ISLANDS OF TROUBLE IN CANADA
"Cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question, 'Is it polite?' Vanity asks the question, 'Is it popular?' But conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?' And there comes a point when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor polite, nor popular, but one must take it because his conscience tells him that it is right." —Martin Luther King, Jr.
I have just uploaded my new film about Canada called A QUESTION OF SOVEREIGNTY. You can find it online at vimeo.com — but know that I will publish it here tomorrow as well.
Unlike many, if not most of my countrymen, Canadians rarely display the kind of angst and vitriol that we do on a daily basis here in the U.S. It's one of the things I love about Canada. But it's also a bit problematic when the G20 comes to town and Ontario Police—quickly and all-too-quietly, secure unbelievable powers—Charter of Rights and Freedoms be damned.
The Toronto Globe and Mail reported the following yesterday:
"The Ontario government was more than just heavy-handed and oppressive in giving police wide powers at the G20 Summit in Toronto – it was sneaky, too. With no forewarning, no chance of debate, no time for a court challenge, it quietly declared the downtown area within the security fence an “island of non-constitutionality,” as a civil liberties lawyer describes it. The secrecy is nearly as bad as the substance. While the state has a right to prevent violence, what right has it to pre-empt debate and challenge?"
My ultimate question for the G20 leaders is, "Why do you put your citizens through this trauma every year?" Over $1billion Canadian dollars were spent on security alone—and the actual figure for the entire G20 summit could be twice that amount. I mean, seriously, people, if securing the safety of these world leaders is going to cost so much, both in terms of dollars and the loss of civil liberties, why not move the G20 meetings to an ISLAND somewhere so we can pretend that we still live in democracies. . .you know, places where dissent is actually allowed? Or will the “islands of non-constitutionality” simply grow larger, and encompass whole cities and provinces in the future?
As my new film reflects, Canada is a land of unparalleled beauty. Though they live in the shadow of the U.S., many of us are praying that they do not emulate the pattern we have here — one of capitalism becoming more important than democracy.
As we go forward together to publicize A QUESTION OF SOVEREIGNTY, I hope many of my Canadian friends and loved ones follow their conscience—and not be intimidated by the tactics being employed by the government surrounding the events of the G20. Health Canada has ALREADY pushed the "island" way past the border of constitutionality. . .so where will it stop?
Have courage, my Canadian brothers and sisters. STAND TALL. For if we don't demand our rights, government agencies, from Health Canada to provincial governments will usurp civil liberties permanently, as they have done in Toronto during the G20.
They have put their treasonous language in plain sight for all to see in Bills C-51, 52, C-6, and the newly introduced Bill C-36. The time to act is now. . .in the name of Mother Canada.
TORONTO STAR PHOTO by LUCAS OLENIUK