On this day 40 years ago I presented a written proposal to all First Ministers that several hours later became the Patriation Agreement which included the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
It began the night before (Nov. 4) as a written proposal from the Newfoundland delegation to three Provinces in the Saskatchewan suite (Alberta and British Columbia plus of course Saskatchewan) of the Chateau Laurier Hotel.
At the November 5 breakfast meeting all first Ministers of the group of eight were present except Manitoba, but the Attorney General was present with instructions from his Premier. Quebec was present and had an opportunity to review the document. The proposal was accepted by seven Provinces with Quebec objecting. I was asked to present the proposal to full conference of all the First Ministers later that day .
The proposal became the Patriation Agreement later that day and the next year became known as the Constitution Act of 1982.
It was thought at the time that by putting the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the Constitution, insulating it from the political machinations of Federal Legislation to which the 1960 Bill of Rights was subjected , that our Country would be secure in that its citizens were guaranteed of their rights and freedoms.
Today , we find that not even Constitutional Protection safeguards our rights and freedoms as Governments from St. John’s to Victoria plus the Territories run rough shod over our most sacred of documents.
Governments think some how that Section 1 protects them . But Section 1 says:
“1. 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.”
Not one Government has even attempted to “demonstrably justify” their actions in this covid situation of lock downs, masks, mandates and vaccines, causing death and injury, suicide, depression, job loses and the loss of the most precious of ideas — hope.
It is somehow as if the Government speaks or acts it is automatically justified.
Hon. A. Brian Peckford P.C. Only living First Minister who helped craft The Constitution Act of 1982.
Brian Peckford will speak at the December 9 Nuremberg Doctors Trial 75th anniversary event at the BC Legislature , Thursday at 3:00 pm. Gathering starts at 2:00 pm. More information on pages 4, 5 and 6 in this edition of Common Ground.