Nov. 20, 2020

The state is closing in – our freedoms are on the line

I guess it was inevitable that B.C. could not withstand maintaining the sensible policies in fighting the Wuhan Virus. Some here were even a little smug earlier in the year when cases did not spike like in the more populous Provinces of Ontario and Quebec. Our Public Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry was praised as if she possessed some magic Excalibur that swept the high number of cases away. It was an asset it seemed that existed just here west of the Rockies. At least that was the impression I was given as one living here. No, I never just arrived. I have been here since 1993. 

But that magic has disappeared and we are just like everyone else. Reading in yesterday’s Times Colonist of the Province’s latest reaction is scary. Premier John Horgan’s pronouncement that the Government is going to order us from travelling around our Province is just a “bridge too far”. Of course, this measure began just a week ago with non-essential travel being restricted in the two lower mainland health regions.

Need I remind the Premier of our Constitution? The Section on Fundamental Freedoms ?

2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

(a) freedom of conscience and religion;(
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
(d) freedom of association.

Have you noticed not one of our First Ministers has even mentioned our Constitution during the last months of this pandemic? They have just barged merrily ahead using health and safety as their rallying cry to commit all manner of constitutional intrusions.

Now, the Premier exclaims this not a good time to go the west coast of Vancouver Island. And even the Municipalities there are discouraging you from visiting.

Most disturbing is Island Health’s chief medical officer suggestion that B.C. people who are non-Vancouver-Island residents and come here should have to quarantine for 14 days. Putting one B.C. resident against another based on geography or whatever is destructive, divisive and dangerous. 

Secondly, it is downright wrong for the Premier of this Province and Cabinet to have public servants making public policy decisions. That is not how the system works. Public servants advise, the executive (Premier and Cabinet ) decide. Am I overreacting here? Here’s what the Premier said yesterday according to the Colonist: “Horgan said he will leave the decision on the “Atlantic bubble” to Henry, but noted that it “may not be the best way forward.” 

Looks like the Premier got it backwards. He is advising the public servant and she is deciding. This is outrageous. We elected Horgan, he is responsible to us. The government hired the Public Health Officer who is responsible to the Minister and Cabinet. Or that’s the way it is supposed to be if one is to follow our Constitution. 

Finally, if a Government is to contemplate violating our Constitution then it must make its case to the peoples’ duly elected Parliament, our Legislative Assembly. This has not been done and trying to cover under some general heath provision, regulation or legislation, just doesn’t cut it. The people need to be heard, even more so now given the mixed conflicting science prevailing on the issue, and the more extreme measures already announced, and others being considered.