Friday, February 23, 2007

Somewhere In Heaven Rt. Hon. Pierre Trudeau Smiles

It is a great day for Canada. The Supreme Court ruling striking down security certificates is huge. Bigger still is the declaration that our Charter of Rights applies not just to Canadians, but to foreign nationals as well. In essence it protects humans - which is really what human rights are all about. The Court, and the Coalition for Justice are to be lauded for the actions they took to instigate this 9-0 unanimous decision.

We hear some neoCons harping about the fact that these laws were passed by a Liberal gov't. Sure they were - in the light of the most brazen attacks ever seen on North American soil (in this century at least). Canadians were almost feeling as paranoid as their American neighbors. The Reform/Alliance unanimously supported the laws. But beyond supporting them, the Reformers are on the record as being their shrieking, angry selves and attacking the government for not going far enough. It was a Reform/Alliance opposition backed by one giant conservative media conglomerate (all the CanWest/Global group) who consistently bashed the Liberal gov't on being "soft on terrorism". They came up with fantastic stories (based on these very cases in the Supreme Court) about "Canada's weak borders and lax immigration laws", and basically accused Canada of allowing, first, terrorists to enter the country and plot attacks, then somehow being responsible for them entering the US. If a Liberal gov't passed the laws, it was certainly due to overwhelming demand - and a loud pro-US lobby - at that time ("at that particular time" is a very key point here).

Jump to 2007, where police have successfully investigated alleged terrorist groups WITHOUT the help of the Anti-Terrorism laws. Most lawmakers feel that the laws have passed their necessary life-span. This is the very reason the Liberal gov't instituted a "sunset clause". Liberals were aware of how draconian such laws can be if left unfettered. The "sunset clause" for the anti-terror laws is a critical component which ensured that citizens could have a reprieve from said laws IF it was deemed that there was less of a threat - or no real threat.

The security certificate decision will impact the greater argument concerning the anti-terrorism laws. Canada is a "safe" country. We need to continue our tradition of being globally neutral. When we ally ourselves with a particular side, it should be through the auspices of our Parliament and the United Nations (security resolutions, and mandates, etc.). Maintaining our neutrality and even-handed fairness will help us continue to grow as the greatest nation on earth.

As a party, we Liberals need to ensure the public is aware of the ongoing battle with neo-Con extremism, so we can protect Canadian democracy. It is our duty to educate the electorate on ideology, rather than strictly focus on platform (which can too easily be mimicked by other parties). It is critical that citizens know about the underlying ideologies which feed the various party apparatus. What do the membership of a party think? A party machine will often say or do things based on public opinion, however laws made by that party when in power are very often dictated by the party membership, and their ideological bent.

Today the Supreme Court helped fire a strong salvo in the coming ideological battle. We Liberals need to ensure we are prepared to carry the standard of human rights into the fray.

No comments: