On free assembly and bringing Taber into the current century.

There are no rights more critical than our individual ones. Infringements on individual rights have to be countered and exposed as soon as they crop up. The erosion of individual rights is almost always an incremental thing and when it happens on even a micro level as it is happening in Taber Alberta, it is a big and important issue.

Depiction of Taber Mayor, Council and Police Chief.

Depiction of Taber Mayor, Council and Police Chief.

The Mayor and police chief of the city of Taber appeared on numerous news sites whining about the ridicule and bad press that they have been getting over their ridiculous bylaws. Sorry but those imbeciles implemented a backwoods, hillbilly style local bylaw that is simply a gross violation of a number of individual rights. Did they really think that people would quietly let them get away with trying to set back individual rights in their town by centuries? I know that I and others who value civil liberties will not let this crackpot law go. The Mayor and his supporters would be well served to repeal this idiocy before it goes to the courts and is tossed out which will doubtless lead to even more ridicule of their community. Sadly, the Mayor and police chief of Taber appear to be suffering under a deficit of common sense so it will likely take the time of a court and judge to explain to these fools that their bylaw is contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In this article we see Taber Mayor Henk De Vlieger and police chief Alf Rudd pissing and moaning (oops is that a swear?) about the backlash that their primitive bylaw has generated.

While the Mayor and Chief flaccidly try to point to other jurisdictions that have bylaws against spitting and noise, they skirt over the part where their bylaw outlaws the gathering of more than 3 people if a peace officer should make the arbitrary decision that that they may disturb the peace. This is a gross violation of free assembly and simply cannot be allowed to stand.

Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms pretty explicitly protects free assembly and association.

We are a spoiled society in that we have had these critical rights protected for a long time and many of us have forgotten how hard some people had to fight to win these rights for us. We can’t let those rights erode now.

One of the first things that any dictatorship will do is limit the right of free association and assembly. This keeps any opposition from organizing and stops visible public protest. In the days before modern communications laws banning assembly were very effective in halting things such as union organization or the organization of political movements. How could you begin to halt a dictatorship if you couldn’t gather more than three people together at any given time?

This law in Taber will be shot down. The only questions now are when and how. It is up to the sad little leadership in that backward city to determine how much more mockery they are willing to endure in protecting this legal atrocity before it is inevitably tossed out. I fully intend to be putting elements of this bylaw to the test soon if the fools in Taber won’t get rid of it soon. Do they really want me down there?

Perhaps they should ask Nenshi how much joy I can bring to a city council and Mayor when I feel they are improperly applying laws.

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Stay out of my phone!

WarrantCANADIAN CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS

8. Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.

Yesterday in a split decision the Supreme Court of Canada made a ruling that sets a terrible precedent. Police officers may now search a person’s phone with no need for a warrant. This is a gross violation of our rights to privacy and leaves all citizens potentially exposed to abuses from law enforcement officers.

Phones today are essentially personal computers that are often packed with sensitive and personal information about their owners. This ruling indicates that some of our Supreme Court justices do not understand modern phones and view them as simply communication devices for talking and texting. Giving police the authority to search our phones without a warrant is akin to letting police search through our mail and file cabinets at home based simply on any suspicion that the officer wants to cook up to justify the search.

I understand that the majority of law enforcement officers are good people who would not abuse this authority. It has to be understood though that the majority is not good enough. That is why we have charter rights and protections from unlawful search and seizure.

Just today an article was written about a violent scumbag on the Edmonton Police Service named Mike Wasylyshen who despite a criminal assault conviction and numerous other offences just got a promotion to sergeant. Wasylyshen beat a man on crutches outside of an Edmonton bar and threatened to burn the victim’s house down with family in it. Wasylyshen tasered an unconscious 16 year old boy 8 times and then beat the boy with the taser itself knocking out one of the boy’s teeth. This lowlife cop also wilfully deceived a justice of the peace to wrongfully obtain a search warrant.

Why would an officer so clearly violent and corrupt still even be a part of the service? Oh, did I mention that Mike Wasylyshen’s father used to be the Chief of the Edmonton Police Service?

Now in light of that, would you want somebody like Wasylyshen rooting through your personal information on your phone? Do you feel comfortable that the sole discretion to choose such searches lands on the shoulders of men like  Wasylyshen? I am sure he is not the only bad cop out there and the Edmonton Police Service is not the only one that protects people like him.

Of course supplicants to big government love to say “What have you got to hide?” I will say this right now, none of your G-D damned business! I shouldn’t have to explain why I don’t want somebody to arbitrarily search through my personal files, communications and pictures.

