Army presence in Montreal Streets
The Importance of Remembering Your History
It is important to remember history, and to also remember lessons that lay in the events of the time. I was effected very personally by the War Measures Act inasmuch as when I was young I did drugs and one evening there was a knock at the door and a crew of 5 or 6 police officers, RCMP, OPP, and town officers, were at my door to search my family home. I asked for a Search Warrant, but I was informed that they did not need one that the War Measures Act allowed the police all the authority that they needed.
This was not just an action against me, but thousands of Canadians, artists, intellectuals, and activists all the way to British Columbia, were subjected to detention with no evidence against them being involved in the FLQ. How could there be evidence when they were as innocent of terrorism as I was.
Sure I was acting illegally then, but I was not political at the time, I did not live in Quebec where the FLQ were, I was a 17 year old kid living in Ontario. The abuse of power, outside of the intent of that law, was a far worse crime than any I had perpetrated. My crime might have caused myself personal health problems, but the crime of abuse will always erode rights and freedom.
What was learned was there are always people that will abuse power (power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely – Lord Acton, England) and that is why it is imperative that we have laws that restrict those who hold power. That is why we must be vigilant today to make sure our politicians know we are working to keep them in check. A quote from one of my favourite historical personalities – Thomas Jefferson, “When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny”.
I wish that all the apathetic people of Canada knew this before they betrayed their country to the hands of politicians.