Thursday, March 13, 2008

To covenant or not to be...

Sometimes, you'd rather just sit at home and look at pictures from one of your favorite artists. Sometimes you'd rather you had invested everything in gold, now at a thousand dollars an ounce, forgetting that we inevitably need also rely on our fellow man and put our faith in shared national covenants if we are to live in anything other than a tyranny of big men and ideologies. The price of gold keeps going up as the world loses faith in the inter-national leadership of the American covenant.

And here one finds the Covenant Zone bloggers, meeting each Thursday in the atrium of the central branch of the Vancouver Public Library, 7-9 pm, in front of Blenz Coffee, wearing blue scarves. Here we are in a city that is probably home to more gold promoters per capita than any other North American city enjoying the steady fruits of the civilizing covenants of our forebears.

How much longer can we keep our faith in something other than the preciousness of certain metals? I had the odd experience this week of touring the Vancouver Gift Show with a woman who couldn't commit to buying any of the many costume jewelry on display, because it all is sure to tarnish upon lengthy contact with human skin. To give such a gift would be to lose face, when one has sisters-in-law who expect more.

If gold holds value, it is only because someone is willing to trade for it because some covenant somewhere must always be renewed through exchange. But the more we learn this lesson, the less value gold will hold, which is no knock on those who hold gold that we may hold on to something...

But such is the way of all covenants, all signs we share in order to keep order and peace in our society: nothing human lasts forever but must be continually, actively, renewed. To succeed is simply to renew the challenge to our shared faith as we further develop the signs of our shared faith and ask others to sign on. Only in failure, or in faith in violence, can one hope to find a sure, if deadly, thing. The culture of shared life is inherently uncertain, paradoxical.

I am continually amazed by the times in which we live, the revelations into the erosion of our national covenant. How can one not read Ezra Levant's tales of the erosion of the rule of law by Utopian hatemongererers (those who have the gall to believe they can defend human rights by abrogating, without the rule of law, the rights of those they deem to be hatemongerers - follow the links, and you shall see... it is one thing if a responsible, transparent, and duly elected leader goes to war, qualifying rights along the way; but when unaccountable bureaucrats do it, we need to go to war with them...)

But then I am not really amazed, bloggers are really only "amazed" as a literary device, because this kind of thing is inevitable; we know that erosion is the way of the world, that the first rule is that nothing human lasts forever. Those who cannot renew their sacred truths must give way to those who can.

I will never be able to tell exactly how this renewal can happen for those of us who want to avoid for Canadians a future in which the nation lies on the cusp of death and like the Jews of today, we must quickly now decide once again, and maybe for the last time, to be or not. When that event comes, it will not be completely predictable. When it comes to your neighborhood, one will either be ready or not. One will either have faith in a shared covenant, where every individual is to be protected by the universal rule of our law, or one will believe in the inevitability of brute force or Utopian imperial schemes, or appeasement of those who cry bloody murder to manipulate emotions, without the rule of law. There is the sword and there is love of individual hands and arms and heads that surpasses all love of any neatly divided up and ritualized way of life.

You don't need a plan if you have others who will act in the name of a covenant that is always just being born when the unpredictable time and place demands it. If you don't yet have those others, your plan to help them approach the light must begin in uncertain faith.

Today, I received a letter from Keith Martin, MP, entitled "Please keep fighting against Section 13":
Thank you for writing me to express your support for the motion I recently introduced (M-446) regarding section 13(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA). As a Member of Parliament, I am encouraged that my motion has brought more public attention to this issue and it is my hope that it will spur action within Parliament.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) was created in the 1970s with laudable objectives. At that time, we still had a society marred by bigotry and ignorance. As a dark-skinned immigrant myself, I know from painful, personal experience what it feels like to be on the receiving end of those beliefs. The Commission was originally created with the noble intent to investigate when people were allegedly being discriminated against as they sought employment or housing. However, the poorly crafted section 13(1) of the CHRA, has enabled the Commission to move into an entirely different area - investigating, prosecuting and fining people who communicate anything that someone else takes offence to. In other words, if an individual feels offended by what somebody has written, they can go to the Commission, lodge a complaint and the Commission's lawyers will investigate the case at taxpayers' expense. Although the plaintiff pays nothing, the defendant must defend themselves with their own money, and if they are found guilty, they must pay fines out of their own pocket and can be subjected to lifetime bans on their ability to talk about certain issues.

In the three decades of the CHRC's existence, not a single defendant has been acquitted; not one. The Commission has a staggering 100% conviction rate. Interestingly, more than half of the complaints have been launched by just one person ¬- a former employee of the CHRC.

In our country, we already have laws that protect citizens against slander, libel, discrimination and hate crimes. Civil suits, which are adjudicated through the courts, are another recourse for people when these laws are violated. But the Commission is using section 13(1) to investigate and prosecute people who they deem to have offended somebody. The Commission incidentally is accountable neither to the Canadian public, nor Parliament. They have their own rules where the balance that exists in our courts between prosecutor, judge and jury do not exist.

Thankfully, we have the right in our country to be free of slander, discrimination and hate crimes. However, we do not have the right to not be offended. Independent commissions that prosecute people for writings that do not meet the test of being a hate crime, slander or libel, is a very slippery slope indeed. To fix the problem, section 13(1) should be either amended, or deleted entirely.

Once again, thank you for taking time to share your thoughts with me.


Dr. Keith Martin, P.C., M.P.
Esquimalt - Juan de Fuca
It's time to join Keith Martin and Ezra Levant in fighting for the covenant that free individuals must share. If you can write a letter, Blazing Cat Fur notes that the Canadian "Human Rights" Commission is presently requesting your submission.

There are sick and wounded in our ranks this week, but some of us will be out again tonight, in the atrium of the library, 7-9 pm, in front of Blenz Coffee.

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