Tomorrow as we all know is Remembrance Day. As a nation most of us are profoundly grateful for the sacrifices that were made by our soldiers in multiple wars protecting the freedoms and rights that we enjoy today. Canada is one of the most envied nations on the entire planet. Few countries enjoy the freedoms and the general prosperity that we enjoy as a result of these freedoms. All of these benefits are directly due to the sacrifices and actions of those who went before us and setting aside a day of recognition, appreciation and respect for those people is the least we can do.
Unfortunately we also have a small portion of our population who insist on abusing our general freedoms. Some people feel that the freedoms that we enjoy also entitle them to a childish anarchy where public space can be damaged and some of the most profound actions and motions of disrespect can be taken out. In visiting the “occupy” Calgary site yesterday, I noticed that they have purposely strung a line of our Canadian flags upside down in I guess what they consider an observance of Remembrance Day. Thousands of Canadians fought and died under the flags and symbols of our nation and now a group of ragtag squatters are going out of their way to demean our very flag under the guise of freedom of expression.
Did our soldiers fight and die so that a group of entitled kids can do this to our flag? Absolutely not.
There may not be a law against hanging our flag upside down but there are city bylaws against hanging things from our poles in the park. Part of the estimated $40,000 in damage that the squatters have done to our park is due to the poles down there having to be repainted as the squatters have been taping items illegally to them.
Section one of our Charter of Rights calls for reasonable application of our rights. Our expression, speech and assembly can’t be impeded by local laws. Local laws against camping in parks and damaging light-poles do not interfere with Charter rights. Police in London Ontario evicted the squatters from their park and the charter was of no hindrance.
The squatters have proven that they will insist on becoming more offensive and will push farther and farther in their abuse of our collective rights as they even bring their protest into our city hall council chambers. Council hid in a closed door meeting until the protest was over rather than demand order be maintained by the way.
I looked at the ground in the area and it is devastated. This Olympic Plaza was never designed to be used as a campground and it is showing. The ground has been impacted into virtual concrete and the grass worn right to the dirt as people are forced to walk small pathways between tents. In spring entire sections of the park will have to be dug out and sod will have to be set. This will cost thousands and portions of the park will again be out of service while this happens. Yes, the squatters are denying that the damages are as high as the city estimates. Keep in mind, damage estimates made by irresponsible, unemployed layabouts are not prone to accuracy. People who actually pay for things in life generally have a better grasp of the cost of things.
These squatters will continue to push. They have repeatedly demonstrated that they have utterly no respect for the collective property of others nor respect for the limits on our freedoms. The city in their appeasement of the squatters provided portable bathrooms. Unfortunately whether it was too far to walk or perhaps it is another purposeful demonstration of disrespect, squatters have chosen simply to defecate next to their own tents repeatedly as pictured below.
In this game of chicken, what will the squatters do next as they dare our cowardly Mayor and City Council to apply our laws? Will the squatters combine their protests and actually defecate on our flag in their misguided, offensive and illegal demonstration for attention? Little will surprise me as these kids in the park become emboldened further every time they see our Mayor and Council quivering in fear and hiding from the issue.
Tomorrow we will all observe the sacrifices made in the protection of our freedoms. Keep in mind that our freedoms are forever threatened as we see people mock them and take advantage of them. We need to maintain the order and collective freedoms that our forefathers fought for. They did not fight and die for an anarchistic free for all as we see in our city park.
If you have not already, call 311 and demand that these disgusting and offensive squatters be cleaned from our park before even more damage has been done. There is no Charter right to squat in parks.