Acting for Freedom: Fifty Years of Civil Liberties in Canada

Second Story Press
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The Canadian Civil Liberties Association celebrates its fiftieth anniversary with this overview of its activities--sometimes quiet and sometimes strident--as a watchdog and safeguard for Canadians and their rights as citizens. Through a series of discussions and interviews, a picture of Canada over the last half-century evolves. 
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About the author

Marian Botsford Fraser is a freelance writer, broadcaster, and critic whose work has appeared in "Granta," "The Walrus," "The Globe & Mail," "Toronto Life," and "The National Post." She is a long-time contributor to CBC Radio's "Ideas" program and has served as guest host for various CBC Radio programs. She is the author of "Requiem for my brother," "Solitaire: The Intimate Lives of Single Women," "Walking the Line: Travels Along the Canadian/American Border." She lives in Toronto, ON.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Second Story Press
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Published on
Oct 13, 2014
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Pages
320
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ISBN
9781927583500
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Canada / General
Law / Civil Rights
Political Science / Civil Rights
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Canadas Charter of Rights and Freedoms has transformed Canadian life since it was adopted as part of the Canadian constitution in 1982. The Charter requires judges to make decisions on a wide range of issues that affect all Canadians. In doing so, the courts play a major role in citizens lives. Because of the Charter:
- The law against prostitution was struck down.
- The Harper government"s treatment of child soldier Omar Khadr was found to violate his rights.
- Vancouvers Insite safe injection site was kept open, overriding a federal government decision requiring it to shut down.

Ian Greene is a political scientist, and his focus in this book is to highlight the many significant ways the Charter shapes Canadian life. After providing background on the creation and implementation of the Charter, he describes its impact on a wide range of issues aboriginal affairs, voting rights, freedom of religion, the right to strike, and language rights, among others. Greene describes key decisions in these areas and comments on the often-conflicting views of the judges deciding them. Even though the Charter is a legal document, debated by lawyers and decided by judges, Greene approaches his subject with an eye on the political impact the Charter has on governments and ordinary citizens.

Public discussion of the Charter is often framed around the question of who should make these important decisions elected politicians or unelected judges. This book provides a clear understanding of how the Charter works and how ordinary citizens have succeeded or failed to win change from the courts. It offers information that people on every side of public discussion can use regarding the role of the Charter in Canadian life.
In November 1997, the world media converged on Vancouver to cover the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. The major news story that emerged, however, had little to do with the crisis unfolding in the Asian economies. At the UBC campus, where the APEC leaders' meeting was held, a predictable student protest met with an unusually strong police response. A crowd of students was pepper-sprayed, along with a CBC cameraman. The dramatic video footage of the incident that appeared on the evening news shocked Canadians. The use of noxious chemicals to attack non-violent protesters somehow seemed un-Canadian. It looked more like something that police and soldiers in less democratic countries would do.

Other news stories developed. Two dozen law professors wrote to Prime Minister Chr�tien to report that a number of serious constitutional violations that had taken place on campus. One protester, held for fourteen hours for displaying a sign saying "Free Speech," initiated legal proceedings. Other lawsuits followed. The RCMP and the government of Canada were named as defendants, and a public inquiry was launched. A central issue was whether the Prime Minister's officials gave orders of a political nature to the police that resulted in law-abiding citizens being assaulted and arrested.

But why all the fuss? So what if the Prime Minister gave orders to the police? The contributors to Pepper in Our Eyes maintain that the "so what" question is of vital importance. The events at APEC raised serious questions about constitutional principle, the role of police in a democratic society, public accountability, and the effects of globalization on rights and politics. The contributors, experts in a variety of fields, draw upon their knowledge to explain -- in plain English -- the background issues and the values at stake. Some of the authors, such as Gerald Morin, chair of the first RCMP Public Complaints Commission, and CBC journalist Terry Milewski, had a direct connection with the APEC affair.

By getting at the fundamental issues behind the APEC affair, Pepper in Our Eyes seeks to raise our civic consciousness. It shows that there was much more at stake that day than the questionable use of pepper spray.

