WHO IS IN CONTROL?
(Ed. Note: An editorial under the above title outlined the erosion of democratic government and citizen rights in the United States. Modified with appropriate references to Canadian politics and constitutional history, the following excerpts from that article are instructive and may be of particular interest to private landowners.)
To say that Canada is coming apart at the seams may be an exaggeration but the growing division between “the left” and “the right” has the potential to be as destructive as any era in our history. The division is much deeper than political party affiliation although that perspective gets the most media attention. On one side of the divide are those who believe that the people should control government; on the other side are those who believe that government should control people. Both sides of this divide are populated with people from every political party.
The British North America Act (the document our Canadian Constitution replaces) specifically authorized the federal government to exercise enumerated powers and all unspecified powers remain with the provinces and territories or with the people. This principle clearly limits the power of government and places the ultimate authority to limit governmental power in the hands of the people.
Nowhere has the political “left” been more successful in ignoring the BNA than in manipulating the nation’s land-use management policies. While Parliament has the constitutional responsibility to manage federal lands, the reality is that land management policy has been shaped by the judiciary as a result of lawsuits filed by left-leaning environmental organizations.
Now, through a maze of environmental programs and regulations sponsored by the United Nations, governments at every level not only dictate how private property may be used, but in some cases, specify what colour a house may be painted and which landscape changes are prohibited. The BNA clearly sets out the purposes for, and conditions upon which, governments may own land. Such limitations have been totally ignored and federal, provincial/territory and local governments now own or tightly control almost half the Canadian landmass. Moreover, nearly every legislative body in the country is appropriating tax dollars to acquire even more property for government’s growing inventory of land.
The political right, until recently, has allowed this to happen. But, now that the right is organizing to protest excessive government control of people, the political left is resorting to tactics that most generously can be described as “the end justifies any means”. These tactics range from vandalizing legitimate businesses and research laboratories to the ridiculous propaganda claims that the earth will crash and burn unless we get rid of cattle grazing, stop all logging and abandon automobiles in favour of bicycles and mass transit.
Of even greater concern is the notion advanced by the “left” that Canada must get approval of its foreign policy from the United Nations. Its not enough for the federal government to control its citizens, these people want the U.N. to control the federal government. The division between the political left and right is not limited to Canada and the United States. Most of the people in the world have never known life under a government that recognizes the inalienable right of people to restrict the power of government. Therefore, without local power or influence, most of the world’s population tends to agree that the U.N. should control national governments, especially North American governments.
This conflict between ideologies is coming to a head at both the national and international level. The political left is much better organized and better funded than the political right. But the “right” is finally realizing that fundamental principles of self-government are at stake. The determination spawned by this realization has overcome overwhelming odds in the past, most notably during the American Revolution.
The time has come for every Canadian to look beyond party affiliation and decide whether government should control its people or the people should control their government.