canadians die of cancer. Between 90,000 and 100,000 Canadians die each year from heart disease. About 41,500 Canadians die of diabetes each year. These numbers are much, much higher than Covid deaths. Does the much larger emergency of cancer, heart disease and diabetes merit the government stepping in to our lives and mandating exercise programs and banning high-carb or high-fat foods. Such drastic action might reduce Canadian deaths, but would it be justified for the government to mandate participation, penalize non-compliance and restrict freedom of choice in such a situation? If they haven't for all of these years, and if it is not merited, then is the smaller emergency of Covid 19 reason enough for the drastic lengths that our government has taken? They have opened this can of worms and this is a fair question to ask.
Canadians also notice how much the covid 19 situation is embroiled in politics. Government leaders on opposite sides of the bench argue and fight over this issue. This makes the question of authenticity even more uncertain. The population would like to see true science and honest reasoning from our governments and then let the citizens make the decisions on how serious this situation is or isn't. Canadians would like to be the ones to decide what an appropriate response is to this situation and what sacrifices they are willing or not willing to make.
Freedom advocate John Carpay expresses concern; “More problematic still is the seeming unwillingness of politicians to take a long, hard look at all of the harms caused by lockdown measures, including deaths resulting from cancelled surgeries, cancer, suicide, alcoholism, and drug overdoses. What is the full extent of the harms resulting from millions of Canadians not having had viable access to necessary medical care for months on end? Only after conducting such comprehensive analysis of both benefits and harms can one venture to conclude that lockdown measures were, or are, a good thing.” ( https://www.jccf.ca/laws-limiting-freedoms-are-not-based-in-science-but-fear/)
There is a sacred trust that Canadians make with their leaders every election time. It is extremely important to citizens that their government does not take advantage of them, does not take from them their rights, does not take from them their freedoms and is transparent and honest with them.
Recently Ontario's premier Doug Ford made a public apologyto Ontario residents saying that his province's measures went too far. He said “I know that some of those measures, especially around enforcement, they went too far,” A tearful Ford said, “Simply, we got it wrong. We made a mistake.” (https://www.iheartradio.ca/580-cfra/news/we-got-it-wrong-doug-ford-apologizes-for-some-of-ontario-s-enhanced-public-health-measures-1.15045719)This is quite an admission and it will be interesting to see how much things loosen going forward. In the meantime, Canadians throughout the rest of this country are waiting for our own premiers and non-elected health officials to have such an epiphany.
This is about so much more than just covid 19 restrictions. Canadians want a system that protects them from their government. Canadians want a system without loopholes that government can exploit. That is why it is imperative that controls are in place to restrict and restrain government from quickly carrying out its will. There needs to be a process where government's plans are thoroughly and publicly scrutinized. There needs to be strong measures in place to shield and protect the people from their government.
For years conservative-minded Canadians have maintained that small government is much better than big government. Our present government is way too involved in our lives. It seems that everyday their presence is felt. We are frequently required to give over personal information that many of us feel is private and none of the governments' business. Sacrifices are imposed upon us without our consent. We want a small government that is not so involved in our lives.
We are concerned that the decisions made for us by our politicians in favour of mass shutdowns and restrictions have cost Canadians our economy. Unemployment, poverty and social isolation, for many Canadians, have translated into depression, anxiety and uncertainty for our nations' future. We have not yet seen clear evidence that the actions taken were justified or that they have really bettered our health. A strong economy is what pays for a good health system. If we want a strong health system that serves our population, then we need a strong economy. Shutting down the economy only damages it.
The reason for the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is to prevent government from infringing on our rights and freedoms. Infringement is only permitted in exceptional circumstances where the government can demonstrate that its actions are truly justified. In a legal sense that means that the onus is upon the government to prove the justification of its actions.
Canadians regard fundamental freedoms as precious. When these rights and freedoms are suspended it opens the door to over-policing and abuse of power. When governments over-reach and deny citizens their rights and freedoms and, further, do not spell out clear guidelines as to where these restrictions will go or what time-frames they will be within, those same citizens wonder what will be the next steps taken. Will these current shutdown/lockdown, social distancing be followed by mandatory vaccinations, mandatory testing, mandatory isolation, vaccine passports, ext. We already have mandatory self-isolation requirements. Will this be followed by mandatory isolation in government facilities? These things would be truly radical, but have not the steps up until this point also been radical? The only way of protecting citizens and giving them peace about “what's next,” is for government to communicate with the public and make firm commitments to not increase their government controls but, instead, involve the citizens in the decision process.
In a free society the fundamental freedoms of citizens are respected. Many Canadians feel that they have had their chartered rights and freedoms bypassed. This has led to a profound distrust in our civil leadership. Canadians should not be expected to blindly trust their government. We want clear science-based evidence that demonstrates justification for the kind of actions that have extensively damaged our economy, cost many Canadians their jobs, and put our nation's future in question. We want to make the decision for ourselves what sacrifices we are willing to make or not make. Our rights and freedoms are precious and we may be willing to surrender them temporarily under well defined terms and conditions that we have agreed upon ahead of time, and for clearly specified time periods. We want a small government that respects our privacy and is as uninvolved in our daily lives as much as possible. We want strong measures in place to restrain government and protect Canadians from their government. We want a system that is free of loopholes that government can't manipulate. We want a system where government's actions are measured and reasonable. We want referendums. We want a system that is free of government over-reach and free of systemic evil and that gives the people power to stand against systemic evil.
ORDER OF THE PROVINCIAL HEALTH OFFICER
(Pursuant to Sections 30, 31, 32 and 39 (3) Public Health Act, S.B.C. 2008)
GATHERINGS AND EVENTS – MARCH 31, 2021