“Your papers please,” at the Société québécoise du cannabis. That is, the SQDC. Quebec‘s only cannabis retailer. Owned and operated by the province. Now requiring vaccination passports.
So queue up your QR code.
Why not use this thing everywhere? Swipe, swipe, swipe. Like a digital wallet. An ID, a medical passport, and a debit card. All in one. Maybe even a reputation score. Like China’s social credit system.
To buy cannabis.
That is how Quebec is starting 2022. Along with new restrictions like bringing back the curfew. Because everybody knows covid comes out after dark. And everybody knows you’re only safe to buy cannabis when you…
Show Me Your Papers
No, no, no. Don’t you see? These vax passes are all about public health and safety. Like cannabis legalization. Forget your individual rights. We have to think of the children.
And forget the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Section 2a guarantees freedom of conscience and religion. Section 6 guarantees freedom of movement within Canada. Section 15 states we have equal protection before the law.
You would think this would be enough to prevent domestic passports from ever being a thing.
But think again.
The Charter is a reactionary document.
Consider the opening paragraphs: The Charter, “guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.”
In the English common law tradition, Canadians are born with inalienable rights. Thanks to the Trudeau Family Coup, Canadians are now stripped of these inert rights. The state now bestows and guarantees our rights. The state can limit or strip these rights based on whatever the state considers “reasonable.”
When you give the state extraordinary emergency powers, it will declare any and all situations an emergency.
Hence, vax papers in Quebec to buy your cannabis. This is “following the science,” and criticism is verboten.
What About the Courts?
What about the courts?
Consider, Canada’s medical cannabis regulations. For over a decade patients could grow their own medicine. But Stephen Harper’s elected government attempted to end this liberty.
Patients sued and the government lost. Judge Phelan ruled in favour of the patients based on his understanding of the rule of law.
But this doesn’t always happen. Consider the number of restaurant owners who defied and continue to defy “public health.” In every case, the judge has declared government overreach valid since we are in a pandemic.
Part of the problem is the Charter. While it’s great patients can grow their own medicine, the logic is absurd. People should be able to grow their own cannabis regardless of their health status. If they are on their own private property, it is no business of the state.
Instead, patients have a right to grow their own based on the “reasonable access” clause from a prior ruling. If approved for medical cannabis, the state must provide you with reasonable access. Not letting you grow your own violates this rule.
What is “Reasonable?”
It has very little to do with your liberty as an autonomous individual.
Pierre Elliot Trudeau appointed Supreme Court judges to interpret his Charter like this. In 1986, in R. v. Oakes, the Court established what is now known as the Oakes Test.
The Oakes Test determines what Charter restrictions are “reasonable.”
Common law rights would balk at vaccine passports. The Charter permits it.
Cannabis was illegal under the Charter. And it’s been co-opted by corporate producers and state retailers. Under the Charter. With the Oakes Test, Canadians’ freedom of speech could be (and has been) curbed in the name of social justice.
Our freedom to travel and leave the country is restricted in the name of COVID-19.
Quebec residents can’t buy cannabis without a third shot and papers to prove it.
All are permitted under the Charter.
What exactly is the Charter?
Go read the historic debates and discussions around Canadian Confederation. They talked about political minorities. How would they be protected from the tyranny of the majority?
The Charter flips this question on its head.
Judges and politicians now talk about “collective rights” as if large groups needed protection.
The real question is… what’s the difference between legal and lawful.
For example, it may be legal for Australia to send its unvaccinated to internment camps. It may be legal for the Canadian government to force the risky COVID vaccine on its population.
But is it lawful? When Fidel Castro seized power and killed his political opponents, it was legal. But was it lawful?
In Quebec, you have to show your papers before you can buy cannabis. It’s legal, but is it lawful?
Janet Ajzenstat et al., eds., Canada’s Founding Debates (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2003)