How much respect can one have for a national government that treats Canadians differently in one part of the country, than from another?
In Quebec, all Canadian citizens are treated “equally” according to their linguistic ethnicity. For example: if you are not part of the French speaking majority, you are still absolutely free to voice your opinion and display your thoughts and products in any manner you wish, as long as they are done in the French language.
Of course, there are exceptions to this imbecilic policy; where English, or other languages other than French are permitted, as long as the other language(s), are at least half the size, or half as many as the French language on signs, and NEVER on a moving vehicle, or on an off-site billboard, or, or, or – ad nauseam.
It is also ILLEGAL to send certain children to English or bilingual schools in Quebec’s public school system. This linguistic double standard, and substantial abrogation of individual rights, has become part and parcel of the federally accepted Canadian mosaic.
Canada’s labor policy, as it stands, guarantees that everyone in Canada has the unlimited right to seek work, and be gainfully employed anywhere in the country: with the EXCEPTION of Quebec, where one has to be a member of the “OCQ” – the Office of Construction of Quebec. Therefore; if you are not a member of this government approved Québécois union, you don’t work in the construction trades.
Even though the Supreme Court of Canada has publicly acknowledged, that this Québécois obligation to join a union violates two aspects of Canada’s Charter of Rights; in it’s usual “wisdom”, the Supreme Court ruled: that due to Quebec’s Unique Character, they will allow for this violation of the freedoms of mobility and association as are guaranteed by the Charter of Rights to all Canadians. Or in this case, to almost all Canadians.
But, it is not just in Quebec where unbelievable double standards fly in the face of individual rights. Several Alberta farmers are going to jail for refusing to pay a fine for selling a modicum of grain to the Americans outside of the federally controlled Wheat Board.
Ontario farmers can grow and sell wheat to whomever they want. But, NOT Prairie farmers, who are obligated by LAW to ONLY sell their product through the Wheat Board. What right does some federal bureaucracy have to dictate to whom a grower can sell his/her product; and for how much?
Well, in Canada, it appears that the right of the bureaucracy supercedes the right of the individual.
The House of Commons; in Canada’s Parliament, where laws and government policy are openly debated, are in the midst of a vicious debate of their own, concerning the appointment of Chairs of Parliamentary Committees.
As it currently stands, only the Prime Minister has the right to appoint Committee Chairs. But, a new proposal from the Canadian Alliance, has it that Committee Chairs should be ELECTED by the elected Members of Parliament, by secret ballot.
This concept of secret votes for leaders has the Prime Minister so upset, that if given his way, as is usually the case, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien will make certain that this does not happen any time soon.
Yet: The Supreme Court of Canada, in another of their “brilliant” decisions, just ruled that convicts, serving time in federal prisons for whatever crime, including mass murder or rape, now have the CONSTITUTIONALLY GUARANTEED RIGHT to vote with a secret ballot, in any federal election, just like any other Canadian.
However; our own ELECTED Parliamentarians and representatives of the people, can not benefit from voting in a secret ballot for Committee Chairs.
This is the sorry legacy of successive Canadian governments, from the time of Pierre Elliott Trudeau in the late 1960’s, which has created a society much like Animal Farm; where all the animals are equal, but some animals are a little MORE equal than others.
At one point in Canada’s not too distant future, these Constitutional double standards will become untenable, and Canada will have to come to terms with its real concept of unity; creating a national debate like none other. And at that time, it would NOT be surprising if Canada comes apart at the seams, much like the Balkan countries, but without the violence.
Where we should be nation building by creating stronger Charter bonds between the provinces and territories, we are doing just the opposite. Since the 1960’s, Canada’s Prime Ministers have had us traveling down a road of deunification.
And it is just a matter of time, when, what was once the vision of a united Canada, will no longer be.