Canada’s rights and freedoms will be celebrated locally on April 23. City of Powell River councillors were urged to declare the date as Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms Day.
At the April 5 committee of the whole meeting, Robin Murray appeared as a delegation, outlining that a freedom and health rally will be held at Willingdon Beach on April 23, and a main part of that day is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. There are plans for music, speakers and some activities for children.
“I’d also like to ask you to send a message to all the other councils of towns and cities in BC and ask them to also declare any day in April as Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms Day in their town or city,” said Murray.
In his presentation, Murray outlined his experiences, and said he had always been a student of history throughout school, and he learned many stories of the communists, fascists and other totalitarian countries that kept a stronghold over their people.
“At the time I was thinking of how lucky I was to be living in Canada, where we had freedom,” said Murray.
He recounted moving to Vancouver in grade 10, and it was in April of that year that the constitution was repatriated and brought back to Canada, he added.
“I can remember learning about the rights and freedoms that were enshrined in law,” said Murray. “As a Canadian, I just expected to have these rights, but when it was put into law, I realized how important these rights and freedoms are for so many people. It is one of the things that makes Canada the great country it is.”
Murray said it is paradise in Powell River/qathet region – the traditional land of the Tla’amin peoples.
“We all benefit from having the charter of rights and freedoms protecting us,” said Murray. “Now, more than ever, we need to celebrate this beautiful gift to us. It is something which was a long time in the making and something people have died for to even dream of having.
“We cannot take it for granted. We need to honour, cherish and celebrate this document that many in the world can only imagine having the benefit of.”
Mayor Dave Formosa said the method the city uses for making declarations and proclamations is to have groups send correspondence, asking the city to make a declaration.
“This body doesn’t create those situations,” said Formosa. “We receive them from the public. If you send us a request for such a declaration, I read out the declaration, and it has the pieces that you choose.
“As far as your request to ask other cities to do a similar thing, that would be up to council to decide if they want to do that, but in my 14 years, we’ve never had a request to create such events.”
Formosa suggested that Murray speak with the city’s corporate officer to get a declaration made.
Councillor George Doubt said a Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms Day would be a good thing to celebrate, and it would be great to get together in the park in a spirit of togetherness to celebrate the “wonderful country that we get to live in.”