The Broken Promise that is the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
by Tim McNamara
I am a Canadian citizen, born in Canada in an era before common sense was replaced by political correctness, before lawyers made stupidity a defense and before my country became a police state.
We were confident in the knowledge that our government had limited authority to interfere in our daily lives and that the policing authorities would treat us respectfully.
The government felt that things were out of control with all this civility and common sense.
Something had to be done to curb all this horrible "freedom" before things got out of control.
Enter Pierre Trudeau and his "opus farcical".
We would all be equal and free, more or less.
The Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a magical document comprised of 34 sections which are cleverly disguised as guarantees regarding our basic human rights and pretends to limit the power of the government to interfere with citizens who act within the scope of the law.
Unfortunately all of these "rights", with one single exception, can be suspended at any time and for any reason, if the government deems it necessary.
What section, you ask, is inviolate and unsullied by the "notwithstanding clause" or the taint of special interests?
Why, only section 10, the good old "Charter and Caution" that the police are obliged to read you, in Swahili if necessary, if you are arrested.
The judiciary have made it abundantly clear to police officers that, after the police have violated most of your other, fictitious, rights, you will immediately be informed that you are not obliged to say anything unless you wish to, and that if you do give statement it will be entered into evidence at trial.
A further caution not to say anything under duress and that you have the right to retain and instruct counsel without delay unless you waive the right to counsel, etc.
This is not a direct quote but, rather a simplified version.
How ironic that one section of 34 sections of our charter, is the only one the government regards as sacrosanct and is designed to protect the police from allegations of eliciting a statement and failing to provide access to due process.
Remember, they can kick down your door without a warrant; they can arrest you off the street without cause; and they can take your property at will but they must tell you to shut up and get a lawyer because that's the only obligation insisted upon by the judiciary.