Least Significant Rights

Charter

 

I want to introduce a concept to you, least significant rights, is used in computer file system security. A user uses a computer and the computer determines if you have access to a file on the computer by looking at the users access to: the computer disk, the folder on the disk, the sub folder on the disk, a child folder on the disk, and ultimately the file. If it is determined that any “one” of these this items is configured so the user doesn’t have access, the user doesn’t have access. 

I started looking at Canadian constitutional law, big mistake, I find that disabled people have never been explicitly recognized as being Canadian. Canadians are interesting creatures, they will acknowledge you, and that should be enough. I suppose, but Canadians will never explicitly detail your rights. The Aboriginal peoples of Canada know this all to well, first hand. Canada has not treated their Aboriginal people with any kind of integrity, or dignity. The original treaties negotiated with the Aboriginal peoples were designed in such a way as to take care of the Aboriginal people, “Forever”. The Canadian government in its wisdom knew that the Aboriginal peoples were dying at catastrophic rates so it didn’t matter what the government negotiated with the Aboriginal people as they’d all be dead, or the Canadian government thought.

Canadians should look at the history of Canada there wouldn’t be a Canada without the Aboriginal people, In 1936 the native Aboriginal people of Canada genetic’s caught up with the Europeans and the diseases the Europeans brought. The Aboriginal people stopped dying at a catastrophic accelerated rate, putting the Canadian Government in a pickle. These peoples were supposed to die off, thy were to become extinct. That was the Canadian Government master plan to 1936. Government in their wisdom took away the rights negotiated in the treaties with the Aboriginal people and created the “indian Act”. The “indian Act” is interesting as the system created to manage the “savages” in Canada was the same system adopted in South Africa to take care of the “savages” there. Ingenious how Canada still has their version of apartheid in action, funny how Canada doesn’t appear on the radar of human rights abuses that continue in this country.

The “Indian Act” has been brutal for Aboriginal people of Canada. There have been laws in place making it illegal to practice major parts of the Aboriginal culture, religion, language, culture, the way you brought up your children were all regulated and anything promoting Aboriginal culture was explicitly illegal. The church was a willing conspirator with the Canadian government. The church now wondering why no ones trusts them anymore, religious leaders should take a short look at history and atone for their own sins. I will forgive you father if you stop trying to tell me I don’t have enough faith because I can’t heal myself and make my disability go away.

Thankfully it is not illegal to be disabled but Disabled persons have not been explicitly recognized in Canada in constitutional law, we are half assed Canucks. In 1929 Canada recognized woman as persons. It’s a very good story some tenacious Alberta woman went out and fought government and won. Check out the “Persons Case” it’s a very good story. The monument to these woman is at Olympic Plaza in Calgary, I was there on the weekend and was deeply touched by what these woman went through to have woman recognized as persons in Canada, awesome!!!

Disabled people are kept from having a forum, having language having the cultural elements that make us, “People”, “Citizens” of this country. The last time disabled people were explicitly refereed to in the context of Canadian constitutional law we were denoted as, “Idiots”. All disabled persons at the time were refereed to as “idiots,” I’m thankful the denotations and connotations have changed, Personally I’m just a person with a disability, I’m not even special enough to ride the short bus. I’m sorry. Disabled people have disappeared in Canadian constitutional law. A 100 years ago I would not be able to hold a Canadian passport, now I can hold one because disabled people have been swept under the rug, we’ve been vacuumed up and put in the dust bin, then emptied into the Hefty garbage bag and left at the curb. We do not count, we are not explicitly Canadian.

Canada is in some trouble for how they have treated the Aboriginal people and the language used in the original treaties. The Aboriginal people are educating themselves and learning the law, including constitutional law, and are asking for compensation for the terms and conditions in the original treaties negotiated long ago. The Aboriginal people are winning. A “brilliant” he was a very brilliant man, Pierre Elliot Trudeau a past Canadian Prime Minister negotiated with the Aboriginal people and outlined a process for settling the claims on the terms and conditions of these original treaties. Without this process in place there surely would have been violent cultural events in Canadian history, which so far have been avoided. As an aside without Trudeau there would be no Canada this brilliant man kept this big diverse country together in a time when no one else could have. The, settlement process puts the burden of proof is on Aboriginal People but there are going to be some very interesting outcomes. There is a land claim in Banff National Park which may ultimately result in Aboriginal people administering part if not all of Banff National park. There are many more interesting examples and I’m sure the bitterness and cultural backlash of Canadians against Aboriginal Canadians will be HUGE.

Canadians don’t realize that it was the Aboriginal people in collaboration with the British that established this country. The Aboriginal people of Canada were not conquered by the British, the Aboriginal people of Canada collaborated in defending this big country against the French and others. Canadians don’t remember that the British gave Canada to the Aboriginal people of Canada. It was Canada and Canadians that destroyed the Aboriginal people’s culture in Canada.

Back to us disabled types. In the current Canadian constitution disabled people are not recognized or mentioned. Disabled people come up in the “Employment Equity Act” and is limited to the scope of the act. The scope of the “Employment Equity Act” relates to federal government departments and agencies. There is another act that kinda gives Disabled people rights for businesses that are suppliers or contractors to the federal government. These two acts protect roughly 2% of the Canadian population.

In the context of “Least Significant Rights” Disabled people in Canada. Wait that doesn’t make sense. Two percent of the Canadian population are protected under legislation that protects persons with Disabilities. The legislation only protects those that work for or contract to or supply the Canadian government. I’m afraid to estimate how many disabled people are actually protected. Oh, sugar, O.K., lets look at it 2% of 35 million, roughly the population of Canada, is 700,000 people. I can’t even begin to estimate how many of those 700,000 people are disabled. The tough questions of “who” is disabled and “what” it means to be disabled comes into sharp contrast. I’d wager that we are all disabled, or variant from the norm, in some fashion and ultimately we all become disabled with age, illness, or injury.

There we have it in a country of over 35 million people only 700,000 are covered by “some” laws guaranteeing rights for the Disabled. I was going to do some research but I think its ultimately pointless into the provincial legal stance on disability in Canada. The provinces can negate the federal law in this case further reducing or eliminating any consideration given to persons with disabilities.

Its a bit perverse a bit mischievous but that is after all, my nickname. As an aside the Aboriginal people would give nicknames to people, mine is “Mischief”, given to me by my grandmother. What does it mean to be Canadian? Check it out for yourself and let me know what you come up with. The Canadian Constitution now recognizes men and woman, and Aboriginal people. The employment equity act recognizes disabled peoples and a small list of global peoples. Remember the act only covers roughly 2% of the population of Canada. To be mischievous I have to ask, as we age or as we become ill or if we are injured or end up disabled are we no longer Canadians?

I was born in Canada but being disabled I don’t really know if I am Canadian, 100 years ago I wasn’t. I am pondering hiring a lawyer or employing a legal student to do the research but frankly I’m afraid of the answer. By asking the question what kind of trouble am I going to get into, yikes, I don’t even want to think about that. However on each of our journey through life we are looking for a place to call home. How can I be at home where I am not recognized where I have no effective rights. Going back to the analogy of least significant rights I don’t have access therefore I can’t access the file.

 

About the Author:

Kyle has ocular albinism and has been legally blind since birth. Kyle leads a very active live and is besides his professional career involved in many projects for persons who are different.

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