Postions paper hannah moulds

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Postions paper hannah moulds

  1. 1. Is a Liberal Democracy Worth it?June 10th2010Humanities 30-1Position Paper<br />Democracy is something that is valued around the world, and a major aspect of this type of government is the rights and freedoms of the citizens. Many people are torn when it comes to the extent in which they would go to protect this democratic society. So the real question is what would it take for you to give up your rights? If we do not suspend the rights and freedoms of the citizens, we have a chance of completely losing all of the principles of liberalism that democracy is based upon. There are conditions that must be met in order for democracy to be protected. If these conditions are not met, then there is a risk of losing a democratic society all together. It is not an easy decision to take away such an essential part of democracy, which is why the government must make informed and responsible decisions when it comes to these situations. Suspending rights and freedoms should only be done in times of high crisis, and only when it puts everyone at risk. This response to crisis must not only benefit the society, but also all of the citizens within the democracy. In the source, it states that in a crisis these rights may be temporarily suspended, this is essential to success. If all of these conditions are met, then a liberal democracy can be preserved and the rights and freedoms of the citizens can then be reinstated. <br />An example that violates the conditions that are necessary to protect democracy was in Nazi Germany prior to World War II, when Hitler and the Nazi Party came into power. Hitler issued the Enabling Act which was used to oppose any other party from coming into power; this was how Germany became a one-party state. This act also allowed Hitler to pass legislation without the approval of the Reichstag (representative of the German people). The people’s loss of power in the government resulted in a dictatorship. The Enabling Act was only supposed to be intact for four years, but since there was no opposing power against Hitler, he was able to implement this act passed its four year period. This crisis not only violated the temporary section of conditions, but this act was also meant to demoralize the rights and freedoms of all the German citizens. For many people at this time who were considered to be an “undesirable” by Hitler and the Nazi’s, had their rights and freedoms completely revoked and were often killed. An appropriate time in which the rights and freedoms of citizens were suspended was when the War Measures Act was introduced into Canadian society after World War One. <br />After Canada’s involvement in World War One, the War Measures Act was implemented when a crisis occurred. In order for the use of this act to be justified, the government had to come up with some reasons for implementing this act; it had to be for the good of society, to protect, retain, or secure other aspects of liberalism, and it must be justified due to the threat and severity of the situation. This act allowed the federal government to limit, suspend, and restrict the rights, freedoms, and other basic principles of liberalism, of Canadian citizens and immigrants, especially the Japanese. Other immigrants had their rights suppressed, but the main focus of the Canadian government was the people who were Japanese, had Japanese heritage, or even appearance. These people had their property repossessed and their possessions taken away. The Canadian government justified their decision to use the War Measures Act by informing the population that these people were a threat to national security. The government became very conscientious when it came to airport security. This turned out to be a responsible decision because of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centers in New York on September 11th, 2001. It is justified for the government to decrease the rights and freedoms of the citizens as well as the immigrants in an airport setting because it allows for a safer environment and decreases the possibility of major risks that could harm the people, allowing people to pursue other rights and freedoms. The suspension of the citizens and immigrants rights in these situations was essential for Canada to protect our society, as well as our liberal democracy. Since Canada has only implemented the WMA a few times in our history, it can be considered a temporary solution to a high crisis situation. <br />In the 1960’s, Canada and the rest of the world were going through major political, social, and cultural changes. These changed prompted a more individualist ideology throughout the Canadian population. The Quebecois of Canada felt that they were treated unfairly and felt that their language and culture should have more equal opportunity within the country. A group within the Quebecois called the Quebec Liberation Front (FLQ), resorted to violence and terrorism to find independence for Quebec. The Canadian government’s response to this outrage was to imprison anyone who was a member or were suspected to be in this group, invoking the War Measures Act for the third and final time. This event was controversial because some felt that the government acted out on limited information. The president and the time, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, stated that even though people were unhappy with this response, the society must use every means to defend against an emergency in order to maintain law and order in the society. To prevent outrage from the Canadian people, the government implemented the Emergency Act. This act was a safeguard to protect the rights of the citizens, but obligated the government to specify to which part or parts of the country the emergency measures apply. This would prevent people from taking advantage of the temporary removal of rights and freedoms, but also protecting people from any danger to their life or property, or any social disruption.<br />Rejection of liberalism is sometimes justified, but it all depends on whether certain conditions are met. If it is necessary for a stable democracy, people should be willing to temporarily suppress their rights. The government must be responsible when choosing whether or not the situation is a high risk to the society and its citizens. When these conditions are not met, it can lead to dictatorship, the complete loss of liberalism, as we saw in Germany. By using the War Measures Act in Canada, we were able to temporarily suppress the rights of immigrants and citizen, which lead to higher security, allowing for people to pursue other rights and freedoms. The Emergency Act was implemented because suppressing the rights and freedoms of the citizens became too broad, and the government needed to make more specific decisions as to who these emergency measures applied to. Suppressing rights will always be a controversial situation. We rely on the responsible decisions of our government, but as an individual we must ask ourselves, would I give up my rights and freedoms in order to protect the liberal democracy our society values so much? <br />

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