charters of freedom

We the People

of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America

Constitution of the United States
Series: The Constitution of the United States, 9/17/1787 - 9/17/1787. Record Group 11: General Records of the United States Government, 1778 - 2006

Happy Constitution Day!

(via GIPHY)


Discovering the “Sussex Declaration”

Only two parchment manuscripts of the Declaration of Independence dating back to the 18th century are known in the world. One is held by the National Archives and displayed to the public in the National Archives Rotunda in Washington, DC. The other was recently discovered in Chichester, England, by two Harvard University historians: Danielle Allen, Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University and colleague Emily Sneff, Research Manager for the Declaration Resources Project. 

Allen and Sneff came across the “Sussex Declaration,” as it has come to be known, in August 2015, while conducting online research of the digitized records collection of the United Kingdom National Archives for Harvard’s Declaration Resource Project. This previously unknown manuscript, dating from the 1780s, is written in the hand of a single clerk. They recently spoke about their discovery at the National Archives in the public program, “Discovering the Sussex Declaration.”

Read the full post on the AOTUS blog.


Constitution of the United States

Item From: General Records of the United States Government. (05/14/1787- 09/17/1787)

The Federal Convention convened on May 14, 1787 in Philadelphia’s Independence Hall to revise the problematic Articles of Confederation. Since only two states had delegations present, any substantive debate was postponed until a quorum of seven states was attained on May 25th. After exhaustive deliberation well into the middle of June, the Convention concluded that the Articles were not salvageable and needed to be replaced with something that represented their collective interests while ensuring their continued independence.

Through subsequent closed sessions, the delegates continually debated, drafted and redrafted the articles of this new Constitution until it resembled the one we have today. The main points of contention were how much power was apportioned to the Federal Government, how many Congressional representatives were allotted to each state, and whether these representatives would be directly elected by their constituents or appointed by their state legislatures.

This new Constitution was the cumulative result of many minds coming together to conceptualize and debate the future course of the country. Through subsequent generations it has been amended and reinterpreted many times, but its continued success stems from adherence to these early promises of representation and compromise.


Among all the X-Men’s antagonists, Alpha Flight is the only group directly affiliated with the national government of a supposedly trusted American ally.

It is surprising that Canada is signalled out for this dubious honor, given the historically close and amicable relationship between Canada and the United States; the two countries share the world’s longest undefended border and are each other’s largest trade partners. However, I argue that, particularly within the context of the late-1970s, Canada does in fact make a very useful enemy for the All-New X-Men. The late-‘70s comic book battles between the X-Men and Alpha Flight present some obviously unrealistic portraits of Canadian politics and values, but they also reference real cultural conflicts concerning different visions of multicultural group identity. The involvement of Byrne, who immigrated to Canada from England in 1958 as an eight-year old and lived there until at least 1973, suggests that the Canadian superteam can be read, at least in part, as reflecting internal anxieties about Canadian identity; although Byrne is technically credited as the “co-plotter” of Alpha Flight’s first appearance, several of the character concepts date back to comics and sketches Byrne produced as a student at the Alberta College of Art and Design. Yet because Alpha Flight ultimately performed for a predominantly American audience, their stint as villains largely reveals American insecurities-about Canada, but also about the American identity that Canada throws into relief.

In particular, the differences between the internationally comprised, vigilante, and heroic “American” X-Men versus the domestically multicultural, federally-regulated, and villainous “Canadian” Alpha Flight enact American anxieties related to the official multiculturalistn policy that Trudeau promised in 1971, and finally incorporated into the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982. Through their displays of immoral, aggressive, and ultimately self-destructive megaviolence, Alpha Flight’s fantastically weaponized humans literally and spectacularly embody American fears that Canadian multiculturalism regulates identity in a way that prohibits a conscience-based, and thus sustainable, form of national unity.

—  Anna F. Peppard, Canada’s Mutant Body: Nationalism and (Super)Multiculturalism in Alpha Flight vs. the X-Men

I want to take every smug Canadian leftist who tuts over how unevolved the USA is back in time to the nice dinner where my Member of Parliament spent half an hour explaining at me about how the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was the worst injustice ever to be perpetrated on the Canadian people.

Not as a speech. At me, personally. I had to nod along or he doubled down.

“The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his ‘natural superiors,’ and has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, callous 'cash payment.’ It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervor, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom—Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.

The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honored and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage laborers.

