(File photo)

Infringement of rights is in the eye of the beholder

As I expected it would, our IRICE cartoon last week got a reaction from a person in the community (and in many others, I’m sure).

It dealt with the issue of mask wearing and – because it’s an editorial cartoon, i.e., an opinion piece – it expressed the opinion that people refusing to wear masks on the grounds that it infringes our rights and freedoms are wrong.

The cartoon shows a judge searching for a law that protects peoples’ right to infect others with their germs. She states that she is unable to find one.

The person sending the email only signed it with their first name and last initial. We don’t run anonymous letters to the editor or letters from people who try to hide behind a partial name.

However, because the response to the cartoon and its point of view is predictable and expected, I thought I’d touch on the emailer’s contents and include and extrapolate on my reply.

The letter calls us to shame for the cartoon because it is offensive “to our veterans who fought so hard (and lost their lives) to protect our Charter of Rights and Freedoms for which you (and the creator of this cartoon) show a disgusting lack of respect.”

“Next Remembrance Day,” the writer continues, “do not sanctimoniously pretend to honour our veterans and what they fought for. Instead, be honest and tell them that you’ve decided that freedom isn’t all that important, and everything they fought for takes a back seat to whatever is the threat of the day.”

I tend to let things roll off my back but I’m getting a bit tired of doing that.

Requiring you to wear a mask to combat a virus is not an infringement on your rights and freedoms. You don’t have the right to engage in activities that are dangerous to your fellow citizens (never mind yourself).

Are seatbelt laws an infringement of your rights? Are theft and murder laws? Are sanitary rules in restaurants?

It’s only a piece of cloth (or paper) for goodness sakes. You can still talk. You can still vote for whatever party you want. You can still walk down the street in relative safety.

RELATED: VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

I’m certain our veterans are very supportive of mask provisions during the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. They fought to protect our country and allowed it to develop the Charter of Rights in Freedoms (in the post-WWII period) which protects many freedoms, INCLUDING the provision (Section 7) that protects Life, Liberty and the Security of the Person.

According to constitutional scholar Eric Adams, who said in an Alberta newspaper, Section 7 protects the Life, Liberty and Security of the Person at risk of dying from the coronavirus, including our elderly (a group which, notably, our veterans are part of) and other vulnerable groups (healthcare workers).

But it is also not limited to the elderly. It can affect us all.

It is well established that our Charter of Rights are subject to reasonable limits and that governments will have to pursue objectives which sometimes limit those rights and freedoms, often in the name of the public good. Because of our veterans’ sacrifice we have governments in power that take action to protect its citizens during times of conflict, disasters and health emergencies.

When a government orders you to evacuate your home during a natural disaster, is that an infringement on your rights and freedoms?

To quote the fictional Mr. Spock of Star Trek fame: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” In this case, it’s the rights of the many outweighing the perceived rights of the few.

Our veterans fought for a country that has a government that works to protect its people from both international enemies and from natural disasters. If more than 18,000 Canadians died at the hand of a gunman, or a building collapsed or a particular model of airplane was prone to crashing, we would be asking our government how this was allowed to happen?

Again, I reiterate, it’s only a piece of cloth. And it protects you as much as it protects me but I know you’ve heard all of this before so my repeating it will not change your point of view. You will just have to continue feeling that your government is oppressing you.

Or protecting you. It will depend on how you choose to see things.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

RELATED: ‘Stay the course’ with COVID measures, Island Health reminds


@AlstrT
editor@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Campbell RiverCoronavirus

Just Posted

Wayne Allen's graduation photo from Chemainus Secondary School. (Photo submitted)
Brother charged with murder in Chemainus teenager’s Ontario death

Jesse James Allen stands accused in the death of Wayne Allen, a 2020 Chemainus Secondary grad

Kim McGregor died in the Feb. 14 hit-and-run accident in Chemainus. (Photo submitted)
Victim identified in Valentine’s Day Chemainus hit-and-run

Kim McGregor grew up in Chemainus and had recently returned to be close to his parents

Tyson Popove placed second in his category at the Mt. Washington Viewtour Virtual Slopestyle event. Photo by Shawn Corrigan
10-year-old soars high above Mount Washington, slopestyle

Campbell River skier Tyson Popove goes big in ski hill’s virtual competition

Carolyn Howe, a kindergarten teacher and vice president of the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association, says educators are feeling the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic and the influx of pressure that comes with it. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Stress leave, tears and insomnia: Island teachers feel the strain of COVID-19

Teachers still adjusting to mask and cleaning rules, pressures from outside and within

A beautiful sunny afternoon showcasing Mount Cain in all its glory. (Kimberley Kufaas Photography)
Mount Cain gets grant funding to construct new day lodge

The North Island ski hill has been awarded $874,000.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Bryan Adams with his mom, Jane Adams Clark, at Lions Gate Hospital. (Bryan Adams)
Bryan Adams gives shout out to North Shore hospital

The singer’s mom was in Lions Gate Hospital for care

Shoppers will be able to get their hands on signed bottles of Ryan Reynolds’ new gin at B.C. liquor stores this summer. (Twitter/Ryan Reynolds)
Ryan Reynold’s new Aviation Gin autographed and coming to B.C. stores

This summer 100 bottles will be available to the public for purchase across five B.C. liquor stores

Several BC Ferries sailings are cancelled Friday morning due to adverse weather. (Black Press Media File)
BC Ferries cancels all sailings between Vancouver Island, mainland

Adverse weather causes cancellations across several BC Ferries routes

A 50-year-old man was stabbed in an altercation that started with a disagreement about physical distancing. (File photo)
Argument about physical distancing leads to stabbing in Nanaimo

Suspect arrested on Gabriola Island an hour after incident Wednesday, Feb. 24

An official investigation will be launched after VPD officers were recorded posing near a dead body at Third Beach on Wednesday morning, Feb. 24. (Screen grab/Zachary Ratcliff)
VIDEO: Vancouver officers under review for allegedly laughing, taking pictures next to dead body

Two officers were caught on video by a local beachgoer Wednesday morning in Stanley Park

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
‘Stay local’: Dr. Henry shoots down spring break travel for British Columbians

B.C. is reportedly working with other provincial governments to determine March break policies

“Our biggest challenge has been the amount of vaccine,” said FNHA acting chief medical officer Dr. Shannon McDonald. (First Nations Health Authority Facebook photo)
All First Nations on reserve to be vaccinated by end of March: First Nations Health Authority

Vaccinations continuing for B.C. First Nations amid shortages

Site C will go ahead, one year later and $5.3 billion more, the NDP announced Feb 26. (BC Hydro image)
B.C. NDP announces Site C will go ahead with new $16B budget

Reviews recommend more oversight, beefed up foundation stability work

Most Read