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

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Right to Protest and Denial of Canadian Civil Liberties

Copy of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms 
(courtesy Dept of Secretary of State, Canada)

The G20 Summit recently held in Toronto brought to light several issues surround protesters.  During this the time period of June 25 to June 27 we saw peaceful demonstration, rioting, unpeaceful demonstration and police abuse of their authority to the point of denying as well as infringing on civil liberties.  The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms under the Constitution Act of 1982 states that every Canadian has the right under Fundamental Freedoms:
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.
Furthermore under Legal Rights, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states:
8. Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.
9. Everyone has the right not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned.
10. Everyone has the right on arrest or detention
(a) to be informed promptly of the reasons therefor;
(b) to retain and instruct counsel without delay and to be informed of that right; and
(c) to have the validity of the detention determined by way of habeas corpus and to be released if the detention is not lawful.
12. Everyone has the right not to be subjected to any cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.
Protesters how were peacefully assembled and associating with other protesters who were also peacefully assembled were denied their civil liberties to peaceful demonstration.  Many were unreasonably searched and detained under what has been now admitted by Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair as a miscommunication regarding the 5 metre perimeter surrounding the G20 security zone.  On Sunday night the police arbitrarily detained protesters and anyone else who happened to be near the area of Queen and Spadina in what to the point of detainment had been a peaceful demonstration.  In short they viewed anyone who was not part of the protest as guilty by association simply by being in the wrong spot at the wrong time.  In addition to the arbitrary detainment those detained were denied their rights upon arrest or detention (10) and if fact all of the points under this section were denied to those being detained.  Furthermore, the detainment that Sunday night at Queen and Spadina in Toronto was quite contrary to the right not to be subjected to any cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.  That night servere thunderstorm warnings were in effect for Toronto.  Many detained stood in the pouring rain for close to 4 hours without food, drink or washroom facilities.  They were not told why they were being detained.    Many lined up asking to be arrested just to get out of these horrible conditions bringing into question cohersion and duress caused by the police.  No one asks to be arrested!


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