In the wake of several consecutive years of unconscionable actions of our governments, our good friend and regular guest Salim Mansur has reached a point where he is now on a mission to turn democratic theory into practice. By proposing an addition to the preamble of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Salim’s proposal would transform a Charter that was written by politicians for politicians into a Charter that would be written for, and authorized by, the people.
Events of the past several years have dramatically exposed the illusionary nature of Canada’s Constitution with regard to the protections of the rights and freedom of its citizens.
The very name of the Charter reflects former Prime Minister Trudeau’s obsession with codifying otherwise inalienable rights and freedom into a list of “grants” disguised as “rights” along with a list of “freedoms” in the plural. Even the silhouettes of representative Canadians depicted on each side of the Canadian flag contribute to the illusion that the Charter is a document “for the people.”
To turn the Charter into a document written “for the people,” Salim makes a persuasive and compelling case for adding seven words to the preamble of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms: “…derived from the will of the people.”
Dictionaries define “derive” thusly: “to draw or receive, as from a source or principle,” while “derivative” is defined as “that which is derived.” In the context of a charter “derived from the will of the people,” that derivative is freedom itself. Conversely, the derivative of a charter written by politicians for politicians is tyranny.
Whether Salim’s proposal turns out to be the addition to Canada’s Charter preamble that’s Just Right for the people will ironically still depend upon the will of the people to exercise that will.
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