The Andrew Lawton Show
In the last two years, the federal government have vastly expanded their power in the name of public health, and constitutional challenges have thus far been unsuccessful at stopping it. It still stands to be seen whether courts will condemn Justin Trudeau’s invocation of the Emergencies Act, which was used to conscript tow truck drivers, limit free expression, and freeze bank accounts. In an Epoch Times op-ed, constitutional lawyer Bruce Pardy and economist Patricia Adams write that Canada needs a new constitution. Pardy and Adams joined True North’s The Andrew Lawton Show for an in-depth discussion about the similarities between Canada and China when it comes to social credit, press freedom, and the rise of the state.
A Quick Dip into the Discussion
Host Andrew Lawton begins with a trip down memory lane, the brief lane that leads to the Ottawa Freedom Convoy and Justin Trudeau invoking the Emergencies Act, the instant crackdown on the streets of Ottawa and the bank accounts of people across the country.
“And despite the promise of oversight and scrutiny, we really haven’t seen that just yet,” says Lawton.
Long-time China watcher, Patricia Adams, executive director of Probe International, finds the heavy-handed measures by the Canadian government are “very similar to what our colleagues in China also face.”
Patricia recalls her colleagues issuing a charter in 2008, modelled on the Czechoslovakia Charter 77, that called for many of the protections Canadians thought we had. She continues:
“Our colleagues, who we’ve worked with for 30 years – journalists, lawyers, accountants, economists – have tried to model reforms in [China] based on those that we have. Well, ours are not working very well and I think it comes as a surprise to them … that we don’t have a Chinese Communist Party censorship system but we have censorship in our mainstream media. How does that happen? It’s very puzzling to them. We seem to be becoming a lot more like China.
There’s been an erosion of our rights in Canada that’s very disturbing to me. It seems like the trendline is not a good one.”
Bruce Pardy, the executive director of Rights Probe and Queen’s University law professor, says that the government by “doing things indirectly” avoids infringing Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Citing Covid as an example, Bruce says the government is “not holding you down and making you get a jab or firing you if you don’t” get vaccinated, but is instead providing the authority to other parties to do that, such as employers.
“When people come up and say, ‘I’m being forced to vaccinate against my consent,’ well … that’s not exactly true. You have liberty, you have security of the person. It’s not clear that those rights have been directly infringed.
It’s done strategically and done carefully, so that the constitutional protections that we appear to have, don’t seem to work.”
Of great concern to both Bruce and Pat is where an aggressive, expanding administrative state might lead.
In terms of censorship, Bruce says the government of Canada doesn’t have to pass a statute forbidding what the media can or cannot say because they don’t have to. It’s understood. Says Bruce:
“The government is subsidizing the legacy media. The more influence and control the government has, in fact, the less explicit the instruction has to be. If you’re a certain kind of media outlet, you know where your interests lie. And there’s very much a shared ideology in all of these institutions. Not very much pushing has to happen.
But when your government, your business interests and your media are all on the same page about what is true and what is good, you are likely to fall into a situation where dissent from that belief will get you into hot water.”
And that’s just for starters …
Bruce Pardy is the executive director of Rights Probe (RightsProbe.org) and professor of law at Queen’s University.
Patricia Adams is an economist and the President of the Energy Probe Research Foundation and Probe International, an independent think tank in Canada and around the world.