Protesters seem constitutionally confused

Re: “Off with their heads”– Oak Bay residents politely storm gates of municipal hall (News online, March 21)

I saw this group’s poster in my neighbourhood (Oak Bay Residents Unite; see www.ow.ly/i/9oZF for a photo) calling for a demonstration at Oak Bay municipal hall.

The last line in their poster caught my attention.

It read: “The freedom of peaceful assembly is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution.”

I have to admit that I found this somewhat confusing, as the first amendment to our Constitution is the 1983 Constitutional Accord on Aboriginal Rights which added section 35.1 to the Constitution Act of 1982 (see: www.canlii.org/en/ca/const/const1982.html#II).

So, I’m thinking, did the group mean that the rights of aboriginal peoples of Canada to be consulted were equivalent to their right to organize a protest rally? That wouldn’t make sense. Unless you equate “aboriginal peoples” with “Oak Bay natives.” Wait, maybe that’s what they did mean.

It’s also possible that they were referring to the first amendment to the constitution which was what is now called the “Manitoba Act, 1870,” which added the province of Manitoba to confederation via the British North America Act of 1867 (which is, of course, the Act that created the Dominion of Canada).

But then that line of reasoning got really confusing. Manitoba? That can’t be it.

The best I can come up with is that they are referring to the Constitution of the United States of America, which would be an odd reference given that (last time I checked) Oak Bay was part of Canada (see the reference above to the Constitution, and the constitution).

But this does make sense if you consider this group to be an alternative form of the Oak Bay Tea Party.

Justin Longo

Oak Bay