Tag Archives: charter of rights and freedoms

Body Armour Control Act


On October 20, Kash Heed, the Solicitor General of British Columbia, introduced new legislation that would effectively ban body armour in the province of BC (see here for the news story).

To put it rather bluntly, Bill 16-2009 (Body Armour Control Act) is an abomination of legislation that should never have seen the light of day.  In an effort to reduce gang violence, Mr Heed has proposed that only those who can prove a legitimate need for body armour should be allowed to purchase and possess it in BC.  Additionally, the legislation proposes that the province should create a permit system and a registry to keep track of all citizens who are legally allowed to own body armour.  Anyone found to be in illegal possession of this armour could face up to a $10,000 fine and/or 6 months in jail.

I can see several problems with this proposed law, right off the top.

1)  There’s this pesky little document known as the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and Section 7 goes something like this:

“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.”

Somehow I really don’t think that the government’s argument, that a passive safety device needs to be restricted just because a criminal might use it, really qualifies as a “principle of fundamental justice”.

2)  The logic (and I use that word very loosely) employed by Mr Heed, is that if access to body armour is restricted, gangsters will no longer be able to use it, taking away their “sense of security”, and therefore reducing the number of shootings in our cities.

By that same “logic”, in order to reduce high speed chases, we should ban seatbelts.  After all, without them, criminals would no longer feel “safe” speeding and would stop running away from police.  Right??

Does anyone else smell the BS?

3)  By definition, a gangster is a criminal.  They have proven time and again that they have no regard for the laws of our society.  So by what stretch of the imagination does the Solicitor General believe that even one single gang member will abide by this one?  If, for some unlikely reason, a criminal wasn’t able to purchase body armour on the black market within BC, it wouldn’t exactly be a hardship to legally purchase it in either Alberta or the Yukon.  The last time I checked, there wasn’t a manned border between provinces and territories in this country.

4)  Say a criminal is caught committing a crime, and the crown throws the book at him, charging him with every firearm, weapon and body armour offense they can think of.  Do you really think he’ll ever be convicted of any of those lesser charges?  Of course not.  As has already been proven time and again with the Firearms Act, the lesser charges will be plea-bargained away in order to make the “important” charge stick.

So under this proposed new law, as usual, it will only be the general public who are convicted.  It will be the men and women who innocently forget to renew their permit, or make a simple mistake on their forms, who will suffer.  They are the ones who will be found guilty, convicted of “paper crimes”, while the real criminals go about business as usual.

5)  As I previously mentioned, one of the key components of this proposed Act is a permit and registry system.  Everyone who has a legitimate need for body armour will have to fill out a form and apply for a permit to possess body armour.  Every person who is deemed eligible to possess body armour will be recorded in a database. It will be that person’s responsibility to keep the permit current, and to ensure that all the information contained in the registry is correct.

So, where is the money to operate this permit and registry system going to come from?  Setting up the permit office(s) and starting the registry will be an expensive proposition, and that money will be coming straight out of the taxpayer’s pockets.  At a time when the global economy is in turmoil, you’d think the government could find something better to spend our money on.

6)  Continuing on the theme of the registry, one more question comes to mind: How does making a list of law-abiding citizens have any affect whatsoever on crime?  I’m sure the criminals are just shaking in their boots right now thinking about this proposed new law.  Shaking with laughter that is.  Our government and lawmakers are going to be so busy making lists of honest people that they’re not going to have time to go after the criminals!

This Bill has just passed first reading in the provincial legislature, so there is still time to try and stop it.  Even if it does pass (which I’m afraid it will), it would likely be overturned on a Charter Appeal.  But it shouldn’t need to be.

Why do our lawmakers insist on continually putting forward such flawed legislation?  If I, an average Jane, can immediately see so many holes in their argument, why can’t they?  Our leaders can’t really be this naïve and misguided can they?

There is a part of me that still wants to believe that these are just honest men and women doing the best they can for our society.  But the jaded cynic in me is winning out.  I can’t help but wonder why every single new law seems to strip away more of our rights.  I can’t help but wonder why so many people are so eager to willingly give up their basic freedoms. 

What makes me really sick though, is that this gradual erosion of our rights, always seems to be done in the name of “public safety”.  Call me crazy, but here’s a thought: if our leaders are truly interested in public safety, shouldn’t they be focusing on the criminals, rather than making lists of the innocent?

Public Safety is Everyone’s Responsibility


~Benjamin Franklin~  “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” 

This evening I watched “Guns”, a CBC miniseries that deals with gun violence on the streets of Toronto.  I’m not going to go into the merits of the show, which was rather one-dimensional to say the least.  The reason I bring it up, is because it really drove home a point for me.  The show starts off with a shooting on a busy street which results in innocent people being hurt.  For the next three hours the predominant message from the victims is “Someone needs to do something about all the guns” and “They need to stop this gun violence”.

Leaving the gun politics alone, I’d like you to please read those two sentences again and really let them sink in.

  • Someone needs to do something
  • They need to stop this

We hear those lines all the time, every day, in almost every single newscast.  A victim or a family member is interviewed after some crime, and it’s always the same, “Someone needs to do something.” 

How did our country get to this point?  When was it that people gave up responsibility for their own safety and well-being?  When did we, as a nation, decide to entrust our very lives to someone and they?  And who exactly are the elusive someone and they?

Well I have a newsflash.  Someone is you.  Someone is me.  They is each and every one of us.  The police can’t be everywhere at once, nor should they be expected to be.  It is not their job to protect us.  It is their job to maintain order, and they do that by attempting to catch criminals after a crime has been committed.  

I remember when I was a little girl, the message was simple: if someone tries to hurt you, fight back and hurt them more.  One of my earliest memories is of my Dad teaching me how and where to hit someone if they tried to abduct me. 

The message is very different today.  Submit.  Don’t anger your attacker.  Just give them what they want.  Be a good victim and call the police after the dust settles.

There is no doubt that submission is sometimes the best course of action.  But it shouldn’t be the only course of action.  Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms grants us the right to life, liberty and security of person.  Every human being has a very clear and unassailable right to self defense.  Unfortunately, years of left-wing governments have legislated away our ability to carry any of the tools that would help us to exercise that right.   Even carrying pepper spray for self defense is prohibited by law in Canada.

So where does that leave us?  We are now a society where only the criminals and police are armed and the citizens have been trained to meekly submit.  People seem to have forgotten that the role of government is to maintain public order.  Its role is not to act as nanny, providing for our every need and want with an endless progression of laws designed to protect us from ourselves.

Public safety begins with each and every one of us.  It is up to us to accept responsibility for our own lives, safety and well-being.  Rather than looking for the mysterious someone or they to blame or make things better, everyone should take a good long look in the mirror.  You are the only person on this earth who can keep yourself safe.  And the sooner the people of this country start to realize that, the safer our country will be.