Canada ‘no better than Nazi Germany’
Pro-lifer arrested for protest in abortion clinic tells court
Mary Wagner’s claim that Canada is like Nazi Germany is a provocative one.
In an age of inflammatory speech where we regularly hear comparisons of every action someone opposes to the worst conduct in living memory, it is easy to dismiss it as just another instance of a ‘reductio ad Hitlerum’. Pro-life activist Mary Wagner appears to be engaging in a fallacious form of argument, along the lines of an ad hominem, ad misericordiam, or a fallacy of irrelevance.
But dismissing Wagner’s claim without attending to the details of what she says is a form of the same fallacy. Wagner’s claim is that her conscience requires her to speak against an unjust law that permits the murder of innocent preborn humans. The charge is serious.
And Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees her to act in accordance with the freedom of her conscience. It also guarantees her freedom of assembly. These are fundamental Charter rights.
Mary Wagner’s rights are repeatedly being violated on a technicality. She is defying the court’s order about staying away from abortion centres. There is no doubt that she is doing that.
Does the court have the power to make such an order? It does.
Does it have the right to do so? That is a more important question.
On what basis does it have such a right? The authority of the Magistrate? Is that authority not bound by the fundamental laws of the land? Is it not bound by the preamble to the Charter, which declares that it acknowledges the supremacy of God?
If Wagner’s fundamental Charter rights can be curtailed on a mere appeal to the Court’s authority – appeals to authority being a form of fallacious argument – then what does it say about the standing of everyone’s Charter Rights in Canada? Can they too be set aside by an arbitrary judicial decree?
Is the judge himself not subject to law, or can he simply make appeals to his own authority that nullify a person’s fundamental rights? That is the question that all Canadians should be asking.
If judges are not bound to the terms of the Charter, perhaps Canada is no better than Nazi Germany.
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