NOTE: Writing Challenge below!
Time for you to take another bow
The “C3RF nation” has once again proven itself to be an effective voice in preserving the individual Charter Rights of Canadians. This time it was your active participation in the C3RF “call your banker” initiative that pushed back on an incredibly intrusive Statistics Canada “data-grab”. Recall that StatsCan was about to abscond with the personal financial transactions of 500,000 Canadians - per year. Many of you contacted your bank managers with some even alluding to the possibility of taking legal action based on your Charter right to be free from “unreasonable search and seizure”. Banks received your messages loud and clear and have now pushed back with their own threat to take the government and Statscan to task with court proceedings. End result, the whole matter is now on hold. Take a bow indeed but keep your powder dry as your financial data is still in the StatsCan crosshairs.
More “clarity” requested - the Global Compact on Migration
Glad to see that last week’s “update” generated discussion around workplace watercoolers. As a result of one of these discussions, Amanda (not her name) passed on a request for “clarity” in the matter of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. She raised the issue with co-workers “citing some of the concerns regarding loss of sovereignty” but her boss, a lawyer, studied the Compact and saw no reason for concern. In his analysis he noted that none of the Compact’s initiatives seemed to compromise Canada's sovereignty or undermine the authority of Parliament to deal with "naturalization and aliens" (i.e. "immigration") as set out in section 91 of the Constitution act.
Point of clarity - does Section 91 “control” Canadian participation in the Global Compact?
It needs to be noted that Section 91 of the Canada’s Constitution act, as noted by Amanda’s boss, enumerates areas of responsibility that are assigned to the Parliament of Canada and not “exclusively to the Legislatures of the Provinces”. Although immigration may be seen to be in the federal domain it needs to be noted that the “Compact” draws heavily on health and education resources - assets that must be delivered by the Provinces. This is in accordance with Sections 92 and 93 of the Constitution Act and speaks to the need to consider provincial concerns in accordance with the constitutional understanding that treaties or conventions containing an area of provincial jurisdiction can only be implemented by the provincial legislative assemblies. This is why the C3RF petition on the requirement to debate the “Compact” is addressed directly to Canada’s most influential Premier, Premier Ford of Ontario. Fact remains, federal authorities really should involve their provincial counterparts before they sign on the dotted line this December. One question remains. Amanda’s boss implied that Canadian sovereignty over its laws and rights would not be breached by any aspect of the “non-binding” Compact. Is this true?
Point of clarity – is the “non-binding” Global Compact on Migration obligation free?
One would be wise to assume that a Canadian signature on the Compact on Migration would result in related, formal obligations. This is the case as Canadian courts frequently turn to international agreements, particularly in the human rights domain, when “interpreting the meaning and scope of particular rights and liberties in Canadian law”. It was in this fashion that Canada’s Supreme Court reviewed the constitutionality of some of Canada’s laws against hate speech and decided that international norms were sufficiently formed to justify the restriction of Canadian free speech provisions in the national Charter. International agreements might also be directed by the Parliament itself to address ordinary, non-constitutional law in the Canadian context. One such relevant initiative was the enactment of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act wherein Parliament specifically directed that it should be interpreted in a way which best “complies with international human rights instruments to which Canada is signatory”. It would be safe to say that Canada will feel compelled to honour what it signs in Morocco this December – and sooner rather than later.
Point of clarity – does the “Compact” make migration a “human right”?
As the 10/ 11 December, 2018 signing date approaches more and more nations are withdrawing from the Compact. Many of these nations, including the U.S.A, Poland, Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic, cite fears that the Compact will normalize a “human right to migration” and set the world to mass movement. These countries have a point when one considers how the Compact blurs the line between legal and illegal immigration.
After all, it affirms the pre-eminence of international law in areas that include national migration policy and protocols that distinguish between regular and “irregular” (illegal) migration status. In turn, host nations will need to “review and revise relevant laws and regulations to determine whether sanctions are appropriate to address irregular entry or stay and, if so, to ensure that they are proportionate, equitable, non-discriminatory, and fully consistent with due process and other obligations under international law”. Obviously, it is intended to treat “irregular” migrants in a fashion that is fully equitable to the treatment received by their “regular” counterparts.
Point of clarity - will the “human rights” of legal and illegal migrants impinge on the fundamental Charter Rights of Canadians
It is critical to note that the “Compact” places a high priority on host nations accommodating the rights of all migrants by eliminating “all forms of discrimination, condemn and counter expressions, acts and manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, violence, xenophobia and related intolerance against all migrants in conformity with international human rights law”. Such discrimination includes slights of “political or other opinion” and calls for the cessation of funds “to media outlets that promote intolerance against migrants”. It is here we begin to see the creation of an international “Motion M-103” capable of adversely impacting the individual rights of Canadians.
All one has to do is replace “Islamophobia” with “xenophobia” and we have a situation where Canadians will be taken to task, and their media institutions punished, for criticizing the ideas that migrants bring with them and not only for any discrimination they might endure as individuals. This is old hat in Canada and follows the predictable pattern of establishing a victim group (all migrants), creating a related phobia (xenophobia) and introducing a new, related equality right into the Charter that becomes a new “grounds for discrimination”. Once in place through legislation and just like “gender identity and expression”, human rights tribunals across the land will use this “grounds” to drag Canadians into proceedings that they have little chance of winning – game, set and match.
What to do – why not contact your Prime Minister and MP?
Time is very short but as they say, no guts, no glory. Maybe it’s time to contact both your Prime Minister and MP to let them know how you feel about Canada signing the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. Tell them you feel your fundamental and individual Charter Rights are at risk as the country moves to balance them off against the rights afforded to both legal and illegal migrants through this same Global Compact. You’ve had enough and want them to attend to your concerns or face the consequences in next October’s federal election. Your MP’s email address can be found here. Please feel free to use any of the points raised in this “update” for your emails.
PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU CONTACT YOUR PM OR YOUR MP – WHAT DID HE OR SHE SAY?
Ongoing operations and trends
C3RF is committed to raising public awareness on matters that involve your fundamental Charter Rights. As can be seen above, the threat posed by the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration is at the door. This threat will displace and diminish your rights and freedoms.
Please note that efforts aimed at preserving the fundamental rights and freedoms of Canadians are not without cost. For those of you who have recently contributed to our coffers, thank you very much. We cannot continue to operate and progress such initiatives without such aid. Having said that, we could certainly use a lot more of it from all others and hope you can contribute towards making a difference. If you are able to make a monthly donation, no matter how small, even $5/month, it will help us plan our finances and provide funding for a rainy day which is sure to come.
And while you're considering making a difference, please follow C3RF on Twitter, on Facebook and on our web site and share with friends our great content and a realistic outlook on the continuing battle for Charter Rights in Canada.
Major Russ Cooper (Ret'd)