God and the Charter

One could get the impression that the God clause in our Charter of Rights was presented on stone tablets.

On reading John Chambers’ recent letter to the editor (‘Lost on Trudeau’, The NEWS, July 29), one could get the impression that the God clause in the preamble to our Charter of Rights was presented to our founding fathers on stone tablets delivered by a bearded prophet sent from on high.

The truth is that this nod to the Judeo-Christian religion in our Constitution was the result of some stealthy, back-room horse trading between Jake Epp, a Conservative evangelical MP, and Trudeau, the elder. The latter was initially cool to the suggestion as he did not believe there was any place for a deity’s name in a secular government document that ostensibly had equality as its cornerstone. It would also contradict Section 2 of the Charter itself promising freedom of religion. However, when party minions warned him that his “God objection” would be a vote loser, his political instinct took over and he caved. Besides, he figured nobody would notice.

And Pierre Trudeau was right. Hardly anyone did notice, except for the religious zealots who would swing this constitutionally-endorsed God reference like a billy club at anyone who dared to remonstrate that Canada is a secular nation.

Therefore, in 1997, we and some like-minded friends, initiated a petition to remove this religiously-biased and contradictory clause from the preamble to the Charter of Rights, and it was presented to the House of Commons in 1999 by NDP MP Svend Robinson. This resulted in a nation-wide controversy that went as viral as you could get in those days and Robinson was severely reprimanded and sent to the back benches in public disgrace by his NDP leader, Alexa McDonough. He had committed the unthinkable — he had associated himself with a vote loser.

We never expected our petition to be passed, but we were successful in bringing an awareness of this Constitutional bias to thousands of Canadians, many of whom were religious themselves and were in agreement that no true democracy should legislate any god or gods into its supreme law.

A trivial matter, some might say. Maybe not, as more and more courts today are turning to the Constitution for guidance when being called upon to make morality-based judgments. Can we be guaranteed these judgments won’t be based on Biblical morality? Now, there’s a chilling thought.

Fern and Laurence Wayman

Qualicum Beach

Just Posted

B.C. storm totals $37M in insured damages

The December storm wreaked havoc on B.C.’s south coast

Qualicum Beach council big on support for multi-use cinema proposal

Society asks for 10,000 square feet, gets recommendation to consider with strategic plan

Lincoln stolen from Parksville dealership found near Duncan

Vehicle was located three days later with minor damage

Ballenas student experiment going into space

Science experiment designed by five SD69 students will travel to International Space Station

Fire engulfs trailer, vehicle and home in Bowser

The fire began around 6:45 p.m. at a property on Laurel Crescent

First Nation supporters march to Horgan’s MLA office

Dozens marched across the Greater Victoria community of Langford to support the Wet’suwet’en people

Thieves steal thousands from 140 Coast Capital Savings members

Online fraud tactics included phising and ‘brute force’ in November and December

Daredevil changes game plan to jump broken White Rock pier

Brooke Colby tells council daredevil event would help boost waterfront business

Pregnant B.C. firefighter tries to save own house that caught fire

Julia Flinton and Anthony Sellars both worked on the 2017 wildfires

Theresa May wins no-confidence vote after Brexit deal rejection

UK PM can keep her job, after House of Commons voted 325-306

North Cowichan will host national rowing centre starting October 2020

Saanich’s bid for national rowing centre at Elk Lake sunk

Liberal candidate steps aside after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

SUV wedged on top of car in B.C. mall parking lot has customers confused

The accident occurred Tuesday, no injuries were reported

Most Read