People were surprised by the actions of a few protesters who recently surrounded NDP leader Jagmate Singh at a state election campaign event in Peterborough, Ontario. Protesters shouted a series of obscene words at Shin, threatening and imminent as they chased after the van waiting for him. Few rational people tolerated such behavior, which was roundly criticized by people on all sides of the political spectrum.
But the concern is that federal politicians are now using the case as a reason to pursue stricter legal restrictions on protests. This is a very dangerous way to walk around and we may run the risk of losing the essential democratic rights of assembly and expression.
The civil rights of citizens were suspended during a truck driver’s free convoy protest due to the enforcement of the Emergency Law by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. It was a government overreaction to the protest, but at least it was temporary. Parliamentarians are currently talking about creating permanent legislative measures to thwart protests.
Public protests have occasionally led to violence and enthusiastic rhetoric since the protests began. It is burned into the nature of the protest. Most people don’t want to spend time traveling or gathering with others to express themselves at an event unless they take the cause or problem seriously. Participating in a protest usually means feeling that you lack the options to address your concerns. Participants in the protest often feel frustrated and emotional, which can lead to chaotic recipes.
Civil disobedience is part of many protests. It usually refers to many people who do not knowingly obey government orders or laws to pay attention to their causes. This is usually done by blocking access to traffic or buildings, or ignoring mandatory reinstatement orders. Civil disobedience behavior is usually peaceful and temporary. Civil disobedience is considered a valid tactic of protest, and authorities usually dislike blocking it if it can be avoided.
This gives protesters more room to push up legal restrictions when demonstrating. If an individual sits in the middle of the road and blocks traffic, they will probably be removed and will probably be charged within minutes. When dozens do so, it becomes a form of expression, and arrests can violate the rights of the Charter. It’s a complex part of the law. The actions of some protesters can sometimes be frustrating to us, but at the cost of ensuring that we remain free to protest.
We already have a book law to cover criminal activity during protests. Assaulting people, intimidating people, or causing property damage is not considered an effective form of civil disobedience. People may and should be prosecuted for doing those things during the protest. No new law is needed to do so. The problem is that these laws can be difficult to enforce, and authoritarian legislators are tempted to ban protests altogether, as well as illegal acts within them. is.
Progressive politicians pushing for restrictions and bans on protests should keep in mind that the coalition of the Liberal Party and the New Democratic Party will not be in power forever.
One day we will once again come to power in a conservative government, and most of the protests will come from leftist activists. Do you think the NDP and Liberal Party lawmakers, who are pushing for restrictions on the opposition, are thinking twice about the conservative government applying these laws to left-wing protesters?
We cannot pretend that militant protests are only in the realm of right-wing protesters. Opponents of anti-restriction protesters often shouted “F *** you Nazis” in particular. In a recent march of life demonstration on Parliamentary Hill, a bikini-clad opposition activist put up a sign saying “Abortion is a gift from God” and “Please take your hands off my body.” Provocative and offensive, but do it need to be illegal? It could be if the liberal-NDP introduced reactionary legislation limiting protests.
I don’t think some of these progressive lawmakers understand that they can’t apply the double standard to protests when they’re not in power. Their own legislative weapons may oppose the demonstrations they support.
Only if they support the protection of those rights for their ideological opponents will one truly commit to the rights. This means that you have to endure offensive speech and annoying protests. Democracy can be a nuisance, but it’s the best system we have.
Before progressive politicians and their supporters introduce laws that limit protests, I offer this old but still wise advice:
Pay attention to what you want, you may get it.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.