Of course tomorrow is also the 30th anniversary of the repatriation of the Constitution of Canada of which the Charter is just one part but never mind that now. We don’t need to talk about the big document, the one the left hates with its separation of powers, not when we can talk endlessly about The Charter.
All last week Jean Chretien was complaining and the consensus media was giving him plenty of ink and airtime as he fretted about how the Harper government isn’t going to mark this day properly.
On Sunday Justin Trudeau appeared on CTV’s question period where he said he was shocked at all of this and detailed said that Canadian society is based on the Charter.
Yep, apparently before 1982 we were…..I don’t know what to say here, I don’t, that statement leaves me near speechless.
Liberals love the Charter.
But as I said in my Friday column, Chretien, and I’ll add Trudeau as well, should be worried that the Charter is under constant attack these days from progressive politicians on their side of the aisle.
We’ve talked about this recently, how in the Alberta election right now Progressive Conservative leader Alison Redford, more of a progressive liberal than a conservative, is running around her province telling everyone that she’s worried that her opponent supports “conscience rights.” Redford says this could mean some doctors could refuse to perform abortions if it goes against their personal moral code or a pharmacist could refuse to dispense the morning after pill, which many feel causes abortion.
“I was very frightened to hear the discussion today, and I’ve been quite frightened to hear the development of that in the last month,” Redford said in early April.
What Redford isn’t saying, and too many journalists covering her fail to mention, is that conscience rights are a central part of Canada’s Charter. In fact it is the first fundamental freedom that the government is supposed to protect.
Section 2 of the Charter reads:
“2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
(a) freedom of conscience and religion.”
That’s pretty clear.
The Charter of Rights and Freedoms is supposed to protect individuals and their rights from government and its seemingly unlimited power. Yet Redford believes that the government’s role should include being able to force someone to act against their own conscience, their most deeply held beliefs.
In response to my column on Friday so-called progressive people tried to claim that conscience rights aren’t real. Some claimed that once they come into conflict with other people’s rights then they don’t count.
This is a pretty typical response.
So is this comment from Ken on the Blog – “Freedom of conscience and religion are not being threatened. Any pharmacist that does not want to dispense the morning after pill is well within his rights to find other employment.”
Except Ken, most pharmacists that would decide not to supply the morning after pill are self-employed folks running their own business not employees. Same with doctors that do not perform abortions. It seems plenty of people think that the government should be able to dictate how independent contractors conduct their business in matters of conscience.
In the hands of these people the Charter is a weapon to attack others with, a weapon to use the brute force of government to act against their own wills, their own conscience. It is used as a weapon to destroy freedom.
Jean Chretien and Justin Trudeau might be celebrating 30 years of the Charter but their fellow travellers are doing a hat dance on the values they claim to hold dear.
And that’s the Byline.