Montreal, January 18, 2003  /  No 117  
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Randy Hillier lives in Carleton Place, Ontario.
by Randy Hillier
          Many Canadian's have become accustomed to the growing hand of government interference, and complacent to resist inevitable government injustice and corruption. Many believe there are few hills or principals worth fighting for in our collective and passive Canadian society. But Canada's history is littered with "just" battles, through world wars, rebellions, and General strikes. Names such as Montgomery's Tavern, Châteauguay, Vimy, and the Winnipeg general strike were the early battlegrounds of Canada's Independence and freedoms. On January 1, 2003, Canadians witnessed a resurgence of this pride and patriotism, as common people found an old hill, with a new name worth fighting for.
          Huddled around the eternal flame on Parliament Hill was a crowd of 200 Canadian citizens, each with a sign in their hands and an unfurled banner flying in the breeze. In the crowd were senior citizens, men and women, young and old, children, boys, and girls. Why, were all these people here? What was the common denominator that drew this diverse crowd together? Surrounding this peaceful crowd was a force of RCMP and Ottawa Police, and a troop of tactical SWAT team officers heavily clad in protective armour, weapons, batons, and other condiments usually only seen on television shows. This stark observation led to others; barricades of steel blocked the path to the House of Commons, and police were questioning the crowd and demanding to look in their personal handbags and backpacks. But what were they looking for? And why the need for spying and blockades to the people's Parliament?  
          Walking through the common crowd of honesty, there was an electrician whose New Year's resolution was to protest against injustice. There were farmers, a veterinarian, a dentist, a salesmen, an architect, and civil servants. From plumbers to professionals, every walk of Canadian life was represented. I asked these people the same question – why are you here, what are you doing? The answers were as varied and diverse as the crowd itself. The removal of property rights, the loss of privacy, expropriation without compensation, government waste, government errors, political lies: there appeared to be dozens of reasons why this crowd of Canadians started their New Year on Parliament hill. The omnibus of injustices found in bill C-68 is a lightning rod that has coalesced Canadians' dissatisfaction into civil disobedience. All these people were showing the Canadian public, media, and politicians that at the dawn of this New Year, honest people had become criminals in the eyes of Canada's lawmakers.  
          The peaceful crowd began their demonstration, reading a proclamation of defiance, and placing this proclamation on Parliament's door. The police presence and steel barricades could not restrain their passions or their cause, as they moved past the officers of injustice and around the obstacles placed by the hand of government. This symbol of defiance was followed with a reading of their names and the burning of licenses, registrations, and applications. These people who had travelled from Canada's far corners were now criminals, while they burned the red tape of registration and injustice on the steps of Canada's democracy.  
     « The police strategy is simple and timeless: go after the one, and hope the many will disperse and run away with fear. »
          As the smoke billowed north from the ashes of a billion-dollar fiasco, the wastefulness of Parliament and politicians could be clearly seen. Bill C-68 and the Liberal government is the fuel that has turned Canadian apathy into defiance. The honest 200 did not stop with the destruction of their bureaucratic burdens. Their passions were inflamed into another act of disobedience and criminal behaviour. The crowd of new criminals were now passing an incomplete piece of a firearm throughout the crowd. The defiant crowd immediately felt the force of government and the power of police, as handcuffs were placed on a senior citizen from Saskatchewan, and he was jostled into the police car. Although the police were in the midst of 200 Canadian criminals, they chose not to exercise their duty and arrest the many lawbreakers. They chose to single out the one: just as wolves hunt and single out their prey. The police strategy is simple and timeless: go after the one, and hope the many will disperse and run away with fear.  
          But the crowd did not acquiesce to the use of callous force; they did not cower under the heavy hand of power. The crowd surrounded the police car with their captured prey. Shoulder to shoulder they defied the repeated official requests to give way. From within the crowd an outburst of patriotism was heard, and the words "O Canada, our home and native land" began to resonate. The passions of a people "true North, strong and free" began to burn around the police cruiser. The chant of "Shame! Shame!" was heard as the force of government sped away with its prey.  
          As the cruiser left the scene, I began to wonder: how many more would risk arrest and jail? The answer came quickly, as the crowd berated the police and showed their disrespect for the uniform of obedience. There are many more, for these are the people who fuel Canada's eternal flame of democracy and Independence. In addition, Canadians have seen Oscar Lacombe, a retired Sergeant at Arms in Alberta, defy the unjust law, and more demonstrations of disobedience have been seen in Montreal, Calgary, and Saskatchewan, with even more planned. These are people who have stepped forward into the breech of injustice, and found a hill worth fighting for: the hills of privacy, responsibilty, freedom, and good government. When will the government surrender this corrupt and unjust law, and do what is right? 
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