Thirty Years of Freedom: Tories Don’t Care

Julian Wolfe
April 17th, 2012

Today marks the thirtieth anniversary of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. While other countries that used it as a model for their own freedoms and rights may be celebrating, along with every person who cares about their freedom, the Conservatives aren’t and have openly criticized the charter.

“In terms of this as an anniversary, I think it’s an interesting and important step, but I would point out that the charter remains inextricably linked to the patriation of the Constitution and the divisions around that matter, which as you know are still very real in some parts of the country,” said Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a statement.

While national unity may be Harper’s recent criticism of the charter, this isn’t the first time Conservatives have criticized it.

“If the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is going to be used as the crutch to carry forward all of the issues that social libertarians want, then there’s got to be for us conservatives out there a way to put checks and balances in there,” said former Conservative MP Randy White during the 2004 election.

So do the Conservatives believe in free speech? It is thanks to this charter that we are all allowed to express our views but when it comes to opposition views, the Conservatives have done everything in their power to oppress them. Those who are concerned about the environment have been muzzled and should they attack the oil sands project, the Conservatives will respond with audits, smears and law suits.

Harper’s Conservatives are the same Conservatives who wanted to ban gay rights and reopen the abortion debate. Whether you believe in, pro-life or pro-choice, do you really want a government dictating who is right?

The Conservatives have demonstrated on multiple levels that the only values that are acceptable to Canadian society are the ones they share and based on Harper’s rant on getting a majority government, it appears his tolerance for differences is minimal.

Despite the Conservative failure on the front of freedom and rights in the spiritual and applied realms, people are celebrating the fact that we have rights and freedoms in this country and despite having the most controlling government in history, at least we still have that.

The charter’s co-creator as Justice Minister under the Trudeau government and former Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien has been vocal in his celebrations in what is one of the world’s greatest achievements.

“It is a Canadian accomplishment. The government of the day was a Liberal government. The negotiations with the provinces [were] long and we had to debate that in the committees of the House of Commons and the Senate, and we had to go to London. It was a lot of work,” Chretien recalled.

Canadians have a lot to be proud of with our charter and our identity and it is a shame that while Harper has the money, resources and will to celebrate the war of 1812, he doesn’t have the money, resources or will to celebrate a charter that has not only shaped Canadian culture, but has also impacted many countries around the world who used us as a model to establish a foundation of freedom and human rights of their own.

Considering Stephen Harper’s unwillingness to celebrate the charter, disdain for gay rights, and utter demand for power, does he really care about our freedoms and rights?

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