Happy Birthday Canada by Tom Black

tom-blackHappy Birthday Canada!

On this first day of July, we stop to celebrate the birth of this great country of Canada. For most of us growing up after the Second World War, Canada was a great place to live, to be young, to play, to work and to raise a family. People streamed in from all over the world to escape the destruction in their own countries and to make a future for their families. Many came just to escape their present situation and didn’t pick Canada for any particular reason but most picked Canada for our reputation as a beautiful new country with potential for hard working entrepreneurs to make their mark in the “land of milk and honey”, but mostly they came for our promise of freedom.

Freedom! What a simple word. What does it mean? It would seem that it means different things to different people and it is relative compared to the situation that you came from. A documentary called ‘Churchill’s German Soldiers’ told the story of ten thousand German Jews who escaped Germany in the last 30’s and went to Britain. When the war started, they joined up to fight their homeland. An interview with one of these old soldiers was particularly enlightening. He spoke with such gleeful excitement of the discovery of ‘freedom of speech’. He relayed a story of people telling him that he could talk, in public, about anything or anyone in Britain. His question was “Even the government?” and the reply came back, “Yes, especially the government”. His conclusion was that Britain was the best country in the world to escape to, because of these freedoms.

For those of us who grew up in Canada under the British rule of law, we have mostly taken these hard, fought for freedoms, for granted. Our schools don’t teach us how very critical the protection of our personal rights and freedoms are. For the most part, teachers especially in the lower grades, do not know anything about the history that granted these protections in law. Even worse, they don’t seem to want to know, even to the point of not following politics enough to know who the candidates were in their own riding. The result was in the last provincial election, many teachers relied on their unions to tell them who to vote for. This is not an attack on teachers, just the statement of what our society has become. We don’t place enough importance on protecting the freedoms we were handed down and therefore we don’t demand that our universities teach our teachers and lawyers that they have a responsibility to know that the foundation of our rights and freedoms is directly tied to the protection of the individual’s rights. If our politicians and lawyers had known and understood that responsibility in 1982, they would never have permitted Trudeau to put the “notwithstanding clause” in the constitution that allows government and courts to say even though they are trampling on our personal rights and freedoms, for the good of society, it is OK to do it.

This is the absolute worst possible result for the future of our free society. Now folks, there is no grey areas when it comes to property rights. You either own it or someone else owns it. If you own it, then you have everything to say about its planning and use. If someone else owns it like the Greenbelt, the Conservation Authorities, the Niagara Escarpment Commision or the MNR, then they control it. That would make us the tenants, not the owners. If you go to the MNR’s website, you will see under “Sale and Issuance of Letters Patent” that when the land was granted to the original owners in fee simple, the crown retained no control over the given property, except for the reservations that were mentioned in the patent grant contract. So it only follows, that if the crown retained no control over said property, then the crown could not grant any other entity, control over it. So where do these other entities such as the townships, the towns, the cities, the province, the feds and all the agencies, created by these governing bodies, possibly get the idea, that they can override these promises made by the crown, to the original deed holder? There are no laws that allow any agency of the crown to remove the ‘unalienable rights’ of the citizens of this country without disgracing the crown.

So now as we celebrate this great country’s birthday, I call on lawyers and judges everywhere to contemplate, how enabling politicians to do an end run around our property rights will stand us in good stead for future birthdays. When courts overrun the rights of individuals for the good of the many, then they remove the single most important block in the foundation of this country and our walls will crumble and fall in disarray like so many other countries in the world. Happy Birthday Canada.