Monday, October 20, 2008

What would Dief do with the HRCs?

Early on in his career, former Conservative Prime Minister John G. Diefenbaker recognized the threat to freedom of speech and individual liberty:

I was concerned in 1936 about the continuing extension of the powers of the Crown at the expense of the individual. My concern was greatly intensified by experiences during and after the Second World War. On 2 May 1946, I moved an amendment to the Citizenship Bill in an attempt to have a Bill of Rights included in its provisions. I wanted to see Canadians assured by statute of freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and the right to peaceable assembly; that habeas corpus should not be suspended except by Parliament; and that no one should be required to give evidence before any tribunal or commission at any time if denied counsel or other constitutional safeguards. My amendment was opposed by the King government.

"One Canada", Memoirs of the Right Honourable JGD, The Years of Acheivement 1957-1962, MacMillan of Canada, 1976 pg 252