The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and has reduced the family relation to a mere money relation.”
― Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto

luffykun3695  asked:

I have a question. I am American and I keep seeing other Americans bring up "freedom of speech" in arguments having to do with things that happened in Canada. Does this even apply? Does Canada have any similar laws regarding freedom of speech?

The answer is yes and no.

The yes, is that yes, The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects freedom of speech (as far as freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression is concerned):

In Canada, section 2(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects “freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication”.

BUT absolute freedom of speech has never been the norm in Canada. If you are hateful in your speech you can be charged.

Under the Criminal Code of Canada:

Public incitement of hatred

319 (1) Every one who, by communicating statements in any public place, incites hatred against any identifiable group where such incitement is likely to lead to a breach of the peace is guilty of

(a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or

(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.

Wilful promotion of hatred

(2) Every one who, by communicating statements, other than in private conversation, wilfully promotes hatred against any identifiable group is guilty of

(a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or

(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.


April 17, 1982: Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau signed Canada’s Proclamation of the Constitution Act, 1982

Top Image: Queen Elizabeth II, as Queen of Canada, signing the proclamation of the Constitution Act, 1982.

Bottom Image: Proclamation bringing into force the Constitution Act, 1982, which includes the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

It is commonly said that in 1982 Canada “patriated” its Constitution. What actually occurred is that Canada requested that the Parliament of the United Kingdom legislate for it one last time, to remove the Westminster Parliament’s ability to legislate for Canada. The Canada Act 1982 enacted the Constitution Act, 1982. Part I of the Constitution Act, 1982 contains the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; Part II of the Act recognizes and affirms the Aboriginal and treaty rights of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada; Part V provides procedures for amending the Constitution of Canada in the future. As with the British North America Act, 1867 and the Statute of Westminster, 1931, the Canada Act 1982 is an Act of the British Parliament, the original of which is kept in the United Kingdom. Enacted as part of the Canada Act 1982 (U.K.), the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms acknowledges that “Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law.” Among the freedoms the Charter protects are the fundamental freedoms of conscience and religion; of thought, belief, opinion and expression (including freedom of the press and other media of communication); of peaceful assembly; and of association. The Charter also protects democratic rights, mobility rights, legal rights and equality rights.


Today (February 7th 2014) is the start of the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.


At the top you see how the google doodle looked today.

As you can see the doodle - similar to the gay pride flag-  is completed with a quote from the Olympic Charter.

The Charter reads:

“The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.”

 The Charter talks about human rights, individualism, solidarity and fairness. We’re all equal on this planet without distinction such as race, colour, sex, origin and sexual orientation.

Homosexuality is a taboo in Russia. Gay people face discrimination in public. It’s horrible.


I wanted to thank Google to make this doodle today. People need to notice what’s going on. Please share this as well.

Thank you.



Crime and Punishment - Was Wang So’s order to kill Chae Ryung justice or revenge?

I consider Wang So’s decision to punish CR to be justice:

Justice (n) just behavior or treatment. the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness.

Just and moral are points of view; and the meaning, concept and interpretation of these two words in the 10th century (Middle Ages) differ from today’s view. We cannot judge them according to the ideals of the 21th century. Also, WS’s actions towards CR are both righteousness and equitableness - CR caused many people to die (not even talking about the people who have to live without their loved one; and even if she killed only Moo - that’s a fratricide), therefore death is the only equitable punishment in this situation (even today she would have received death penalty for it in the US or Japan - all democratic countries with their own Charters of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms; and like I said - lethal injection simply wasn’t an option in the 10th century). If WS truly wanted to revenge himself on CR he would have killed her himself, if he truly wanted to revenge on her he WOULDN’T HAVE GIVEN HER TWO CHANCES TO REPENT.

“She was waiting for a moment to harm you. I had no reason or need to forgive her.”

