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.