Happy birthday, Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms! …and thanks for nothing, Stephen Harper
The Liberal Party invited readers to share this post from their website.
I’m old enough now to have gone through many changes of Prime Minister, from Mike Pearson(the first one I can remember) to John Diefenbaker, to Pierre Elliott Trudeau–I first voted in his first election–to Brian Mulroney and Jean Chretien and so on. I have been inspired, enraged, alienated, hopeful and full of despair that the country would survive. But I never felt the leaders didn’t embrace our rights and freedoms until now.
The mistrust began with Harper’s first public statements and has gone on. The proroguing of parliament, the police on the streets during the G20/G8, and the treatment of citizens as though they were cattle, made me call enough. Many people think this election was for nothing. It wasn’t for nothing. The government has been held in Contempt of Parliament. That is constitutionally a very big deal, meaning the government tried some American-style politics, withholding information until the eleventh hour, within our parliamentary system, and got caught. The loyal opposition has the right to information, whether Harper like it or not.
Look at the quote from 2011. Harper fails to understand that the Supreme Court is the check on the government and if he doesn’t like a ruling he has to go back to Parliament and change the law. If he can’t, that means the majority doesn’t agree with him. Too bad.
So I don’t trust him, certainly not with a majority.
Today marks the 29th anniversary of the adoption of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The Charter is universally treasured by all Canadians, guaranteeing their fundamental civil rights from infringement by any level of government.
There is one person who won’t be celebrating the Charter’s birthday, and that’s Stephen Harper.
Today, Stephen Harper committed to reinstate Bill C-49, legislation that targets refugees instead of human smugglers, and according to the Canadian Bar Association breaches the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Stephen Harper has never embraced the Charter:
“I agree that serious flaws exist in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and that there is no meaningful review or accountability mechanisms for Supreme Court justices.” (Stephen Harper,Globe and Mail, June 13, 2000)
“I consider the notwithstanding clause a valid part of the Constitution . . . It’s there to ensure that the courts themselves operate within the Charter and don’t become a law unto themselves.” (Stephen Harper, Canadian Press, May 15, 2004)
“‘We’re concerned and we think Parliament, not the court, should be making these decisions.’ Harper also agreed with Premier Ralph Klein’s stance that the Alberta government invoke the notwithstanding clause with respect to the decision.” (Stephen Harper on the Ontario Court of Appeal Decision that legalized same-sex marriage, Calgary Herald, June 13, 2003)
“‘Right from the beginning, the Charter has been controversial. There were a large number of politicians, a large number of provincial premiers who did not support that approach to civil liberties in this country.” (Stephen Harper, Kitchener-Waterloo Record, September 29, 1994)