Ever since I can remember I've heard the comment that there is "no difference" between Canadians and Americans. I respectfully beg to differ as there is a difference on so many levels! We have unique Canadian culture consisting of Canadianisms, a Canadian perspective on world events, Canadian cuisine as well as products and foods only available in Canada. This blog is dedicated to celebrating all things Canadian from "my perspective" as a Canadian. Please enjoy your visit and be sure to visit often.

Garden Gnome
Americans should never underestimate the constant pressure on Canada which the mere presence of the United States has produced. We're different people from you and we're different people because of you. Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is effected by every twitch and grunt. It should not therefore be expected that this kind of nation, this Canada, should project itself as a mirror image of the United States.
- Pierre Trudeau

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Peaceful Protest in Canada

Yesterday I focused on how civil liberties were denied during the G20 Summit (June 25 - 27, 2010) in Toronto, Ontario.  Today I want to focus on the fundamental freedoms that essential gives every Canadian the right to peaceful protest (demonstration).  The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms under the Constitution Act of 1982 states that every Canadian:

2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
(a) freedom of conscience and religion;
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
(d) freedom of association.
Essentially the fundament freedoms means you have have a right to express your beliefs and opinions through any media of communication providing it is peaceful and you have the right to associate with others in order to do so.  Here are a few peaceful ways to demonstrate in Canada:
  • demonstrations - Demonstrations usually involve a group of like-minded individuals coming together for a common goal and voicing that goal through such events as rallies, marches, sit-ins and that type of thing.  Public routes such as highways and streets may be blocked by these events for short periods of time or they may be open but dramatically slowed as when the farmers drove tractors from Windsor to Toronto slowing down the main artery Hwy. 401.  Quite often demonstrators use tactics like holding signs and/or flags, chanting slogans or phrases, and using blow horns to deliver the message to their intended target.  They may use tactics such as sit-ins at governmental offices to get their message across.
  • signs - The fundamental freedoms says you can communicate via other means of media of communication.  That includes the use of signs.  The signs may be carried, posted on buildings with the permission of the owner, posted on your own property or in the window of your residence, on your vehicle and anywhere else you get permission to post them.  The caveat with signs is to keep them tasteful and devoid of slanderous comments or name calling.  A sign on your property that simply says Say No to HST gets your point across without calling Premier Dalton McGuinty every name in the book that while he likely deserves them clouds the issue of the HST.  Avoid any type of personal attack on any signs you post.  Posted signs must not obstruct the view of you or your neighbours exiting their driveways and those posted on vehicles must not obstruct your view for safe driving and they must be securely attached so they don't present a road hazzard by flying off.
  • petitions -  Petitions are another media of communication.  Essentially what is needed for a petition is the cause clearly stated then as many names of individuals supporting the cause along with their contact information.  Once you have gathered a substantial number of signatures the petition is delivered to the person or office you are seeking attention from.
  • letters - Letters are another media of communication.  They include letters written to the editor of local newspapers, your MPP or MP or other political person of interest, and any agency or organization that may support your cause.  Again the letter should state the facts in a professional manner without resorting to name calling or derrogatory comments.  Letters definitely should never include a threat of any kind.
  • online sources - Online sources are also media of communication.  Three of the biggest are blogging, YouTube and Twitter.  Using online sources must comply with the terms of use (TOU) or terms of service (TOS) of your ISP and whatever third party service you are using.  In general you cannot incite hate through online services.  When blogging try to stick to the facts and your feelings about them like how they affect your life.  The personal touch adds more credence to your protest.  Clearly state that it is your opinion or use phrases like I think or I feel.
  • radio/television/newspaper interviews - These are all excellent mediums for protest when done properly.  If you are organizing a demonstration notify the press as to the date and time.  Write follow-up letters thanking them for the coverage after the event.
  • personal communication - This really becomes a word of mouth thing and here you basically have as much latitude as the other person or group will put up with.  Amongst a group of close friends well you can get as passionate as you want about your cause.  Amongst a group of coworkers you might want to tone it down.  At any rate you can get your cause known quite nicely through personal communication.


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