EDITORIAL: Canadians should not be smug about our own democracy

Canadians may be too smug about our democracy. Canadians should become warier and less smug about the integrity of our own democracy. Where are our politicians as the threats to Canada’s democracy grow across the nation?

Ontario sat on its hands when the Freedom Convoy drove Ottawa crazy. The truckers may have had legitimate reasons for protesting vaccine mandates but the means did not justify the ends. Surely, street bylaws were violated. There must have been some municipal bylaws violated by this protest. Barbecues in city streets? children’s play pools on the roads in the city’s business district? Transportation and transmission of gasoline in public streets? But again, the authorities failed to protect citizens’ rights from day one of the protest. Where was the protection of citizenry at the outset? Not where it should have been.

Western Canada has separatist groups much like those of Quebec, becoming increasingly vociferous in their complaining about their membership in the confederation. Some factions, the United Conservative Party under Danielle Smith, are advocating Alberta disregard federal laws that the province dislikes. Blatant civil disobedience.

Quebec, along the same lines of disregard for federal legislation, in this instance, disregards for the Constitution of Canada which is founded on the principles of equality of citizens and universality of constitutional rights to every Canadian.

Bill 21 uses the constitution’s notwithstanding clause to discriminate against individuals wearing religious symbols such as clerical garb and religious symbols such as crucifixes, kippahs, and such. Individuals disregarding the bill are disbarred from holding public sector jobs such as teachers, police officers and clerks of the court system. The spirit of the Canadian Constitution is being blatantly violated. What are the responses of our political leaders?

Bill 96 also violates the Canadian Constitution by elevating French as the single official language of Quebec. Quebec politicians support Bill 96 even though they must realize it obviously violates Canada’s two official languages law. This law is draconian in scope: newcomers to the province have six months to learn French, public servants speaking English face reprimands, businesses with more than 25 employees must operate in French only, and the state can monitor business emails to ensure only French is used, medical professionals must engage with their patients in French only. This bill if passed is a linguistic dictatorship, violating individual rights as guaranteed by the Canadian Constitution. Mr. Prime Minister, what do you have to say about this? 

Read Althia Raj [Toronto Star commentator]


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