The Shotgun Blog
Friday, December 21, 2007
Changes to Alberta’s Mental Health Act could endanger civil liberties
Matthew Johnston - December 21, 2007
Imagine a world in which, despite having committed no crime, the state can arrest and imprison you indefinitely without the benefit of legal council or a trial. In this nightmare world, agents of the state can even force you into psychological treatment and drug you against your will. Yet, this isn’t the plot outline for some dystopian novel like Brave New World where prenatal psychological conditioning and universal, state-sponsored psychotropic drug use are part of the scientifically engineered social order. It’s the real world power contained in Alberta’s Mental Health Act (MHA). And in the coming year, the MHA will become an even more powerful tool for the state and government healthcare workers.
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Posted by Matthew Johnston on December 21, 2007 | Permalink
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Tracked on 2009-06-26 1:02:31 AM
Everytime the legislators make new laws that steal a degree of any individual's liberties we are losing ground.
Here's a thought:
Despots are generally recognizable by their iron fist approach to controlling the civilian population, economics, and the military. And its usually an "El Presidente" or "Der Fuehrer" type right up there on a balcony telling you how its going to be.
But what if there is no particular figure head, No "El Presidente" type? What if the despotism being waged is coming from the legislative branch?
Busily making new laws and doing very little advertising about them. Laws for the sake of laws...for the sake of control. Laws for the sake of compliance. For the power to say we own you and will do with you as we please. And we'll do it By Law!
The new mental health amendment might just be considered one of those laws. The only real difference "in law" as to whether or not "you" can be interned under such a law is a state "health care worker's opinion as to your mental state".
Anybody else a little spooked by laws like that?
Posted by: JC | 2007-12-21 10:42:14 PM
I can't think of a single piece of legislation passed in my lifetime that I like. I would like to see a constitutional limit of a 5 year life on all legislation along with strict guidelines preventing omnibus bills. That would hopefully keep legislatures busy re-visiting only legislation important to the day and prevent their idle hands from continuously heaping more on us. The best political terms have been when gridlock has prevented almost all new legislation.
Posted by: John Chittick | 2007-12-21 11:30:10 PM
>"The new mental health amendment might just be considered one of those laws. The only real difference "in law" as to whether or not "you" can be interned under such a law is a state "health care worker's opinion as to your mental state".
Anybody else a little spooked by laws like that?"
JC | 21-Dec-07 10:42:14 PM
Spooked by such laws in Alberta?
Alberta is the place where they legislated the Sexual Sterilization Act in 1928.
The act stood until 1972; in that 44-year period, sterilizations of 4,725 Albertans deemed to be of a lower genetic makeup were authorized.
The recipients of the Sexual Sterilization Act were mostly people who were considered mentally unfit, it was just good Eugenic policy.
They were doing the same thing in Germany from 1932-1945(mostly the same period but Alberta got the jump on them and our progran lasted longer) and Germany was considered the most scientifically advanced nation on Earth at the time.
(especially in the area of mental health)
This is probably one of the reasons why the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party changed the name of the Alberta Ministry of Health to Health and Wellness.
(pretty Progressive, eh?)
We don't just want to be healthy here in Alberta, we want to get well!/
Posted by: Speller | 2007-12-21 11:49:58 PM
You're not actually agreeing with this are you?
I'm hoping I detect a major note of sarcasm there. :)
Posted by: JC | 2007-12-22 8:14:08 AM
Having been exposed to people with mental health issues over the greater part of my life, I cannot totally disagree with this legislation. On the surface it may seem Draconian however there are people out there who indeed need to be protected from others as well as themselves.My real concern is that this could lead to a plethora of ill-trained so called professionals using this as a tool to advance their own peculiar cause.
We have "advocates" now controlling the various
Child Abductive...er.. Protective Services, and we need not even mention the highjacking of rights by the ill-named Human Rights Commissions. IF this legislation is handled properly with strict oversight, then it MAY be justified.
Posted by: atric | 2007-12-22 8:30:37 AM
On the whole it's a good article and a reasonable worry you discuss. I should point out, however, that it is not the pro-gay community that is pushing for homophobia to be regarded as a mental illness. I fact, the pro-gay community is generally opposed to such thinking. It is in the context of violent crimes committed against gay people that the idea that "homosexual panic" could be regarded as a "mental defect" sufficient to be the basis of a not guilty plea has been promoted. Pro-gay groups have objected on the grounds that viewing it as a mental defect is, in effect, to excuse the assaults and murders of gay people. They argue that homophobia is not a mental defect, just a moral defect.
So while the general concerns discusse in your article are sound, the idea that homophobia could land one in the nuthouse does not seem likely. That is, unless more homophobes continue to try to use the "mental defect" of "homosexual panic" as a defence. And if they do try to do that, then they might just get what they deserve. I hear, however, that Nurse Ratched isn't as bad as people say....