I think what I forgot to mention before about WS ordering CR’s death and the manner in which she was executed as a deterrent example is ANOTHER ASPECT AND PURPOSE OF THE PUNISHMENT - IT WAS A NECCESARY PREVENTIVE MEASURE. The fact, that CR continued to betray HS showed WS that she is a threat, that she had no qualms hurting others for her selfish gains, that SHE WOULDN’T HAVE STOPPED UNTIL SOMEONE STOPPED HER. Just imagine if she was kept alive, she would have continued to hurt HS and other people, just like she had hurt Eun and SD (the collateral damage of her actions) - SHE WAS TOO DANGEROUS TO BE KEPT ALIVE BECAUSE SHE WAS DANGEROUS TO OTHERS. And prevention is another reason/aspect of a just punishment. He could have either let her hang or use the opportunity to send a warning sign to all court ladies, as a preventive measure, what’s the prize of betrayal and WS has always been shown as a pragmatic - yes, CR’s punishment was cruel, ruthless but also shrews and brilliant. That’s why Gwangjong managed to rule for 26 years as an absolute rule, like a god over the whole country and no one dared to defy him; that’s why he managed to free do many slaves.


January 8th 1912: African National Congress founded

On this day in 1912 the South African political party, the African National Congress, was founded. The party began as the South African Native National Congress and was founded at the Waaihoek Wesleyan Church in Bloemfontein. The ANC aimed to fight for the rights of South African blacks who suffered daily discrimination and violence under the brutal apartheid system. In 1955 the ANC and its allies proclaimed the Freedom Charter, which set out the party’s core principles and commitment to equality and democracy, incorporating demands from regular South Africans. In 1961 the ANC formed a military wing called Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation), who resolved to fight apartheid through violence. The group gained traction as it was widely felt that nonviolent methods were not producing results while the white authorities continued to commit atrocities against black South Africans. Nelson Mandela was a major leader of this military wing and spent 27 years in prison for his role in the group, being labelled a terrorist by many Western nations. Upon his release, Mandela led the ANC in the successful negotiations to end apartheid, and was overwhelmingly elected President of South Africa in the first multi-racial elections in 1994. The ANC has governed South Africa since, currently under President Jacob Zuma, though the party’s electoral support has been waning in recent years. In 2013, Nelson Mandela died aged 95 and has been mourned around the world as a hero who fought for freedom in South Africa, and as a symbol of resistance for oppressed peoples everywhere.

“We, the People of South Africa, declare for all our country and the world to know: that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white, and that no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of all the people…”
- opening lines of the ANC’s 1955 Freedom Charter

I don’t get people who say Canadian politics is boring like wtf are you talking about: 

  • Our most successful PM was seriously into the occult and paid mediums to talk to his dead mother and dead dogs all of whom were named Pat [Pat I Pat II and Pat III] he also tried to talk to Leonardo Di Vinci 
  • During World War II Canadian forces, supplies and military connections were very important so both Churchill and FDR had to keep Mackenzie King a for mentioned PM happy but they both disliked him so they literally bitched about him to each other - King didn’t care all he wanted was the photo-op because that was his reelection - King only cared about winning 
  • Mackenzie King this dude alone is a riot okay, was in power long enough to cause one of the biggest constitutional crises in the commonwealth, not just Canada but the fucking commonwealth- but because of the dairies he kept all the crap he did came out,including the fact he believed in the occult, when he was alive know one knew it was his fault or that he was wacko 
  • King basically resigned when he was called out for corruption (he was corrupt baby) and so Canada didn’t have a PM for a bit (he got back into office through some shady moves and an election full of lies)
  • One of the turning points of a federal election was a picture that showed a possible PM looking nonathletic despite being an all star athlete 
  • Pierre Elliot Trudeau the man that created the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, brought home the constitution, also had a period of mass hysteria surrounding him called Trudeaumania - John Lennon himself admired Trudeau
  • Pierre though turned out to  be a bit of an egomaniac and an asshole to a lot of people - Alberta hated him big time
  • Trudeau’s wife, who was 20 something years younger than him left him while he was in office and started dating members of the rolling stones, and a Kennedy - big embarrassment for Trudeau who had to raise three kids on his own, one of whom becomes the PM himself (he didn’t do so bad as it turns out) 
  • Literally everything Pierre Trudeau did was entertaining af - he jumped on trampolines, danced infront of/disrespected the Queen, told people off, humiliated Alberta government officials like this dude was a straight up hippie at times, which was why he was elected the first time tbh 
  • Trudeau was also the only western leader to be friends with Castro - he did it in part to piss of the Americans (who did loss their shit) but Castro did end up Trudeau’s funeral 
  • We have had PM’s that lasted only a couple months - or days 
  • One of our PM wrote a book on Hockey and was a Hockey expert - idc what the rest of the world thinks that’s interesting k 
  • The same PM also had a picture done of him (not with permission but still) nude and it hung in a public library for a month - the PM’s response was he was a cat person not a dog person as it depicted him with a dog not a cat [its Harper okay I know why would someone paint him nude in the first place?]
  • In 2008 a separatist movement  was days away from getting significant power in federal government because the liberals and the NDP hated Harper so much - they joined forces with literal separatists
  • Canada has had a multiple separatist crises, but we just joke about it, the damn Quebecquers but they still to this day reelect separatist party members - Canada is basically divided between English Canada and French Canada - politics around this rivalry are intense 
  • Our first ever PM was a notorious alcoholic but he is beloved 
  • We have had a Noble Prize Winner as PM  
  • Our Party politics are notoriously sneaky, during 2008 the world economy was diving and newly elected PM Harper used that as a chance to try and destroy the liberal party - he almost lost his PMship post over it 
  • Plus inter-province rivalries are insane, the west hates Ontario and Quebec because they think they are the center of the world, and Ontario and Quebec hate each other and everyone else because we have to act like we are the center of the world + no one gives a shit about the territories 
  • A former conservative prime minster was rescued by a prominent liberal when he almost drowned in Barbados (where they both vacationed) his response was outrage at being saved by a liberal 
  • Currently our PM known for being hot and taking selfies but he elbowed someone during a parliament session ~ elbow gate
  • But truly Canadian politics is a blood sport - its party versus opposition, unlike the US you are facing off against your opponent on everything, all during the year
  • inter party rivalries are intense too - Stephen Harper formed the current conservative party by stabbing his own mentor in the back metaphorically speaking
  • Cretian ran again for PM partly to spite Paul Martin who had been trying to become liberal leader BTW Party discipline is the strongest in Canada so doing this is a major political risk

