Updated: Jun 14, 2021
We have learnt our lesson. And we should graciously like to thank the UCP and Premier Jason Kenney for teaching us. From the beginning of their now-unpopular reign, they have walloped us over the head, repeatedly, with the club of clarity. We now know, if we didn’t before, that any government, no matter how sincere or smooth their most veteran members, can ever be trusted. Not even for a moment.
The UCP’s newest betrayal against their voters is the prospective Bill 66. As is the standard in politics, it is drenched with clauses of “sunny ways” and shallow bait to appease the people. In fact, skimming the overview available here, the bill sounds pretty good. According to that summary, just a few of its purposes are:
-Repeal sections of Bill 10 (which we hated)
-Remove unnecessary powers to order immunization or conscription
-Improve transparency with clear checks and balances on authorities
-Require periodic review to keep the act current
This is what Albertans wanted. We voted overwhelmingly for leadership that focuses on small government and abundant liberty. But of course, that summary isn’t the whole bill. If we mine deeper into the statutes and clauses, we do not discover treasure. On the contrary. Bill 66, among other concerns:*
1. Fails to place checks on the power of Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the current Chief Medical Officer of Health [CMOH]. Instead, Bill 66 expands her already undemocratic and authoritarian powers;
2. Legally “validates” the existing CMOH orders made over the past thirteen months. This kind of retroactive law-making suggests the government is itself uncertain that previous CMOH Orders are legally and constitutionally valid;
3. Fails to require Dr. Hinshaw (the current CMOH) to provide regular reports to the Legislature containing the science and impact of her society-crippling orders and allows Dr. Hinshaw to issue orders outside of a declared public health emergency, including orders which have no expiration;
Every time this conservative government, whom a majority of us voted for, produces more legislation diametrically opposed to their campaigned platform, we say, “surely it can’t get worse. Surely they won’t plunge us farther towards centralized government.” But they do. They never fail to deliver something like Bill 66, even as we continue to cry for freedom. Premier Kenney claimed he would champion freedom, and he doesn’t. He promised his caucus would be a hedge against the powerful and ominous advance of the Federal Government, yet they aren’t. They campaigned they would restrain this sort of government trespass, but they lied.
1. Check on Power
Power is the capacity for a person to impose their will, what they desire, on others.* Of course, for those in privileged positions of leadership, this is not only a possibility, it's their reality. Our leaders in office are capable, and they have demonstrated they are more than willing, to do so.
But humans are inherently sinful (1 Corinthians 15:21). “There is no one righteous, no not one.” (Romans 3:10), and all are fallen (Romans 3:23). We do not acquire some higher morality because we are educated or hold executive office, no. Our will (all people’s will) is naturally inclined to evil, for sin is no respecter of persons. "From within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts…” (Mark 7:21). Permit a leader to go unchecked while he is in power, the sinful inclinations of his heart will be free to be imposed on the nation, and the people will suffer. Bill 66 promotes this.
What’s most concerning are the grave implications about the Chief Medical Officer of Health if he/she is offered these terms of power presented in Bill 66, and accepts it. We will immediately know what they will believe about themselves, and I’d prefer not to be ruled by their sceptre, no matter how noble their intentions. Lewis thought that “the man who has never even wanted to kneel or to bow - is a prosaic barbarian.”** I think he’s right. The one who doesn’t want his volition restricted is to be monitored most of all. We are weary, not only of an office void of checks and balances, but of persons who should say, “I know the position is unchecked, but I will assume the role anyway. I am worthy of it, and I will commit no wrong.” Their rule is never to be desired.
2. Making Illegal Actions Legal
A member of our government have recently ordained the Legislature, calling it “the temple of our democracy.”* I do not think he is alone in his belief. The government's actions over this past year, the prospective Bill 66 included, would reinforce they really understand his statement to be true. No longer does our government recognize the Sovereign Lord that legitimizes the Constitution; no longer do they lift their eyes to Heaven to discover the standard of justice, but they instead worship, rife with corruption, the government itself. Instead of subjecting to Someone greater and more righteous than themselves, our politicians have chosen to set the bar of right and wrong according to their own measure. This is most clearly exemplified in Bill 66 when it “legally “validates” the existing CMOH orders made over the past thirteen months.”**
It’s one thing to say, “Last year, we charged a man for having done action x. But this year, we realize that action x was, and always has been, morally just. We, therefore, apologize to the man, release him of his sentence, and retroactively make action x legal.”
It’s quite another thing entirely to say, “I am creating a new law to make my actions of the past law.”
Suppose I am a young, spoiled politician. And suppose I spend a night committing acts of unlawfulness—perhaps I went on a spree of theft. In the morning, when I get home, I decree, “everything I did last night is now retroactively legal for me. No wrong, therefore, has been injured on anyone.
Is that law? Is that right? It’s what Bill 66 does, and it’s a mockery of what true justice is supposed to be. More than that, throughout this whole debacle, we’ve been disciplined, “what the CMOH and the government are doing, locking you down and restricting your freedom, is right. It’s just and legal.” It’s now evident they were never certain—we could’ve told them that for free.
3. Unelected and Unjustified Orders
As we’ve discussed before, the Provincial (and Federal) Government’s descent into madness has been marked by an increasing deviation from classical justice. Instead, they’ve modernized their reign with a “justice” that isn’t justice at all. Now, something is legal if it’s safe. The problem is that 1. What is safe is not necessarily moral (and it’s much better to be ruled by morality than safety), and 2. Only experts know what is safe, and thus only experts can reign. This is what’s happening in Alberta, reinforced by Bill 66.
Being led in such a way is bad enough. I detest such a style of leadership; I think it’s dangerous and places a more precise instrument of tyranny in the hands of bureaucracy than any physical armament. But now, in Bill 66, no clause or order requires the CMOH to “provide regular reports to the Legislature containing the science and impact of her society-crippling orders.”* What else can be said? We are speechless as we read that Bill 66 provides near-dictatorial powers for the CMOH, no matter who it is. A short study of history makes us tremble as we realize why that's wrong.
* Directly cited from the JCCFs breakdown of Bill 66 here
Checks on Power
* See Aquinas' discussion on power here
** See Lewis "On Equality" here
Making Illegal Actions Legal
* Article here
** See "*" in "Intro" above
Unelected and Unjustified Orders
* See "*" in "Intro" above
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