Celebrate Charter times

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Come on!

Martin Weaver
News Editor

It’s an important pillar of Canadian democracy, and it’s ready for a party.

Mayor Pat Fiacco has officially declared Sept. 29 the “Celebration of our Charter of Rights Day” for the city.

The event, organized by a professor at the University of Regina, comes hot on the heels of the cancellation of Profs in the Park.   

In July, the Regina Downtown Business Improvement District (RDBID) cancelled a lecture on Israeli-Palestinian relations because it was deemed to be too controversial. Soon afterwards, the incident received attention from local press. The lecture series was eventually relocated to the Neutral Ground art gallery on 12th Ave. for the duration of its run.

Dr. Marc Spooner, associate professor in the faculty of education, said he wanted the city to declare the day as a response to the way the Profs in the Park event was handled.

“The mayor has the power to proclaim days in Regina so I submitted a request to have a day to celebrate our charter of rights and freedoms,” Spooner said, adding that despite the mistreatment he feels the Profs in the Park event received, he “was proud of [his] city that [Mayor Fiacco] would, no questions asked, grant this day.”

Part of celebration will allow attendees to express their views – provided they are not vulgar or hateful – in a Speaker’s Corner-style “soap-box” confessional.

Dr. Spooner feels as though people don’t necessarily appreciate the importance of freedom.

“Rights are always a struggle, they aren’t granted to you. They are born out of struggle.” He added,  “You need to exercise your rights and they are fragile.”

Emily Eaton, assistant professor of geography, still feels disappointed about the cancellation of her talk this last summer and feels that there are alternatives.

“We should be able to talk about these things in our community, and we should resist.”

The event’s schedule includes a lecture from Eaton about the importance of free speech and the threats it faces today.

The Celebration of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms Day will take place in Victoria Park on Thursday, Sept. 29 and will run from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. Copies of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms will be available in twenty-five different languages.

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