Freedom of Thought, Belief, Opinion, and Expression
Within the Canadian Constitution, under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, is a list of fundamental rights guaranteed to be protected by the Canadian Government. That government receives its mandate from the people during general elections and through the Constitution of our country. The Canadian model of Responsible Government demands that a government may continue to govern only with the combined authority of the people who popularly elect it and in accordance to the nation’s Constitutional laws.
In the 2011 General Election, widespread abuse of our electoral system occurred. Countless allegations have been levied and excuses passed around. We may never know exactly what happened, where it happened, or who knowingly carried out the abuse of our electoral system and the rights of the people within it. It remains clear that abuses were carried out and illegally revoked the fundamental Canadian right of ‘freedom of thought, belief, opinion, and expression’, guaranteed protected under our Constitution.
Electoral Fraud in Canada
This was not a scandal or the complaint of sore-losers. We must be clear in what we are discussing. Making ‘Robocalls’ (automated phone calls made en mass to voters) is obnoxious, but not illegal. Using those calls to misdirect voters and prevent them from casting their vote is not a ‘dirty trick’, it is blatantly illegal in this country. Whether successful or not in the attempt, it remains an illegal act. Our Constitution guarantees freedom of opinion as well as the expression of it, which includes and begins at the ballot box. Beyond legal ramifications, it is decidedly un-Canadian to disrespect another citizen so much that you not only believe their freedom of thought and opinion is not equal to yours, but you actively campaign to ensure the expression of it is not included in the final tally on Election Day.
We still do not have proof of who the specific law-breakers are. Like with anything else, the prime suspects are those who had the most to gain by suppressing the vote of their opponents. It is only common sense to suspect the governing Conservatives after their final realization of a majority government. We cannot assume as of yet that it was for certain that party. Nor can we presume that if members of the Conservative party did in fact actively, willingly, and happily participate in electoral fraud, that they received orders to do so from the top.
There is no proof that I have seen so far to link Prime Minister Stephen Harper or his immediate advisors to this illegal activity. I have long argued, though unenthusiastically, that his is the rightful government of this country. In 2011, the Conservative Party received an electoral mandate which presented them with enough support in the House of Commons to govern. No other party can currently claim to command the support of the House. If the truth ever does come out about the 2011 election, that may no longer be the case. But in Canada you are in fact innocent until proven guilty. As murky as it may stand right now, the Conservative government has received a mandate from the people and commands the confidence of the House.
The Death of Responsible Government in Canada
That is, however, only half of the equation. What this government and its Prime Minister willfully forget is that with office comes responsibility to all Canadians and a mandate to uphold the backbone of Canada – our Constitution. Guaranteed to the Canadian people, amongst other things, is the right to the ‘freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression’. A government that boasts of its mandate from the people but actively works against the protection of their guaranteed rights does not have the moral authority to govern. A government must uphold the will of the people in agreement with the Constitution, which protects Canadians and their rights. If an officer of the crown is seemingly ‘popularly’ elected but has achieved this feat by trampling the rights of the citizenry, then that person has received no mandate at all. And when any allegations are made by the population that suggest such behaviour has occurred, the elected government has an explicit duty to investigate, throw open its own doors, and take appropriate action against those who would subvert our democracy, no matter what political stripe they may bear.
The first and most important role of the Canadian government is to protect our democracy, its institutions, and the rights of its people within it. However, the current occupants of the government benches prefer to obfuscate, misdirect, and blatantly utter falsehoods in the House of Commons to muddy the waters. They do this in the hope that they will never be required to look inward and possibly find within their ranks those who have actively attempted to destroy the core principles of this country for their own brief and hollow political gain.
Stephen Harper and his government have called no public inquiry into illegal activities which his own former top advisors and many others find deeply troubling. Ian Brodie, Harper’s former Chief of Staff, has gone so far as to call it a possible “national effort at subterfuge”.
Harper’s ruling party has defamed their opposition who have responded with complete transparency. Yet the Conservatives still refuse to show any transparency themselves, despite being representatives of the Crown and the Canadian people. Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party of Canada have refused to investigate the stripping of the right to expression from citizens of their own country, despite their explicit mandate as the government to do so.
Harper and the Conservatives may or may not have actively prevented citizens from voting in the last election. But they are completely guilty of abandoning their legal responsibility as members of the Government of Canada to investigate the trampling of the rights of Canadian citizens. They have put their own power above the power and rights of the people.
It is no wonder the words ‘Government of Canada’ have been removed from government letterhead in favour of the ‘Harper Government’. The government of Canada no longer exists, nor do the rights of citizens it once protected. In Harperland, the rights of citizens are diametrically opposed to the interests of their government. All that remains is Harper, his Conservative Party, and a now-malleable understanding of rights and freedoms within our borders.