Dude this is barely half the shit that goes on in Canadian politics like, its hell of a lot more interesting than people give it credit for, but more importantly Canadians you should pay attention because it does affect you, and at times the rest of the world. 

“Make Some Friends that aren’t Brown” and other Microaggressions

There needs to be some serious discourse on this whole shaming of people only being friends “with their own kind” and views on “cultural enclaves.”

The first thing we need to address is how these “problems” are always associated with communities of colour. I have never heard this discourse happen about all-white friend circles. 

Secondly, it is not that these communities are drifting away, rather they are have been pushed away. Now I know how weird that may seem, since Canada has multiculturalism and pluralism basically entrenched in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the constitution, but the reality is that we have not understood the real meaning of multiculturalism or pluralism. We treat multiculturalism as learning about the different holidays people celebrate, the different foods people eat, the different faiths people practice, and the different languages people speak and that’s about it. We do not go deeper than that.

Let’s talk about the issue of friend circles, and let’s call it what it is: a microaggression. A friend of my sister’s once told me that a faculty member of the high school she goes to told her that she should “make friends that aren’t brown,” because she hangs out with a group made predominately of South Asians. Why does this bother people so much? Why does a faculty member think it is okay to comment about an all-brown friend group? Would they do so with an all-white friend circle? Probably not, but I’ll address this later on.

We make friends with people who we relate to the most, with whom we share something in common with, or with people who understand us. Now the question of all-white groups is a different one because we lie in a country where that is the hegemony. However, make to my drifting away/being pushed away rhetoric, all-PoC friend circles emerge as a result of disenfranchisement from “mainstream” (aka North American WASP- White Anglo Saxon Protestant) society.

It’s not that my sister’s friend purposely created a “browns only” exclusive club, rather it happened as a natural process of being pushed away for being different. When I said we do not go deep enough into the concept of plurality and multiculturalism, one of the main causes is mainstream society’s failure to understand that cultures are different and the dynamics within these communities is going to differ from one to the other. Therefore, when I am hanging out with a group made up of predominately white people and talk about having to go home early because my mother needs help at home and I get mocked for being a “Momma’s boy” and I am deemed immature because people see me as a loser living out of my mother’s pocket, I am slowly going to begin to disassociate with them because they do not understand me or my cultural values. They may know my people hold one of the biggest gatherings of Sikhs outside of our motherland every April in Surrey for Vaisakhi, they may know that we wear colourful clothing and eat foods rich with spices, but do not understand that the dynamics of a Punjabi household are not those of the mainstream white middle class nuclear families. We do not move out at a certain age, and that our household dynamic is focused around a multi-generational network, not one couple and their adolescent children. However, when I am surrounded by other South Asians and I have to leave early, they understand why as they share a common cultural dynamic. Naturally I’m going to feel more comfortable with that latter group because I do not feel attacked, and I can be myself rather than trying to explain myself. 

