Not a Conventional Christmas Greeting by Elizabeth Marshall

As Canadians are still reeling in unprecedented times this will not be a “conventional” Christmas Greeting.

During the past year, the members of the Canadian Justice Review Board (CJRB), and Canadians, have seen many changes coming from the Federal, Provincial and Municipal governments.  Some of these changes have been good, whereas some changes have divided this Country to its very core.

As Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) stated, in 1933, albeit he was an American, we should pay heed to his words, or our society, and perhaps even humanity, may be in jeopardy.  It is hoped his words will inspire all Canadians to reflect on their actions and their words.  It is also hoped that his words will inspire, not only our elected officials, but the various Courts and Tribunals, to uphold the fundamental freedoms established in the principle of our Constitution, without bias, discrimination, segregation or fear.

FDR – “This is pre-eminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory.”

Throughout the past 21 months we have seen the affects of a virus on Canadians.  We have seen Canadians rise to this and other challenges but we have also seen families divided, businesses closed and certain aspects of our Canadian culture torn apart, all based in fear – not truth, not law – but fear.  This seems to have been exacerbated by statements from certain tribunals and even the Courts, themselves.

Could it be out of fear, our Courts and Tribunals may have cast the administration of justice and the foundation of the Canadian Constitution into disrepute?  It is up to Canadians as to how our government(s) are to deal with this degradation of our Nation.

Not since the Yellow Fever outbreak, in the U.S., has there been such a divide in Western society.  It’s as if society seems to be regressing into the era of the Salem Witch Hunts, with what has been reported in some media print. This is not the Canada we, at one time, celebrated; nor is it the Canada we should become.

Out of this fear, though, have been some successes.  We have seen some small businesses continue, although they are barely hanging on; we have seen members of the medical community stand with their fellow Canadians against unconstitutional mandates; we have seen members of the legal profession take action for the protection of every Canadian’s constitutional rights.  These are all things we can celebrate, as these people have not allowed fear to become that “nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

We, at the CJRB, have continued with our efforts to inspire government(s) not to abuse Canadians through legislation, regulation and by-laws.  We take exception with any of the aforementioned being brought forward and/or passed during a pandemic, without the people of this Nation being allowed to have their voices heard.  Time and time again there are pieces of legislation, regulation and by-laws brought forward, which some are not even aware are being brought forward.  Nor do some Canadians even have the ability to witness their officials during the process.  This has been expressed, on a number of occasions, to various levels of government.  But until those who have access to, or technological ability with, the internet, are prepared to support those who do not – government(s) on all levels will abuse the process, and the less fortunate in Canadian Society.  That is not democracy and yet it is discriminatory.

What can we hope for with the coming year?  There is a light at the end of this dark tunnel – it is Canadians themselves.  If we can learn to treat each other with the respect we would like to be treated with; if we can look to our history to see we are merely repeating what has already come before; and if we can take the words of FDR to heart – leaving the fear where it belongs, in the darkness; we, as a Nation, can overcome these dark days and become the Canadian people we once were.

As Chairperson, I would like to personally thank all of the Directors, past and present, as well as past Chairpersons, and specifically our Administrator for their efforts and work.  They work tirelessly in an effort to inform, educate and assist in their own way, all Canadians.

On a final note, I would like to extend, on behalf of the Canadian Justice Review Board, our sincerest best wishes of the Season to your and yours.  To you all, Season’s Greetings, Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy, Prosperous 2022!

Elizabeth Marshall

Elizabeth F. Marshall,
Chairperson – Canadian Justice Review Board

I am not a lawyer and do not give legal advice.  Any information relayed is for informational purposes only.  Please contact a lawyer.  “The rule is the public interest is always paramount but NEVER when it is at the expense of a private individual.”  Ontario Legislative Assembly, Februrary 11, 1965 – Vol. 1, p. 478.