I will indulge and lay out some scenarios anyway. Do I want a cop reading my personal communications with my wife? What if it is a small town and I have communications with my mistress? Will the cop remain discreet? What if my mistress is the cop’s wife? How bad will the beating be? What if he posts the picture of me restrained while wearing lederhosen and being pummeled with handfuls of lime jello tossed by a hired gang of circus midgets wearing assorted lingerie to my facebook profile?

OK, I am making light but my point is that the number of things that a person may keep on their phone that they may want to keep private is endless. There may be sensitive business dealings or there may be things that may be considered less than moral but perfectly legal. All of these could get a person blackmailed, bankrupted or simply humiliated if in the wrong hands.

There indeed are situations where the search of a person’s phone may be required in a criminal investigation. I contend that the need is not so pressing that it has to be done on the spot based on the arbitrary choice of a police officer though. A phone can be held and the need for a search can be demonstrated to a judge as a warrant is pursued. This oversight is important!

I have seen some people saying “Well, you should password protect your phone!”. For one thing, I expect police can find and be provided means to bypass passwords. For another thing, I simply should not have to. Sure, it is wise to password protect. If I choose not to though, it does not mean I deserve to have my privacy violated. A woman shouldn’t walk in dark alleys when wearing suggestive clothing but she still does not deserve to be raped if she makes such a poor choice.

Rights get eroded most effectively in increments. This story is sliding under the radar and people need to pay attention because our rights just got eroded by a large increment here!

The only party that has spoken up on this ruling that I can find so far is the Libertarian Party of Canada. Alas, they have no MPs at this time. Contact your MP folks and demand that this erosion of our rights be corrected as soon as possible.

You may be the next person Mike Wasylyshen pulls over when he is in a bad mood.

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Which Charter of Rights covers Calgary?

Well in this last few days we have seen a great deal of abuse of our Charter whether through using it as an excuse to illegally and dangerously squat in a city park to seeing our Mayor and city officials use the document as a shield to cower behind rather than do their jobs.

If illegally squatting in city parks is a Charter right, how did the cities below manage to evict their squatters?

Occupy protesters’ tents removed by police in London, Ontario.

Halifax police evict occupiers.

Occupy Victoria tent camp dismantled

Occupy Saskatoon protesters evicted from Gabriel Dumont park

Occupy Regina camp torn down by police

All of those cities are bound by the same Charter of Rights and Freedoms as Calgary are they not? Has the Supreme Court intervened on the actions of these cities? Have the cities been sued for Charter abuse?

The reason that those cities could clear out their illegal squatters is that THERE IS NO CHARTER RIGHT TO ILLEGALLY SQUAT IN PARKS!

I (and I am sure many Canadians) am sick and tired of this gross misinterpretation of our Charter being tossed out by cowardly city officials.

Speech is protected by the Charter. Expression is protected by the Charter. If it could be proven by the squatters that they can only express and speak through illegal squatting, then perhaps they would have a case. The onus of proof should be on the squatters and the law should be enforced in the meantime. The bottom line is that speech and expression can be done without squatting illegally in parks.

For Mayor Nensh, Chief Hanson and any other Calgary officials may I suggest that you read the charter and try to find the entrenched right to break laws and squat in parks. Just click on this paragraph.

Section one of the Charter is a section that city officials and squatters alike seem to like skipping over. I will paste it below:

1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

I think laws against illegal squatting in parks are pretty reasonable dont you? There is a reason for this clause and a reason that it is at the beginning. The Charter exists for protection of fundamental rights and freedoms. It was recognized during the drafting though that reasonable limits had to be imposed as this is not a document intended to give license for an anarchistic free for all for every nut who wants to break local laws while claiming to be expressing themselves.

This has gone before the courts before. A group tried to protest through camping on Parliament Hill and they claimed free expression protected their illegal squatting. This went to court twice and both times it was ruled that there is no Charter Right to squat in parks.

The only excuse left for the city of Calgary in this mess is simple cowardice. Mayor Nenshi and others are hoping that the weather will do their job for them. Due to that two people got hurt when a tent caught fire as a squatter tried to heat himself with a candle. There is potential for frostbite, more fires and hypothermia if that shantytown of cardboard and tents is allowed to remain as temperatures plummet. The responsibilty of those events can rest solidily on the laps of Calgary officials who are afraid to enact our common sense laws.

There is no Charter right to ignore fire codes either.

Mayor Nenshi, Chief Hanson and Bylaw Bill Bruce, what will your next excuse for inaction be? The Charter one is a fail.

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