What will be tomorrow’s problems, tomorrow’s needs, tomorrow’s priorities in the
field of human rights? How are individual liberty, equal opportunity, and our
common humanity to be assured in a world dominated by materialism, by
technology, a world buffeted by economic and social change, a world still marred
by hate and violence? We must find the ways to safeguard and promote human
rights, the rights that are the touchstones of our civilization.
…………………………………………………………General Jules LégerDecember 1978
The Canadian Human Rights Commission, has this quote at the top of its 1997 report. The quotation was almost 20 years old then but was nonetheless a very good starting point to discuss the progress of human rights in Canada, as much as it is today.
As I look back at the last 20 years I wonder if Jules Léger could have foreseen the scale of economic and social change that would sweep over the world?
I am not convinced that we have found ways to safeguard and promote human rights, but rather have allowed the definition of Human rights to be polluted so much that we do not know what is, and is not, a human right.
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is part of Canada’s Constitution Act of 1982. This Charter highlights rights and freedoms, as they exist in Canada.
Too often people use the claim of breach of human rights to defend their position without any idea of what are human rights. This inevitably makes me steam up as I did in regards to the last post where a bus passenger claimed that being evicted from a bus for wearing too much perfume was a human rights issue.
People looked at this no-real-news article and saw the similarity to the Rosa Parks protest, but in reality the similarity was a mistake Rosa Parks human rights complaint was based equality, the Nathalie Khun issue was based on the right to right to public transit.
Parks was requested to move to the back of the bus because she was black. Parks was fighting for the right to be treated as an equal.
Kuhn however is fighting for fair access to public transit.
In the Parks case, there was no justifiable reason for unequal treatment it was a human rights issue. In the case of Ms Kuhn, there is as was seen in my last posting evidence that moving her to the back of the bus or even off the bus, was a justifiable act.
But then blatant human rights abuses are ignored as is the case surrounding security certificates.
What is happening to human rights? Are we loosing sight of what they are because we have we kicked them around so often that the definition is becoming too broad, or are we redefining them for expedience.
To compare a couple of metaphors, are we loosing sight of the forest because of the trees, or have we paved paradise to put up a parking lot.
That said For Canadians here are your rights…….
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (a summation)
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.
Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
a) freedom of conscience and religion;
b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
d) freedom of association.
Every citizen of Canada has the right to vote in an election of members of the House of Commons or of a legislative assembly and to be qualified for membership therein.
Every citizen of Canada has the right to enter, remain in and leave Canada.
Rights to move and gain livelihood
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.
Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.
Everyone has the right not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned.
Arrest or detention
Everyone has the right not to be subjected to any cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.
Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.
Official Languages of Canada
English and French are the official languages of Canada and have equality of status and equal rights and privileges as to their use in all institutions of the Parliament and government of Canada.
Minority Language Educational Rights
Citizens of Canada whose first language learned and still understood is that of the English or French linguistic minority population of the province in which they reside, or who have received their primary school instruction in Canada in English or French and reside in a province where the language in which they received that instruction is the language of the English or French linguistic minority population of the province,
have the right to have their children receive primary and secondary school instruction in that language in that province.