Posted by: Fact Check | 2007-12-22 8:56:00 AM
You're not actually agreeing with this are you?
I'm hoping I detect a major note of sarcasm there. :)"
JC | 22-Dec-07 8:14:08 AM
Ending with '/' indicates sarcasm.
Posted by: Speller | 2007-12-22 10:00:07 AM
You may safely ignore anything Fact Check says, since he has been caught by our moderator posting here under other people's nics.
Posted by: obc | 2007-12-22 10:01:43 AM
That sort of law creeps me out only because of the possible misuse. Otherwise, there are indeed some whack jobs out there in society who need to be put away, but there are often no grounds until they kill their families or some such.
Consider how brilliant Germany was when they were in their hay day of upping the gene pool
Consider how physically superior the American black athletes are per capita in the USA as a result of a hundred years of slave owner up-breeding to have bigger stronger healthier workers.
There is an upside to controlling human development, but the downside is the stuff of horror movies.
Too bad humans can't be trusted with anything really important. No, scratch that. We can't be trusted with anything at all. I wonder if there is up-breeding for trustworthiness and honesty. Religion brainwashing doesn't count.
Posted by: John West | 2007-12-22 10:19:49 AM
This is getting completely out of hand. I am originally from Manitoba, living in Alberta for the past five years. I've now seen the prairie provinces, provinces I thought were our last refuge of the socialism that comes from eastern Canada, fall right into the depths of it. Big Brother isn't simply watching anymore, he is now plucking our right to choose. The general population has been living in such a peaceful, prosperous state for so long, that we as a collective, have forgotten why so many fought and died. For the freedoms that are now being stripped from us.
How far is too far? In my humble opinion, we have passed that point long ago. I was thinking of buying another half section to add to our small farm in Manitoba. As much as I hate to say it, I am now looking at land in North Dakota.
Posted by: D.R. - Calgary | 2007-12-22 4:11:14 PM
Don't make any land buys until Red Ed has called an election. Fall 2008 at the latest the Progressives are done.
I'm voting Wild Rose Party.
Posted by: Speller | 2007-12-22 4:55:42 PM
It used to be that when a person was too mentally sick, to take care of themselves, that someone would take care of them--and it was not the prettiest place in the world--what with all those people with mental illnesses, but at least we had the guts--the nerve--and the self respect to ensure they were taken care of. And I am not talking about the 1600's version. Sure, some harsh methods were used, but the entire aim was to ensure that those people were protected--even from themselves. Now--what we have here--is this phoney-baloney respect for their human rights--while the sick people--the ones who cannot (not even for the life of them) take care of themselves, and yet we leave them, in th streets, alone, cold, hungry, just because we can say that we are respecting their human rights to go where ever they want.
Somehow, I don't think that dumpster diving and living in the gutter, was what human rights advocates had--during the late 40's, 50's, 60's, 70'5s and 80's, when Charters were passed, protecting basic human rights.
OK Johnston, you and your group of leftists have won--leave 'em on the street, so they can live worse lives than most people's pets--including birds, rodents, dogs and cats.
I hope you are also out there, every single day of the year, nading them free food, instead of permitting them to live out of trash cans--their right according to leftists like you.
I say SHAME!
Leaving human beings, who cannot take care of themselves, to live lives worse than dogs, is disgusting!
Oh, but you can sleep well at night...!
Posted by: Lady | 2007-12-22 5:21:59 PM
I don't think you are worthy of my time...or hits. I am abandoning this blog...and to my friends, good luck with all you do. This ground has now sunk so low, I cannot bend down that far, for fear of brushing heads with islamofacists, who are probably calling this is a great victory.
Posted by: Lady | 2007-12-22 5:26:10 PM
I have intimate familiarity with this issue but stay away from it like a scalded dog.
My comment, now irrelevant, is that I've seen treatment of "hopeless cases" handled in each of the basic three options: 1) government institutions, 2) leave them on the street, and 3) Roman Catholic (entirely charitable) institutions.
Option 1) was Hell to observe. Option 2) was Hell to live. Option 3) was Heaven on earth (miraculous is the appropriate term).
All matters concerning humanity; the human condition, family matters, benefit or flourish in an atmosphere of love based on Faith, or "duty to God" or "sanctity of innocent human life," etc. Nothing of this comes from (big - Totalitarian) government (Atheist, Socialist).
My testimony is based on long observation with my own eyes.
I miss Lady already. I hope Karol informs us/me where he (or she?) is going, if there comes a time when he too departs this space.
Posted by: Conrad-USA | 2007-12-24 9:19:44 AM
Clarification. My comment above is irrelevant because the Catholic Church now has homosexual priests, whose criminal "care" for innocents will never recover trust; and Feminists don't commit their lives for OTHERS as a charitable form of Worship).
Posted by: Conrad-USA | 2007-12-24 9:30:07 AM
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