Friday, July 24, 2009

Abuse of Charter prevented

The Supreme Court of Canada voted today by a 4-3 margin that Hutterites, a sect who believe that being photographed willingly is sinful, are obliged to have a picture on their driving licenses. And it was the right decision. To do otherwise would have gone against the Charter.

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms has been abused in significant ways in the past. Remember Mark Steyn's article on Islam, and the incensed complaints to the Human Rights Commissions over an infringement of the Charter? That was ridiculous, and an outcome favouring the Hutterite position today would have been a worthy equal.

If photographic identification is not provided on these licenses we may as well not bother with them. Let the four year olds drive! Okay, that's not what the Hutterites were asking for, but abuse of the system would be simple without photo ID. How can the police enforce the system if they don't have this crucial information? It's impossible.

That is any other ruling would have been inadmissible. In the Charter, the Guarantee of Rights and Freedoms states that it "guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society."

In other words, any rights or freedoms can be limited by reasonable demands of the law if they are justified, and photo ID is clearly such a limit. Were the judges to vote in favour of the Hutterites, they would have been disregarding the Charter, and that was the basis of the Hutterites plea!

If only people would read that first clause of the Charter...
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