In April of last year I blogged about the Court Challenges Program and this quote;
Rainer Knopff, a political scientist at the University of Calgary, said the program was “a biased boondoggle that had gone well past its `best before’ date.”
The program only funded groups on “one side” of the political spectrum while “socially conservative groups never got any money. Not a penny, as far as I know,” said Knopff.
He also echoed then-Treasury Board president John Baird’s suggestion, made in defending the decision to kill the program, that it made no sense for Ottawa to spend public money helping groups challenge its own legislation.
“I don’t want to pay for surrogate litigants,” said Knopff, arguing public interest groups should raise their own money for Charter cases. “If they can’t raise the money – tough.”
Today CTV has a story about the further erosion of rights in Canada;
OTTAWA — A Montreal court may be about to make Canadian legal history in a case that could see offenders considered guilty until proved innocent.
A bail hearing at the court this week is believed to be the first involving so-called “reverse onus,” in which a defendant must prove why they deserve less time behind bars and why they should be released on bail pending trial.
This ‘test case’ involves gangs. Naturally one chooses the circumstance least likely to garner public sympathy to launch such an attack. It goes without saying that any argument to democracy and rights will be met with an allegation of supporting gangs and violence. It being the case, unfortunately that some cannot hold more than one thought in their mind at a time. This law may start out as being about gangs and gun crime but it will not end there.
Dave Schroder of Edmonton’s Guardian Angels network thinks the reverse onus rule is “long overdue.”
“When somebody has demonstrated their lack of respect for Canadian law, we do have the right to expect them to be put away,” he said.
We certainly do have a right to expect criminals to be “put away”, right after they have been proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by a jury of their peers.
I say this as someone whose life has been touched by violent crime. The criminals never even charged. While I still am affected by these crimes, I don’t believe the Canadian criminal system should be built upon whatever revenge fantasies I may hold.
Our rights and freedoms are being stripped away by those who value sound bite over substance, authoritarianism over democracy and big brother over individual freedom. It is time for us, all of us, to speak up before our right to speak is taken too.
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