Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Harper gives a speech on human rights

Here it is, given on Saturday in Winnipeg and now featured front-and-center on the PM's site. He really gave it a special twist. Highlighting quite prominently the Canadian Bill of Rights. Because it's the Bill of Rights' 50th anniversary, don't you know. Right, you didn't. Probably because that document was a statute and did not have constitutional status. And because no one talks about it anymore. Not after the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was adopted, which enshrines our rights and freedoms as constitutional rights. Yep, that would be the Charter, our very own version of a Magna Carta, looked to the world over.

That should have been the proper focus of a speech on human rights recognition in Canada, especially one given in the Queen's presence. At the very least it should have been mentioned at a dedication of a human rights museum and with a stone from the field where the Magna Carta was signed, sitting in the backdrop. But as we know, a Liberal government brought us the Charter. Enough said and better to look in the way back machine to old Conservative Dief to re-write history by giving such prominence to the long forgotten Bill of Rights. What an incredible omission.

Anyway, here's what Harper said in one part:
“The Canadian Bill of Rights reflects a fundamental truth: that human rights, by definition, must be universal. There can be no exceptions.

“The test of a free country is whether it recognizes this truth. Whether it is a country with a conscience. A country where individuals are not categorized by power or prejudice, but simply recognized as our fellow human beings. And where failures to do so are eventually brought to light.
It's so easy to say in a speech, but not so easy to apply those human rights universally without exceptions. At least, not for this present government. Harper's failing his own test, consider yesterday's rebuke to the Harper government by the Federal Court, again, over the ongoing breach of a Canadian's rights that Mr. Harper will do nothing about. Where's Canada's conscience on that one?