I chose the title for this post because I believe that the conduct and actions of the Canadian government has never come close to upholding the fundamental rights and freedoms found in its Constitution, or in its Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Canadian government’s refusal to honor any of the treaties and agreements that it made with First Nations, makes a mockery of the Canadian Constitution and her Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Without these treaties and agreements and support of first Nations, the dream of a soveriegn Canada would never have made it to into a reality.
When a majority of Canadians have no problem justifying their ancestors’ role in creating the nation of Canada, Canadians must be found wanting in terms of civil and political rights, honor, integrity, justice, and compassion.
It is no secret that:
- the nation of Canada was founded on land stolen from the aboriginal people that occupied it;
- successive Canadian governments have refused to deal with First Nations on a nation to nation basis as was agreed upon in both treaties and other agreements;
- successive Canadian governments systematically stripped the First Nation people of their heritage; religion; language and culture;
- First Nation people had their children forcibly taken away from them and sent to residential schools where they were often raped, tortured and killed, all in the name of assimilation.
It is the belief of Canadians from all walks of life that those were dark times in the history of Canada. A time of empire building and colonialism. A time when kings, queens and emperors and religious leaders desired to make the world over in their image, and so Canadians should not judge their ancestors, government, or themselves too harshly for what all nations were doing back then. I do not agree, but even if that could be agreed upon, how can any Canadian justify what is going on in Canada today?
Despite international condemnation, and our feigned shame, Canada continues to deny First Nations people every day things guaranteed other Canadians, such as:
- decent homes to live in; (indoor plumbing, heating, electricity)
- safe drinking water, that does not have to be shipped to them in bottles;
- access to quality education for their children;
Too bad the First Nations people did not have leaders who thought like Kellie Leitch, MP for Simcoe-Grey when it came to asking questions about respecting and sharing the values of the inhabitants of the country you are thinking of immigrating to.
If they had maybe Canada would be a more inclusive and tolerant place. A country free of the European sense of superiority, entitlement and racism.
The Canadian people and government have learned nothing from past mistakes We keep electing people like Kellie Leitch, whose rhetoric promotes government approval for citizens of Canada, law enforcement, the court system and those reporting the news to view terrorism as a Muslim crime.
When non-Muslims kill for political reasons and are not referred to in the news, or by politicians as suspected terrorists, or terrorist: Canada must once again be weighed on the balances and be found wanting.
Case on point is the actions of Richard Henry Blain; his arrest, and the charges laid’
Richard Henry Bain from Mont Tremblant:
- was arrested after a shooting that left a 48-year-old man dead and another man critically wounded outside a Parti Québécois election victory party;
- was wearing a blue robe and with his face partially covered by a balaclava;
- was arrested outside the venue with a rifle and another gun.
- set fire to the back door attempting to trap and kill those inside.
- said in French while being dragged toward the cruiser, “The English are waking up!”
This however was not referred to as an act of terrorism by the Canadian news agencies, law enforcement, or prosecutors. Instead:
- Marois said, “My thoughts are with the family and loved ones of the man who died and all Quebecers are mourning today after this act of violence.”
- Prime Minister Stephen Harper said, “I am angered and saddened by the incident.” “It is a tragic day where an exercise of democracy is met with an act of violence.”
- Police said, “We have met with 15 witnesses and officers finished searching the suspect’s vehicle, and found more of the liquid that could have been used to start a fire. Investigators are combing social networks for clues about intent and signs of past threats.
- Bain is charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder.
- Crown prosecutor Eliane Perreault never mentioned terrorism, nor did she ever seek terror related charges.
What do you think the charges would have been if a Muslim had done the shooting that night and had shouted:
- Praise be to Allah?
- Stop Islamophobia?
- Muslims are waking up?
I have weighed Canadians on the balances and found us to be wanting because we keep electing political leaders like Kellie Leitch, who feel that it is appropriate and in keeping with Canadian values to bring forth legislation that would force immigrants to answer questions on their applications, allowing immigration officials to target Muslims. I for one do not want some low level bureaucrat, customs officer, or any one else for that matter with all of their personal hang-ups and prejudices, being able to decide who would make a good candidate for immigration, or relocation to Canada, based questions related to questions based on the applicant’s:
- religious beliefs;
- cultural habits;
- choice of clothing;
- views on a woman`s position in society.
It is very clear to me that this legislation is an attempt to make it harder for Muslim immigrants to gain entrance to Canada. This type of legislation would force Muslims to deny their religious beliefs, cultural habits and heritage, based on what non-Muslim officials in the immigration department decide on a day-to-day basis constitutes appropriate behavior in a civilized society.
We as a nation keep saying sorry for our racist immigration laws of the past, and then go right back to business as usual, creating new ones.
Finally, I find Canadians to be wanting, because Canadians seem willing to accept in principle that the end justifies the means and are willing to allow our government to strip us of the rights guaranteed all Canadians in the Canadian Constitution and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Fundamental rights and freedoms that have been changed from rights to privileges:
- freedom of conscience;
- freedom of religion;
- freedom of thought;
- freedom of belief;
- freedom of expression;
- freedom of peaceful assembly;
- freedom of association.
Mobility rights have been changed from rights to privileges:
- the right of Canadian Permanent Residents to enter Canada;
- the right of Canadian Permanent Residents to remain in Canada;
- the right of Canadian Permanent Residents to leave Canada.
Legal rights that have been changed from rights to privileges:
- right to life, liberty, and security of the person;
- freedom from unreasonable search and seizure;
- freedom from arbitrary detention or imprisonment;
- right to legal counsel and the guarantee of habeas corpus;
- rights in criminal and penal matters such as the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty;
- right not to be subject to cruel and unusual punishment;
- rights against self-incrimination.
Canadians have no right to take the high moral ground when it comes to rights and values, because Canadians have learned nothing from:
- the suffering, humiliation and degradation that we have forced upon the First Nations People;
- from past racist immigration laws that it enacted and keeps apologizing for;
- the conduct of the Canadian government has never come close to upholding the fundamental rights and freedoms found in its Constitution, or in its Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
How can Canada not be found wanting when the words in the Canadian Constitution and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms are nothing more than political talking points used by politicians to win votes at election time and then put back on the shelf until needed again?