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Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada says freedom is not unlimited and the Ottawa trucker convoy showed an 'ugly side of freedom'


"Our governments must draw the difficult lines that mark the limits of freedom in a particular situation"

Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

Former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada Beverley McLachlin wrote an opinion piece in which she said freedom is not unlimited, and the trucker protest in Ottawa showed an "ugly side of freedom."

"Freedom without limits slides imperceptibly into freedom to say and do what you want about people who don’t look like you or talk like you. Sadly, the Ottawa truckers’ convoy has revealed this ugly side of freedom," McLachlin wrote.

The blockade in Canada's capital city of Ottawa has been quashed, but protestors had been demonstrating in opposition to COVID-19 restrictions in the country.

McLachlin pointed to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which specifically notes that there can be limits to the freedoms it discusses.

"The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society," the text declares.

McLachlin wrote that, "Our governments must draw the difficult lines that mark the limits of freedom in a particular situation. When you must wear a mask. Whether you can cross a border without a vaccine certificate. How many people can attend a party and who gets to go to school."

"As we move forward from the pandemic into the future, we need to understand the true nature of freedom under our Constitution," McLachlin wrote. "Freedom, misconstrued as license to do and say whatever one wants, is dangerous. True freedom – freedom subject to reasonable limits that allow us to live together – is essential to a peaceful and prosperous future for us all. Let’s not allow the freedoms we cherish to become ugly freedoms."

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