“At some hazard of giving offence”

Without such hazards of giving offense, we can never arrive at anything that approaches political truth, perhaps a key to the bubble wrap of political correctness that can be used to strangle the dissent of today. Joseph Howe, as a perpetual rabble-rouser, understood this better than most, and he was willing to “die by the sword” under charges of seditious libel in order to advance the human condition of his country.

“It is sometimes said, the mother country has its great charter, its Bill of Rights, and why should we not have a charter, or some such written guarantee for our liberties. Those who reason thus forget that these great securities of Britons are ours also; that we have besides, the whole body of parliamentary precedents accumulated by the practice of the Imperial legislature. We have more; we have our colonial precedents since 1840; the resolutions recorded on the journals of Canada and Nova Scotia, and other authoritative declarations, made with the sanction of the Imperial government, and which cannot be withdrawn.”

Rights, liberties, precedents, all since lost, if they were ever guaranteed in the first place. Without a written provincial constitution, Nova Scotia has fallen back into a familiar pit of maladministration, a cycle that seems inextricably linked to a crown and its adherents. Canada’s Constitution of 1982 is written in such a way as to allow a simple majority at any level of government to deny the most basic of human rights on a five year continuance without judicial review. Rights such as:

  1. Section 2 (Freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom of thought, freedom of belief, freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association)
  2. Section 7 (The right to life, liberty and security of the person)
  3. Section 8 (The right to protection against unreasonable search and seizure)
  4. Section 9 (The right against arbitrary detainment and imprisonment)
  5. Section 10 (The right to be informed promptly of the reasons for arrest or detention, the right to retain and instruct counsel without delay and to be informed of that right on arrest or detention, the right to have the validity of the detention determined by way of habeas corpus and to be released if the detention is not lawful)
  6. Section 11 (The right to be informed without unreasonable delay of the specific offense)
  7. Section 12 (The right not to be subjected to any cruel and unusual treatment or punishment)
  8. Section 13 (The right not to have any incriminating evidence so given used to incriminate that witness in any other proceedings, except in a prosecution for perjury or for the giving of contradictory evidence)
  9. Section 14 (The right to an interpreter if the person does not speak the language being used or is deaf)
  10. Section 15 (The right to equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability)

Though Section 6 mobility rights (the right to enter, remain in and leave Canada, the right to move to and take up residence in any province and the right to pursue the gaining of a livelihood in any province) are supposedly inviolable, Covid has provided a circumstance where the power of exception has brought limits to even these supposedly inviolable rights.

The only rights left for a Canadian serf are “language rights”, and “democratic rights”… what little utility a single solitary mark away from dictatorship in your mother tongue presents, in the absence of any others is limited, at best… Joseph Howe was perhaps, in this way, at his worst when he trusted in the omnipotent, that has always and will forever more, seek nothing but a return to feudalism, in one form or another.