June 26th, 2019

Guest Column: The first thing to go

By Medicine Hat News Opinon on April 8, 2019.

Over many centuries, populations around the world worked to find a sustainable means of governing. Some succeeded and many did not. Many are still striving to achieve democracy and others have lost what they once had. Some still struggle to maintain communist or socialist regimes even though they traditionally fail in the end. Socialism looks good on paper so many young citizens strive to create that regime for their future in spite of overwhelming evidence that it turns into apathy, dictatorship, and eventually ruin. Balance of power among branches of government is essential to maintain good government and freedom. Everyone or at least a majority must agree to a set of principles and restrictions that are enforced on all citizens equally. That is called the rule of law.

The elected officials are the law makers and the justice branch consisting of police and prosecutors enforce those laws. Those laws must be enforced equally, fairly and diligently as implied by the statue of lady justice who shows balance and is blindfolded. Once created, the law must be enforced without bias or political interference.

In recent years there has been a growing movement that believes that it is acceptable to ignore or disregard some laws if the cause is deemed to be sufficiently important or urgent. In other words some believe they and their beliefs to be morally superior to the masses and that justifies ignoring the rule of law. There is a process in place for changing our law and that is the way it should be handled. Ignoring laws we don’t like can be a slippery slope to socialism and dictatorship. Those who do so seek power for themselves and seek to impose the beliefs they think are morally superior to the ignorant masses.

We have seen speakers at universities shouted down because a small group did not like what they were saying or they simply disagree. There is no support for free speech but a desire to silence those they believe are spreading hateful thoughts or ideas. In a democracy, they have a right to protest but not to disrupt. The disrupters should be arrested and charged but we often see police standing around watching it happen. This could be at the direction of a weak-kneed police chief who thinks it is more important to avoid confrontation than to protect the rights of the speaker or it could be a the direction of politicians or university leaders who are in sympathy with the disruptors. Once the protesters get away with breaking the law once, it will be easier the next time.

Political interference in our justice system is on a road leading to the end of democracy. SNC-Lavalin is accused of law breaking and should face their accusers as was directed by the Justice Department. If political interference allows them to avoid that, how long will it be before the next company expects the same consideration? In the interests of fair competition, all will seek the same advantage through illegal methods.

Some states in the United States have legalized marijuana even though it is still illegal federally. They have allowed millions of people to stay in the U.S. illegally and don’t know how to turn that around now. It would not have been an issue if they had not allowed the law to be ignored the first time. Many cities and some states in the U.S. have declared themselves to be sanctuary cities where they protect illegal immigrants including those who have committed serious crimes.

In Canada, we encourage laws to be broken by endorsing safe injection sites while arguing while it saves lives. It would do more to save lives if we locked up the law breakers and insured that they were treated while in custody. This could be done without breaking or ignoring our laws. If we really want to allow people to use drugs, the proper way to do that is change the law, not ignore it.

Allowing our law to be ignored thwarts responsibility and accountability. The law is the agreed upon limits to freedom that are needed to ensure a civil society. By ignoring the law, we give up our freedom to those who wish to seize that power and run the world in their way without consideration for the views and freedoms of the majority.

Politicians and police who believe that allowing our laws to be ignored while claiming they are being compassionate are failing to understand that they are slowly giving over the power of the people to the few who wish to impose their will on the majority and are seriously endangering our freedom and democracy.

Paul McLennan moved to Alberta more than 20 years ago as a member of the RCMP. He remained in Alberta after retirement in 2002, taught driving part time and settled in Medicine Hat in 2011..

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