Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The rule of whims



The "ruling Liberal party" is not exactly positing themselves as a party for the young.

  1. First, they have proposed a law banning peer-to-peer music/file sharing.
  2. They have proposed a law that would allow the government to, basically, access your emails, web surfing, and other telecommunication without your permission.
  3. And now, they are trying to ban 50-Cent, the rapper, from coming into Canada.
According to this Reuters report,

Junior Foreign Minister Dan McTeague said the rapper's message was inappropriate at a time when Toronto, Canada's largest city, was experiencing a surge in shooting deaths.

"I do want the laws of Canada to apply to anybody who is a criminal, an admitted criminal, as Mr Curtis Jackson -- known as 50 Cent -- is. Under our laws ... he would be deemed criminally inadmissible," he told CBC television.

This action is appalling on a number of levels. I've personally never heard 50-Cent, so I can't comment on what he actually says. But I do know that there are issues of executive prejudice at work here. Just because McTeague does not like the rapper, it does not neccessarily mean that another member of government ought to pressure the Immigration Minister to abide by his preferences.

It reminds me of the Conrad Black-Jean Chretien dual. Chretien, presumably because he did not like how he was being portrayed in Conrad's papers,essentially refused to allow him to accept a position in the British House of Lords as a Canadian citizen. Black, after losing in court, had to renounce his citizenship in order to accept it. A brilliant article on this situation can be found here (direct PDF link here). It is called "Prerogative Powers: A Comment on Black v. Chr├ętien" by Lorne Sossin. The Court ruled that the executive powers had the right to be shielded from judicial review. Of course, this position is balderdash. Roncarelli explicitly demonstrated that the executive branch must not violate the rule of law:

...that an administration according to law is to be superseded by action dictated by and according to the arbitrary likes, dislikes and irrelevant purposes of public officers acting beyond their duty, would signalize the beginning of disintegration of the rule of law as a fundamental postulate of our constitutional structure.

Perhaps McTeague could learn a lesson or too in executive power from this almost 50-year old ruling.

THE NEXT MOST APPALLING thing about McTeague is this comment:
"We need to do a better job at protecting Canadians from people whose message runs counter to all of our efforts of trying to curb gun violence."
I don't know much about 50 cent. But my reason suggests that he is not going around telling people to kill your enemies with a gun. I mean, after all, wouldn't he just be asking for it if he is saying this type of thing to his enemies?

The real meat of this comment is "we need to do a better job protecting Canadians"; that is bureaucratic speak for "the government ought to censor people's opinions." As far as I am concerned, even if 50-cent were to advocate gun violence, it still would be protected by the Charter s.2, in which EVERYONE, not just Canadians, has the "freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication."

Denying 50-Cent entry into Canada is an abuse of executive power and an attempt at blatant government thought control, no matter what 50-cent is saying.

As a wise philosopher said long ago, "In a Free State Every Man May Think What He Likes, and Say What He Thinks":

no man's mind can possibly lie wholly at the disposition of another, for no one can willingly transfer his natural right of free reason and judgment, or be compelled so to do. (3) For this reason government which attempts to control minds is accounted tyrannical, and it is considered an abuse of sovereignty and a usurpation of the rights of subjects, to seek to prescribe what shall be accepted as true, or rejected as false, or what opinions should actuate men in their worship of God. (4) All these questions fall within a man's natural right, which he cannot abdicate even with his own consent.

2 comments:

issachar said...

Could you link to sources on the first two issues you mention?

# First, they have proposed a law banning peer-to-peer music/file sharing.

# They have proposed a law that would allow the government to, basically, access your emails, web surfing, and other telecommunication without your permission.

Jonathan said...

Yes, they are both linked now. The second proposed law was discussed by me a few posts down.

If you ever want to find these things in the future, just pop it into Google News.