By CHRISTIAN LEGEAIS
One is forced to note that the violation of rights and the criminalization of dissent are notably absent and are not a subject of concern in the statements, announcements and speeches from all the parties that elected MPs October 19, 2015.
While these parties speak of change with the election of a majority Liberal government, a restored national unity and a new future for Canada, not one speaks of nor undertakes to address the crimes committed by the Harper dictatorship through its “anti-terrorism” laws. These laws range from, among others, Bill C-51 in 2015 to the law on security certificates renewed in 2008. There is not one word about the abolition of these laws nor for compensation of the victims and the prosecution in court of their authors and executors.
The demand for justice, to end arbitrariness and impunity gave the marching order “Harper out!” and contributed to the defeat of the Harper dictatorship. But there can be no illusion that the election results have brought or will bring a solution to the demands of the people and to the protection of rights, which during the election campaign had been totally ignored by the Liberal Party, and in large part by the NDP and the Bloc Québécois.
We must occupy the space for change, because our future lies in defending the rights of all.
Renewal Update, October 20, 2015 • No. 197
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All parties invoked the Charter to justify human rights violations
For the Conservatives and the Liberal Party, defending rights is a policy objective, not an act of affirmation. On the question of rights, these parties take a self-serving and pragmatic approach. They define rights to be forms of privilege which can be given or taken away at their discretion, based on self-serving criteria. The rights which belong to all human beings is a topic for discussion, subject to interpretation and dependent on accounting exercises, i.e. the fraud of “if there is money” rights can be granted.
In this way, the rights of the Indigenous peoples, colonial injustice and genocide are not seen as a matter of righting historical wrongs and establishing modern nation-to-nation relations, but as a matter of law and order.
With the same logic, the rights to be guaranteed by a modern society, such as the right to employment, health care, housing, free education, a life free of economic insecurity from cradle to grave are not affirmed or provided with a guarantee.
Based on the same flawed logic, we are told we must accept Bill C-51, security certificates and all related laws that negate the right to conscience in the name of “security” and the “war on terror.” These instruments attack the fundamental rights of Canadians, refugees and immigrants and do not protect the safety of all of society, because their starting point is not the defence of rights but criminalizing dissent and granting impunity to repressive agencies such as the political police in charge of the Canadian state.
The offensive positions of the “major” political parties in the election campaign is that after the fact, after they voted for C-51 in 2015 and other “anti-terrorist” laws since 2001, they invoke the values they say are contained in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This Charter can be used to defend ourselves and it is the only alternative to restore our rights, they say. But this is simply not true.
The defence of our fundamental rights is not found in the Charter. It is found in the fight of the people in defence of the rights of all. The fight against Bill C-51 before the election campaign proves as much, as do all the struggles against security certificates, against the imperialist war in Afghanistan, Libya, the coup in Haiti and the regime change attempts. It is by placing the working people of all ages, women and all the oppressed at the centre of decision-making that we can defend the rights of all, defeat the Harper dictatorship and make sure Liberal illusions are defeated as well. – Christian Legeais
Renewal Update, October 17, 2015 • No. 194