Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A Nation of Minorities

Paul Martin visits London Ontario, and his first stop was the Islamic Centre of Southwest Ontario. The London Fog editors were unable to attend, because we were all working hard to pay for the needs of minorities while trying to house and feed ourselves. Besides, the minority that we represent is not approved by the Party - advocates of individual responsibility clog the public engine because they are SELFISH. Our daily food ration should thus be denied in the interest of favoured minorities because rationing is a reality when funding and resources are limited:

Prime Minister Paul Martin was given a high-energy welcome when he made his first campaign appearance in London last night.

Speaking to about 1,000 people at a seven-riding rally at the Islamic Centre of Southwest Ontario, Martin praised the Muslim community for its contribution to Canada.

Martin told the crowd Canada is made up of minorities and he is determined to defend their rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Martin said as prime minister he is determined to defend the charter's protection of freedom of religion and same-sex marriage.

[..] In a veiled reference to Conservative Leader Stephen Harper's position that he would allow Parliament to hold a free vote on same-sex marriage, Martin said it isn't appropriate to "cherry-pick" rights.
Martin also finds the time to talk to Chip Martin of the People's Press:
[Chip Martin] Q: The last time I was at the Islamic Centre . . . former Liberal MP Pat O'Brien was making much of his denunciation of same-sex marriage . . . Is your position on same-sex marriage a tough one with this audience?

[Comrade Martin] A:Don't forget these are Charter rights we are talking about. And we are a nation of minorities. We have to recognize you can't cherry-pick Charter rights. What you have to do is say, 'If you want your rights to be respected, then you have to understand other people's rights have to be respected.' When the courts said this is a Charter right, then it is the responsibility of the prime minister to defend the Charter. All Canadians should be concerned about Charter rights . . . in a nation of minorities, all of us should be even more concerned.

I am reminded of a post I read yesterday by Bob Tarantino of Let it Bleed. An excerpt:
I (and you) do not have my rights to free speech, free association, fundamental justice, equal treatment before the law and various others because of what some constitution says - I (and you) have those rights inherently and inalienably because of the very fact that I am a sentient human being - is it my (and your) existence that gives rise to these rights, not what Pierre Trudeau signed in 1982. It's very nice that the government has elected to formally recognize the existence of my (and your) rights, but it's not dispositive of the matter.

Let's examine what Paul Martin is saying: he is now reduced to arguing not that individuals need to be protected from government action, but that a piece of paper needs protection from Stephen Harper. That oughta motivate Liberal voters: Stephen Harper's armed with an eraser and a bottle of whiteout! To the barricades! Seriously, though, what does it even mean to say that someone "won't protect the Charter"? Imbue Stephen Harper with the full malignance that the Liberals are so desperate to, and still: what's he going to do? What could he possibly do? How do you "attack" the Charter? Is this some weird reference to the use of Section 33 (the "notwithstanding" clause)? How can you attack the Charter using... the Charter? Harper has pledged that he will not use Section 33 when dealing with same-sex marriage, but that's almost besides the point. Is Section 33 somehow not part of the Charter? Did it slip in there unnoticed? Were the fifteen times that Section 33 has been invoked been somehow unconstitutional? Even those questions, though, seems to presume to much about what Martin actually understands about the Charter and human rights.

1 Comment:

Pietr said...

The Libertarians used to have a long-running schism over the (non)issue of Natural rights versus 'rights'.
All it takes is a touch of metaphysics and the 'debate' is knocked into a cocked hat as above.
Problem is none of these Libertarians seemms to have studied Natural Philosophy, or they have been sabotaged when attempting to do so, so they are deeply suspicious of reality and think it may be a trick.
It's a bit like watching two studious administrators arguing over which foot to put forward first when what they want to do is cross the road.