1. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
- (a) freedom of conscience and religion;
- (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
- (c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
- (d) freedom of association.
- Often I think these freedoms are being misconstrued in our post-modern (or are we post-post now?) world of uber-secularism and hyper-rationalism. Many take these freedoms to mean freedom from rather than freedom of the above. This slight change of phrase has serious consequences. Freedom of means that we are allowed to openly confess, discuss and be whatever we will be as long as it's done within the confines of civility and law...with gentleness and respect. The lack of gentleness and respect by many participants in this and that cause of the past has lead many to wont for freedom from the above. Meaning that whatever you want to believe or practice is okay within a private setting but, "I don't want to have your ideologies forced upon me thank you very much! Keep it out of the public sphere! Practice your religion at home! What happens in the bedroom is your business!!" And so on. The problem is that is not real freedom. I'm proud that I live in a country where we still have freedom of...at least for now. Even if I believe what you believe is foolishness or you think my reasoning is ludicrous we should still be able to believe, confess and express ourselves as we feel is right and appropriate - with gentleness and respect.
- Noam Chomsky in the book Power Systems briefly describes the rise of unions and the role they played in establishing the contrasting health care models used by the United States and Canada. He said, "In Canada the unions struggled for health care for the country. In the United States, the struggled for health care for themselves...That's a reflection of different cultural values and institutional structures in two very similar countries."
- Later in the book he talks about the public education system, "Public education is based on the principle of solidarity. So, for example, I had my children fifty years ago. Nevertheless, I feel and I'm supposed to feel that I should pay taxes so that the kids across the street can go to school. That's counter to the doctrine that you should just look after yourself and let everyone else fall by the wayside...[public education] builds up a sense of solidarity, community, mutual support."
This idea of civic duty, looking out for one another and community is a core Canadian value that I hold dear. Though we are a vast and sometimes disparate nation we are one big village that needs to stay together, work together and continue to look out for one another. This sense of community is what has made Canada what it is today.
- Freedom of and the sense of community and solidarity are complementary values. Even if we hold very different personal beliefs and values than our neighbours, we can still be unified. If we hold to strong community values we will ensure that we express ourselves in a way that does not offend our neighbours or encroach on their rights and freedoms. Likewise we will also defend our neighbours' right to express themselves rather than ask them to keep all of that to themselves.
- The problem lies in the danger of moving towards a self-serving sense of entitlement rather than solidarity striving sense of shared space and community. When we concede to thinking about our rights above all others, rather than considering our neighbours' rights equal to ours, then will lose what has made this country glorious and free.
- God [help us to] keep this land, glorious and free!
- Happy Canada Day!!