Friday, November 18, 2011

Occupy Calgary and the Abuse of the Charter

“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.”

So, how exactly does Occupy Calgary justify what they are doing? Do they not think they've gone beyond a reasonable limit in trying to expound their message, whatever that may be? I bring this up because I've seen, not only in person but on social media and in the news, over and over, that this Occupy Movement believe they are well within their Charter freedoms to squat in Olympic Plaza.

The occupiers absolutely have the freedom to express their opinion. What is their opinion? I've done hours of reading and research and I can't find what exactly they are squatting for, except for Charter freedoms. I didn't know camping in a park that disallowed camping and had hours of operation was a Charter right.

The occupiers do have freedom of assembly, but why do they have to assemble with tents for so long, in a park, in the middle of Calgary with hours of operation? What are they trying to accomplish with this, except show that they are capable of breaking laws where others are not? They have proven that there is inequality in law enforcement in Calgary.

The occupiers do have freedom of conscience and religion. They held a Buddhist prayer circle in city hall. I wasn't aware any of them were Buddhist, but I'm not a mind reader. It gave way for a Christian leader to hold his own religious assembly in City Hall. I have a problem with this. It has always been argued that politics and religion should not go hand in hand (but that's a debate for another day.)

The occupiers will argue legal rights per the Charter but they are the ones currently breaking the law. They have also put themselves at risk (exposure) and are breaking enforceable bylaws. Is safety not an argument against “reasonable limits prescribed by law”? And still, they have not “demonstrably justified” their protest.

In reading the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the occupiers failed to notice that no where does it say it is the responsibility of the government to think for citizens of Canada. The occupiers argue it is the responsibility of the City of Calgary to provide heaters for the squat. They argue it is the City of Calgary's fault for the fire and subsequent injuries. I disagree. A sane, rational person would find shelter in cold weather, not light a candle in a nylon tent. I notice however they do not complain that emergency services provided by the City of Calgary came to their rescue.

If Mayor Nenshi did his job at the outset, before the weather turned and someone was hurt, the injuries would have been avoided. This issue would have been in court, and the court would likely have found in favour of the City of Calgary; now it's a huge problem and a joke on Calgary.

The occupiers can't be debated with. They discount any argument that doesn't agree with their point of view and they would rather risk themselves and their friends then end this squat. Will someone have to die of exposure before the Occupy Calgary tent city is removed?

Protest during the day, sleep at home, protect yourself and your health. Sleeping outside, in the winter cold proves only that you want to stick it to City Hall and nothing else. We who disagree with you will continue to speak out against you. I encourage you to continue to speak out against us but you can't do it if you've frozen to death.

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