Such is the case with “cultural enclaves.” Many people get frustrated when they see Punjabi signs in South Van or Surrey, or Chinese signs in Richmond. However, what they don’t realize, because of the privilege they have of speaking the official language of the country they live in, is that as you get older your capacity and ability to learn a new language and be able to be fluent in it decreases exponentially. When you take an immigrant who has spoken a completely different language their entire life, and catapult them into a system where they are expected to speak an entirely different tongue, what you get is a giant culture shock. They will NOT be able to speak as fluently and clearly as a native English speaker, and rather than being understood in a society that is supposed to embody multiculturalism- and understand that languages outside of English exist- they are faced with xenophobia and impatience. I have seen way too many clerks and service workers get exasperated and belittle non-English speakers, and this may be a shocker to some folks, but constantly facing such treatment takes a toll on you. Hence, pushed away from society, people create a community within a community so that they may be able to function efficiently and with dignity. They can go buy bread, make a payment at the bank, or go to the doctor and be able to communicate everything efficiently in their mother tongue and not have to face ridicule.

Here in the Punjabi neighbourhoods of Surrey, my mom can walk around wearing a full salwar kameez and that’s the norm. When I go to Guildford Mall, I see uncles and guys my age rocking kurte pajame. If I were to cross the river wearing anything remotely “ethnic” though, I would face stares and looks. Forget a kurta pajama, as a practicing Sikh I always have a turban on my head, and even if I am wearing head-to-toe “western” clothing, the six meters of cotton around my head often make me a target for microaggressions, and sometimes even full-out aggressions, and the feeling of that almost constant vigilance takes a toll on you. Some days, as soon as I drive into my neighbourhood I breathe a sigh of relief knowing that I do not stick out here, that I am a part of a community here, and I do not need to worry about such constant vigilance. It’s at those moments that I realize that is cultural enclave I live in is not a result of my people being exclusive and not wanting to include Anglophone Canadians, rather this enclave is a result of a society that views itself as post-racial, when in reality it is still riddled with racist and ethnocentric ideologies and viewpoints. We saw this in the past too, 100 years ago when the Punjabi community first arrived on the shores of Vancouver, many Sikh men would only eat at Chinese restaurants because they did not face the racism from white-owned restaurants. The manner of the racism has become more discrete now, but the problem and the lack of dignity people feel is still there.

Every first of July, or whenever the concept of Canadian pride comes up, people bring up the pluralistic analogy Pierre Trudeau used when bringing in the Canadian Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms- Canada is a mosaic of people. However, one must understand that a true mosaic is made up of tiles that are each unique in shape and colour, and when you expect the tiles to all be the same, or when you cover up certain tiles and hide them with the grout that is meant to hold them up, what you have left is no longer a mosaic.

We need to let go of this idea that Canada is a perfect utopian multicultural society. Yes we have it legislated, but we must embody it too. We need to stop silencing people who attempt to bring such things into light, otherwise you are simply contributing to the problem. Analyze yourself and the microaggressions you hold. 

Stop blaming communities of colour for being in enclaves, and work to fix the society that has pushed them into such situations instead. 


The Last Hands to Touch the Declaration of Independence

When Chief of Conservation Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler retires in July, the last hands to have touched the Declaration of Independence will leave the National Archives. She has been with the agency since 1985.

The Declaration of Independence was sealed in a glass and metal case in the early 1950s when it was still in the custody of the Library of Congress. It wasn’t until the Rotunda’s renovation in 2001 that conservators had the opportunity to take the Charters of Freedom (the Declaration, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights) off of exhibit and think about next steps.

“There was the opportunity to think about whether or not the original encasement was still suitable in terms of long-term preservation needs,” Ritzenthaler recalled. “There was a piece of free-floating glass directly on top of the parchment to help keep it flat, so there was some worry about that.”

Along with now-retired conservator Kitty Nicholson, Ritzenthaler removed the Charters of Freedom from their earlier encasements to perform examinations and treatments.

