City And Police Can’t Take Your Rights: WHOPPER WATCH

whopper.watch .12.26

 

“Freedoms of opinion, expression and peaceful assembly are permitted under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Charter has reasonable limits to protect citizens, property and businesses from disruptive or unlawful activities. Find out more at ottawapolice.ca.”

The Ottawa Police Service and the City of Ottawa press release

 


You have rights. They are not given to you. They are a part of you like your heart or your arm. You are born to them. Every human being is born to them.

Nothing gives you permission to have a right. No thing or no person gives permission to you to have a right. Your rights belong to you … nothing inanimate nor no one else. Someone should tell the Ottawa Police Service and the City of Ottawa.

Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not give you permission, as the quote above says, to have rights. Instead, it declares what is fundamental to human beings. Canadians had rights and freedoms before the charter and will have them after the charter, whenever that might be. Everyone has rights and that’s why we are correctly appalled by absolute governments and a violation of someone’s rights.

These rights are fundamental but not absolute. You do not have the right to murder someone. By doing so, you violate the rights of another. Rights come into conflict. That’s why we have the Supreme Court.


The Bulldog practises and, in doing so, supports our freedom of expression … a basic right. This publication feels strongly about that. Nevertheless, this publication does not have a right to libel someone nor interfere in the court system by being in contempt. But the right of freedom of expression is the guiding light. The restrictions, in laws, do not take away the right of freedom of expression. Most publications choose not to express themselves restrictively but expansively. And that’s what we try to do here. Sometimes we fail but not purposefully. We make mistakes.

So the charter does not permit you to have a right. It declares those rights but those are in you, a part of you, not permitted by a piece of paper nor a regulator nor a government nor a police force.

So the Ottawa Police Service and the City of Ottawa fundamentally misinterpret rights. The charter, OPS and the City of Ottawa does not ‘permit’ you to practise your freedom of expression as in the quote above or the release below. If commuters are delayed by people practising their freedom of expression, it is a small price for citizens reinforcing a basic human right.

But the quote above shows a mind-set at the municipal government and the OPS. According to the release, you are permitted to have these rights. Accordingly, who permits you to have these rights? The police or the government? It explains the sometimes prescriptive nature of the two organizations, particularly the police. Don’t ‘permit’ people to have fundamental rights. People have those rights notwithstanding the municipal government, the OPS or the charter. Your rights are yours, no one else’s.

The OPS recently violently abrogated gruesomely a young black man’s right when he was committing the ‘crime’ of walking back from a coffee shop. He was taken down, punched, kneed, tased twice, had his face pushed down in the snow by three or four Ottawa police officers. His rights were abhorrently violated. A good, law-abiding citizen doing nothing but walking was beaten up, not by thugs or thieves, but by the OPS. Random violence from the people we trust to stop random violence and who are paid handsomely by the citizens of this community. Citizens are appalled by this incident as well they should be. The police plead mistaken identity. They should be more careful. Careful was not what was on the minds of the officers in question.

The young man ran from the police because he was scared he would be beaten up. They caught him. Then they beat him up. His fears were well-placed. It is worth noting that the young man was a person of colour.

That was not ‘permission’. That was a gross violation of a person’s rights. We all have the right to walk down the street peacefully. We are not ‘permitted’ by the OPS to walk down a street peacefully. That’s a right.

Many of the problems of the OPS reside with the Ottawa Police Services Board which is supposed to provide oversight of the para-military organization in a freedom-loving community. It provides precious little. The two organizations are too close. Mayor Mark Sutcliffe and councillors on the board should recognize this and deal with it. It is transparent.

The board itself has drastically reduced the amount of time given to community groups who want to address it. The board also chooses who will be allowed to talk to it. In city standing committees, everyone in this community of a million souls is allowed five minutes to speak to an issue. Such committees have spent days listening to all the people who want to address a contentious issue. Those presentations can be wholly boring and the days could put coffee to sleep.

But it is democracy and if boredom is the price to reaffirm a fundamental right, so be it. The OPSB should use the same parametres as standing committees. Those people who are being denied their freedom of expression by the OPSB are being denied their basic human rights.

Community groups have taken the issue to the court. No doubt the judge will decide correctly what is the right thing to do. It is obvious.

As for the beaten young man, the OPS police chief Eric Stubbs has said the force has tried to reach out to the man and his lawyer but they have not replied. Well they should not. If he did, the police would come on a charm offensive in pairs (so as to have witnesses), say a number of the right things but not take responsibility for the beating (to avoid pecuniary liability) and quite likely bring a waiver to absolve the OPS of any responsibility. That’s how it works in practice. Don’t sign it. Follow your lawyer’s advice.

The police are not interested in protecting the young man (the beating should be enough to prove that). They are interested in protecting themselves. They are well-practised in this routine. They have had many opportunities to perfect it.

And as for the police and the municipality, they or the charter does not give the protesters in the quote above the right to protest. It is innate in their being. But the police and city are allowed to curb the excesses of the protest by the will of the people in their jurisdiction, not of themselves.

The police act as public servants (a much-abused phrase) and enforce the laws under the authority and guidance of the community and the rights of us all.

Not of themselves. They do not give permission to exercise rights. They need permission to restrict them and they should do that with care and at a minimum. It does not involve beating people.

As for in the quote above “Find out more at ottawapolice.ca,” that’s the last place I would go.

Ken Gray

 

This is a release from the City of Ottawa:

The City of Ottawa and the Ottawa Police Service are aware of planned demonstrations on Monday, April 1 that could potentially impact traffic on the Macdonald Cartier Bridge at King Edward Avenue during the morning commute.

The City of Ottawa and the Ottawa Police Service work together with municipal and federal partners to manage traffic, transit and public safety for demonstrations.

Temporary road closures may be required to accommodate a march in the downtown core in the afternoon. Although the streets impacted are not yet confirmed, information will be posted on social media as soon as it becomes available. Freedoms of opinion, expression and peaceful assembly are permitted under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Charter has reasonable limits to protect citizens, property and businesses from disruptive or unlawful activities. Find out more at ottawapolice.ca.

Follow @Ottawa_Traffic for temporary road closures or visit the City of Ottawa’s interactive traffic map at traffic.ottawa.ca.

Updates may also be communicated from @OttawaPolice.

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