Note: Petition to consider and sign below
The battle for the voice of Canada
Recall that last week’s update noted that the “threats to fundamental, Canadian Charter rights are coming fast and from multiple directions”. No sooner was this worrisome trend noted than we witnessed three related attacks in quick succession. The first was launched against Premier Legault of Quebec while the second and third were aimed at the Deputy Mayor of Gatineau, Quebec and an everyday City of Ottawa citizen respectively. Their crimes? The first two personalities had the temerity to question the concept of “Islamophobia” and the institution of a special day to commemorate it. The third had the chutzpah to volunteer for a position on Ottawa’s transportation commission – even after he had expressed reactionary opinions on abortion and “climate change”. The wrath of not-so-free-speech commissars came down on all three like a ton of bricks!
The sins of Premier Legault
Poor premier Legault, no sooner had he expressed the opinion that “Islamophobia does not exist in Quebec” then he was pilloried by advocates for a “day against Islamophobia”. His opponents insisted that he was encouraging bigots to replicate the “Islamophobic” Quebec City mosque attack of 2017. No matter that the motivations for the mosque attack were never uncovered or that the term “Islamophobia” was never defined. Indeed, the term remains stubbornly undefined, ambiguous and a source of much confusion.
The first reality is evidenced by the lack of any “hate” or “terror” charges laid in the mosque attack along with Alexandre Bissonnette’s own admission that he was not an Islamophobe. He self-described as a person afflicted by a deep and dark depression. The second reality was made more than clear by the Government’s own Motion M-103 deliberations. These Heritage Committee hearings featured expert testimony that debunked the claim that Canadians were Islamophobic and affirmed that the term itself was designed to curtail speech critical of Islamic ideology or sharia law. Regardless, the good Premier was bullied into submission and forced to issue an explanation that Islamophobia might well exist in Quebec but it was “not widespread”.
The sins of Deputy Mayor Nathalie Lemieux
Gatineau councillor and Deputy mayor, Nathalie Lemieux, made the mistake of coming out in support of Premier Legault and his statement that Islamophobia did not exist in Quebec. Problem is, she went further to generalize that Muslims “don’t want to integrate” and “do bad things with trucks”. Painting a whole community in this fashion with one brush can be seen as biased and lent support to her boss’ call to have her removed as his Deputy. This begs the question, though, of how such statements can be criticized, and even punished, while statements calling for a “day against Islamophobia” must be silently acquiesced to. After all, doesn’t the institutionalization of such a day infer that all non-Muslims are guilty of “Islamophobia” and in need of reflection and atonement?
The sins of Michael Olsen
Michael Olsen is an opinionated, retired public servant. In the spirit of volunteerism, he put his name forward to join the City of Ottawa’s Transit Commission only to be hit with a wall of criticism for his past stances on abortion and “climate change”. The pushback came from a roundtable of City councillors with Shawn Menard being prime among them. He didn’t like the idea of such a person serving on a city commission while holding such reactionary views? The real question was, however, how could publicly elected officials discriminate against a solid rank and file citizen for holding views that, although unpopular, were unrelated to the Commission’s mandate? Shades of Prime Minister Trudeau’s move to restrict Summer Jobs Program funding to those who failed to “attest” to their pro-choice, abortion values?
The name and shame game
It would seem that it matters not whether you are a high-flying political leader or an everyday citizen just trying to serve your community. If you don’t toe the line when it comes to certain, approved social and political narratives you will be named and shamed into submission. No free speech for you!
In the case of Premier Legault, we see that the M-103 argument that “Islamophobia” was about discrimination against Muslims was a total canard. Indeed, the term ‘Islamophobia’ is so much about curtailing any criticism of Islam that you cannot even oppose the establishment of a day dedicated to “remembrance and action on Islamophobia”. Accordingly, the good Premier was seen to have gored a sacred cow and was battered with invective rather than rational argument. In a similar fashion, Mr. Michael Olsen was named and shamed for running afoul of the post-modern pieties of abortion and climate change. Again, freedom of opinion and expression be damned.
In the case of Deputy Mayor Lemieux, her sweeping generalizations regards the desire of Muslims to assimilate or do “bad things” with trucks understandably resulted in her demotion. Contrast this with the lack of any consequence for those who tag all Canadians with the Islamophobia label and we have a glaring inconsistency. This inconsistency sees some types of bias worthy of punishment while others are normalized and folded into public policy initiatives such as the “day against Islamophobia”. Is this the real systemic bias that Canada should be dealing with? The bias for certain shibboleths and the bias against any critical review of them?
So many shibboleths, what to do?
The false but protected narratives that we need to keep from offending are piling up all around us. From “Canadians are Islamophobic” to “sex does not define gender”, we must tip-toe carefully to avoid any repercussions our speech might kick up. Any right to free expression is quickly circling the drain as our politicos, media and courts line up to shield these narratives from your corrosive grumblings.
Our politicos are proven cowards when it comes to legislating for individual rights when the druthers of squeaky, special interest groups are in the mix. How else to explain a lack of any legislation or pushback on Court decisions that have consistently eroded the fundamental freedoms of Canadians over the decades? Perhaps it is time to seek a new type of elected representative. One that places individual rights above the sensibilities of “identifiable groups”.
More and more, our Courts are characterized by a lack of any respect for the initial intent of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. An intent that embraced the primacy of “natural law” and understood the term “fundamental” to be a differentiator when it came to weighing the import of certain rights against others. Perhaps it is time to select judges who understand this intent and move to a selection system that better assures such a possibility.
The “mainstream media” in Canada has largely been absent in providing in-depth analysis on the stories of the day. Indeed, they have demonstrated a proclivity to accept tendered narratives at face value. Truth-seekers they are not as they have neither the energy nor the capacity to dig deeper. Perhaps it is time to stop rewarding such lazy, slanted reportage with public funds. Let them sink or swim on their own as do other, alternative media outlets.
Ongoing operations and trends
C3RF will continue to connect the dots in this election year even as it pushes back on attempts to further diminish the Charter Rights of everyday Canadians. As proven throughout the history of Canada, these rights are not free and need to be fought for if they are to be maintained. In order to aid this fight, C3RF will continue to educate, advocate and act on behalf of individual freedoms.
Speaking of fighting back, the “reject the Islamic Party of Ontario” petition from last week is going great guns with thousands of signatures. If you haven’t signed, please consider doing so now.
We need your continued support
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. The funds you so generously donate go directly into campaigning, events, bookkeeping, technology costs and legal advice. When these basic services are met, we use excess funding to assist other groups in advancing the cause of Canadian individual rights within a strong and free Canada. We also contribute to related legal proceedings, such as the Ottawa Public Library fight, and charitable activities when able. Please consider a one-time donation or a monthly contribution. Monthly donations, no matter how small, even $5/month, help us plan our finances in advance and provide us with greater flexibility.
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. You can also join our Twitter feed here. In the meantime, have a Happy New Year!
Major Russ Cooper (Ret'd)