“Over the course of its history, the Declaration of Independence was handled a great deal,” Ritzenthaler said. “From 1776 on, it’s traveled a great deal. It was on exhibit. In many cases, it was stored at the Department of State and brought up for people to see and to handle. And it kind of showed the effects of all of that over the years.”

Understandably, Ritzenthaler and Nicholson were a little nervous to unseal the encasements, given the status of the documents. They decided to examine the Constitution and the Bill of Rights first before taking on the Declaration of Independence.

“We left the Declaration until the very end because we wanted to build our knowledge and experience,” she said. “It was with a great deal of awe and kind of amazement that we were the privileged people to have this task. We were very fortunate. Not that many conservators or archivists in their lifetimes will get to handle such an amazing document.”

The conservators faced a number of challenges. Parchment is made of animal skin, which makes it very different from paper. Given its age and history of extensive travel, exhibition, and handling, the Declaration of Independence was not in good condition. There was also the challenge of opening the encasements.

“There were always some uncertainties in opening those older encasements because they didn’t come with an instruction book, so we had to figure out our way,” Ritzenthaler said. “There was a piece of glass sitting directly on top of the parchment, so the worry was that, even though we did not have any problem opening the six previous charters encasements, would the glass stick to the surface of the skin? Or would there be any ink flakes that would have attached to the glass? Neither of those things happened, so we were very fortunate.”

The conservators did not wear gloves when handling the parchment. “That surprises a lot of people because wearing gloves for certain kinds of artwork and photographs is a very good thing to do because you avoid fingerprinting,” Ritzenthaler said. “But with the parchment, we wanted to make sure that we were handling it as carefully as we could, and, sometimes, when you’re wearing gloves, you don’t have the same manual dexterity. So care was our big concern—and our hands were always clean!”

As Ritzenthaler prepares for retirement, she takes with her the experience of being one of very few people on the planet to have physically held the Declaration of Independence.

Keep reading at The Last Hands to Touch the Declaration of Independence | Prologue: Pieces of History »


On Friday, the Washington Capitals mascot, Slapshot, stopped by the National Archives. He posed in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom with David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and checked out the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and the Bill of Rights.

Go Caps!

National Archives photo by Jeffrey Reed

So the Catholic church has stepped into oppose Justin Trudeau’s mandate that all members of the Liberal Party of Canada should be pro-choice.

And rather than buckling to their will, his reply was that it was a party-leader’s job to abide by the Charter Rights and Freedoms and that it was a woman’s fundamental right to choose what happens to her own body and you know I think he might possibly be my favourite person in the entire world now.

Our Rights and Freedoms Threatened by Bill C51

Below are Sections of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which Bill C51 threatens.

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;
© freedom of peaceful assembly; and
(d) freedom of association.

7. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.

8. Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.

9. Everyone has the right not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned.

10. Everyone has the right on arrest or detention
(a) to be informed promptly of the reasons therefor;
(b) to retain and instruct counsel without delay and to be informed of that right; and
© to have the validity of the detention determined by way of habeas corpus and to be released if the detention is not lawful.

11. Any person charged with an offence has the right
(a) to be informed without unreasonable delay of the specific offence;
(b) to be tried within a reasonable time;
© not to be compelled to be a witness in proceedings against that person in respect of the offence;
(d) to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal;
(e) not to be denied reasonable bail without just cause;
(f) except in the case of an offence under military law tried before a military tribunal, to the benefit of trial by jury where the maximum punishment for the offence is imprisonment for five years or a more severe punishment;
(g) not to be found guilty on account of any act or omission unless, at the time of the act or omission, it constituted an offence under Canadian or international law or was criminal according to the general principles of law recognized by the community of nations;
(h) if finally acquitted of the offence, not to be tried for it again and, if finally found guilty and punished for the offence, not to be tried or punished for it again; and
(i) if found guilty of the offence and if the punishment for the offence has been varied between the time of commission and the time of sentencing, to the benefit of the lesser punishment.

12. Everyone has the right not to be subjected to any cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.

24. (1) Anyone whose rights or freedoms, as guaranteed by this Charter, have been infringed or denied may apply to a court of competent jurisdiction to obtain such remedy as the court considers appropriate and just in the circumstances.

(2) Where, in proceedings under subsection (1), a court concludes that evidence was obtained in a manner that infringed or denied any rights or freedoms guaranteed by this Charter, the evidence shall be excluded if it is established that, having regard to all the circumstances, the admission of it in the proceedings would bring the administration of justice into disrepute.

