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JONESIE: Oh, you're concerned about liberties, huh?

February 05, 2021 - 12:03 PM



So public health officials and governments have imposed restrictions to stop a pandemic and now you’re concerned about your rights.

You’ve taken to the street or social media to condemn those who see following these restrictions not as some personal imposition but as a civic duty, to do their part for their families, communities, province and country.

You wheeze and moan about your liberties, the law, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and call the rest of us 'sheeple'.

Well, where were you when First Nations in this country were cheated out of land, liberty, education, place and autonomy, promises from your government since before we had one, broken time and time again including as recently as today?

Where were your protest signs when local governments and police started setting up surveillance cameras in public spaces?

Where’s your concern about government overreach when journalists tell you about governments failing to honour open government and release documents?

When we told you people are being murdered in your city and the RCMP now believe they don’t have to tell you about it, you said nothing. We told you the RCMP is now almost entirely unaccountable to the public for their actions and you shrugged it off. We told you about RCMP schemes to induce suspected criminals to commit other crimes and you were fine with that.

Nothing to say about mandatory minimum sentences? About laws that impose criminal sanctions on people who haven’t been convicted of crimes? About addicts forced by law to rely on a poisonous drug supply?

B.C. has created a separate system for ‘impaired driving’ cases that denies basic fair trial rights. Citizens are paying huge penalties for wide open ‘distracted driving’ laws for storing phones in cupholders. Local governments are knocking on doors to hand out expensive tickets under the presumption you were late registering your dog. Crown prosecutors in this province wield ridiculous amounts of power with zero accountability. The laws in this country make it nearly impossible to sue and win for medical malpractice. The number of journalists in Canada, the people trained to watch out for your rights and liberties, has been decimated.

These things don’t bother you because you haven’t been inconvenienced in the slightest. Your concerns arise only because you are expected to contribute and you refuse and that makes you a terrible arbiter of justice, rights and individual liberties.

I’m honestly curious what circumstances you would allow our governments to impose restrictions. Does the death rate of a fast-spreading disease need to be higher? If so, how much higher? You're concerned that hospitals aren't even full, which is precisely what we are trying to achieve, so how full would you like them before agreeing to help the cause? What about in case of a wildfire when police force people from their homes, would you ignore those orders? What about an impending threat of aggression from another country?

If you recall, all of this started with a plea. Dr. Bonnie Henry asked us all to do our part with some simple asks. The emergency powers of government and restrictions were only imposed when it was clear people were ignoring them. These powers are available only under a State of Emergency. And I and any journalist left in the country will be watching closely if they try to hang onto any of these powers. That's when you should be concerned.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for asking questions. I’ve got skepticism in my DNA. The best citizens question their governments. But questions are easy. They are not answers. And when you get answers, the hard part is the assessment of the information. You don’t wake up one day and suddenly understand how and why government works or how it’s supposed to work. Being pissed off isn't a qualification either. And using your lack of that knowledge as some excuse for cynicism is not only moronic, it’s dangerous.

You can ignore the cameras and the First Nations and the RCMP, but ignoring health orders not only delays attaining anything close to normal, it puts the health of other people at risk. The very least you can do is avoid spreading your ignorance about government, the Charter, liberties, science or vaccines to avoid spreading like its own plague.

— Marshall Jones is the Managing Editor of

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