"No fight for civil liberties ever stays won," wrote Roger Baldwin (1884-1981) in 1971. He was in a position to know. After working hard to preserve the right of Americans to free expression during World War I, he founded the American Civil Liberties Union in 1920. The ACLU quickly became, and remains to this day, the staunchest defender of American civil liberties. Woody Klein has selected from the vast writings of Baldwin those essays that are most pertinent to the civil liberties debate today. Each chapter offers writings that focus on a particular theme, such as national security or the invasion of privacy. Each is followed by commentary, commissioned specifically for this book, from some of America's most prominent politicians and journalists. The stellar contributors include : BLArthur M. Schlesinger Jr., the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Thousand Days, about the administration of John F. Kennedy; BLSenator Robert C. Byrd (D-WV), who has repeatedly spoken out in Congress against the war in Iraq and the U.S.A. Patriot Act; BLAnthony Lewis, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the New York Times; BLSenator Russell D. Feingold (D-WI), who cast the Senate's lone vote against the U.S.A. Patriot Act; BLNat Henthoff, a nationally known award-winning journalist and columnist for the Village Voice BLWilliam Sloane Coffin Jr., clergyman and longtime peace activist; BLVictor Navasky, editor and publisher of the Nation; BLIra Glasser, former Executive Director of the ACLU; and BLAryeh Neier, head of the Open Society Institute and the Soros Foundations network since 1993.
The New York Times Bestseller

In May 2013, Glenn Greenwald set out for Hong Kong to meet an anonymous source who claimed to have astonishing evidence of pervasive government spying and insisted on communicating only through heavily encrypted channels. That source turned out to be the 29-year-old NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden, and his revelations about the agency's widespread, systemic overreach proved to be some of the most explosive and consequential news in recent history, triggering a fierce debate over national security and information privacy. As the arguments rage on and the government considers various proposals for reform, it is clear that we have yet to see the full impact of Snowden's disclosures.

Now for the first time, Greenwald fits all the pieces together, recounting his high-intensity ten-day trip to Hong Kong, examining the broader implications of the surveillance detailed in his reporting for The Guardian, and revealing fresh information on the NSA's unprecedented abuse of power with never-before-seen documents entrusted to him by Snowden himself.
Going beyond NSA specifics, Greenwald also takes on the establishment media, excoriating their habitual avoidance of adversarial reporting on the government and their failure to serve the interests of the people. Finally, he asks what it means both for individuals and for a nation's political health when a government pries so invasively into the private lives of its citizens—and considers what safeguards and forms of oversight are necessary to protect democracy in the digital age. Coming at a landmark moment in American history, No Place to Hide is a fearless, incisive, and essential contribution to our understanding of the U.S. surveillance state.

A lyrical memoir that identifies the pressure to conform as a hidden threat to our civil rights, drawing on the author’s life as a gay Asian American man and his career as an acclaimed legal scholar.

“[Kenji] Yoshino offers his personal search for authenticity as an encouragement for everyone to think deeply about the ways in which all of us have covered our true selves. . . . We really do feel newly inspired.”—The New York Times Book Review

Everyone covers. To cover is to downplay a disfavored trait so as to blend into the mainstream. Because all of us possess stigmatized attributes, we all encounter pressure to cover in our daily lives. Racial minorities are pressed to “act white” by changing their names, languages, or cultural practices. Women are told to “play like men” at work. Gays are asked not to engage in public displays of same-sex affection. The devout are instructed to minimize expressions of faith, and individuals with disabilities are urged to conceal the paraphernalia that permit them to function. Given its pervasiveness, we may experience this pressure to be a simple fact of social life.

Against conventional understanding, Kenji Yoshino argues that the work of American civil rights law will not be complete until it attends to the harms of coerced conformity. Though we have come to some consensus against penalizing people for differences based on race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, and disability, we still routinely deny equal treatment to people who refuse to downplay differences along these lines. 

At the same time, Yoshino is responsive to the American exasperation with identity politics, which often seems like an endless parade of groups asking for state and social solicitude. He observes that the ubiquity of covering provides an opportunity to lift civil rights into a higher, more universal register. Since we all experience the covering demand, we can all make common cause around a new civil rights paradigm based on our desire for authenticity—a desire that brings us together rather than driving us apart.

Praise for Covering

“Yoshino argues convincingly in this book, part luminous, moving memoir, part cogent, level-headed treatise, that covering is going to become more and more a civil rights issue as the nation (and the nation’s courts) struggle with an increasingly multiethnic America.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“[A] remarkable debut . . . [Yoshino’s] sense of justice is pragmatic and infectious.”—Time Out New York
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