26. The guarantee in this Charter of certain rights and freedoms shall not be construed as denying the existence of any other rights or freedoms that exist in Canada.

52. (1) The Constitution of Canada is the supreme law of Canada, and any law that is inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution is, to the extent of the inconsistency, of no force or effect.

38. (1) An amendment to the Constitution of Canada may be made by proclamation issued by the Governor General under the Great Seal of Canada where so authorized by
(a) resolutions of the Senate and House of Commons; and
(b) resolutions of the legislative assemblies of at least two-thirds of the provinces that have, in the aggregate, according to the then latest general census, at least fifty per cent of the population of all the provinces.

I emailed my Liberal MP (I just moved out of an NDP riding) regarding my concerns around C-23 and received, what I assume is, a general response from his office…still, I’m pleased to receive a response and was wondering what your thoughts may be on it:

Thank you for writing to MP Terry Beech with your concerns regarding Bill C-23, An Act respecting the preclearance of persons and goods in Canada and the United States. Terry appreciates hearing from constituents about their concerns and priorities, and asked me to follow-up with you to provide greater details and clarifications on Bill C-23.

The Government knows that a secure but smoothly functioning border is absolutely essential to the economic prosperity of both Canada and the United States. Preclearance at Canadian airports, in place for several decades now, is an important advantage for Canadian travellers, as it helps to avoid lineups and delays, and also enables more direct flights between many Canadian cities and U.S. airports not otherwise equipped to receive international travellers, such as Ronald Reagan Airport in D.C. and LaGuardia in New York City.

Each year, 12 million passengers undergo preclearance at eight major Canadian airports, including YVR, with little incident. Due to the success of the program, Prime Minister Trudeau and then-President Obama concluded a new agreement in the spring of 2016 which creates a framework for the expansion of land, rail, marine, and air preclearance between both countries. The Obama administration and the Congress passed legislation implementing the agreement late last year. Bill C-23, introduced last June, is Canada’s own implementing legislation.

We’ve heard from several constituents with concerns about the bill’s effect on Canadian sovereignty and the rights of travellers, and wanted to clear a few things up. Very little will change between the existing system and the proposed framework.

Most importantly, Canadian law will continue to apply within preclearance areas at all times and preclearance operations conducted by American officers must comply with our laws, including the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Human Rights Act.

While U.S. preclearance officers would indeed be permitted to detain somebody if there were reasonable grounds to believe that the person has broken Canadian law, American officers would be required to transfer that person into Canadian custody as soon as feasible, which is already the case under the current system.

If a traveller in a preclearance area decides that they no longer wish to enter the United States, they are entitled to withdraw from the area and preclearance officers would be prohibited from imposing any unreasonable delay on the traveller. That being said, they would have the authority to question the traveller about their reason for withdrawal or take a photograph to establish identity. These are common-sense security measures which will not unduly inconvenience travellers.

In terms of Canadians’ rights and freedoms, Bill C-23 and preclearance facilities actually enhance them. Many travellers entering the United States would normally clear customs and immigration on the American side, subject only to that country’s laws. In preclearance facilities, however, travellers are protected by our own laws and both Canadian and American officers are subject to the requirements of the Charter.

Expanded preclearance is a very positive development for Canada’s thriving tourism and travel industries. It has been lauded by the Canadian, BC, and Quebec chambers of commerce, as well as travel operators such as Vancouver’s Rocky Mountaineer and Toronto’s Porter Airlines. This government will continue to work hard to promote economic growth and travellers’ interests, while upholding the Charter and Canadians’ fundamental rights and freedoms.

Once again, thank you for writing to Mr. Beech about Bill C-23 and preclearance. I hope that we were able to address your concerns. Please don’t hesitate to write again, should you have questions or comments on this subject or any other.

Best regards,

Stewart McGillivray
Member’s Assistant
Office of Terry Beech, MP

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard

Member of Parliament for Burnaby North-Seymour

Submitted by asbestoshazard

AlltheCanadianPolitics: Still doesn’t address all of my concerns about the bill. I’d be more ok with Mr. Beech’s reasoning if Hillary Clinton was in office, and not Trump. Border security guards in Trump’s America are already ‘acting rogue’ and disobeying federal judge’s rulings. I’m still very uncomfortable that we’re giving American Border guards the ability to carry weapons and detain suspects on Canadian soil.