What have you done for your country lately?
Tisdale - Thursday, March 8, 2012
That seems like a pretty stupid question, after all we don’t normally think of it being one of our duties to be responsible for the betterment of the country that we all call home. But the question has merit.
The community in which I grew up, and remember the time in which my early school days occurred, was not that long after the dire stresses of the second world war. My teachers of the early fifties were very patriotic people and when remembrance day came around we just didn’t pin poppies to our shirts but we have a contingent of world war two veterans in their legion outfits and medals come into our classroom and tells what being a Canadian was all about. We started out each school day with “God Save the Queen” and often included “The Maple Leaf Forever.” We were proud of our citizenship, proud to be part of the British Commonwealth and when Canada took the lead in launching the first United Nation’s peace keeping mission in the Middle East, we knew the name of the general in charge.
Canada is a nation of people who either elected themselves to become Canadians or their ancestors made that decision. This is our home and native land and we each have our own set of values for which we identify as Canadian.
Two stories are in the news each and every day and they are directly connected with this topic and with each other. In Syria a significant portion of the population are not happy with their government and want a change and the government considers it appropriate to kill and torture those who oppose their clinging to power. Last spring, less than a year ago we Canadians went to the polls and we voted on who would represent us as members of our parliament. Unlike Syria we do not have to risk our lives demonstrating and sometimes dying in the street in an effort to change the government. In Canada we have free and open elections.
Well it appears that our free and open elections are not quite as free and open as we thought. In the election prior to that the Conservative party was found guilty of overspending and illegally breaking the rules that govern election spending while in this last spring election that same political party appears to have set about rigging the election by telling supporters of the Liberal Party that their polling station had been changed thus making it difficult for those voters to exercise their right to vote. Thirty-thousand people have complained to Elections Canada about these and other telephone tactics by the government party that now has a majority in the house of commons and is making laws based on what appears very much like something that would happen in some country where democracy is much less mature than what we have in Canada.
I am concerned about this issue. Because of the various political parties in Canada a majority government can be achieved with something like 35% of the people who vote supporting that party. Now consider two other factors. Something like 65% of Canadians actual go out and vote on election day. If a political party breaks the rules for elections with the amount they spend, which the Conservatives have been found guilty of, and if a political party campaigns in a manner that deprives voters of their right to vote then that legitimacy of that government is seriously compromised.
Look at our country Canadians, we got a pretty good thing here. We have natural resources, excellence in our education system creating first class people to make this country even better, we have economic stability, low unemployment, universal publicly support medical care and one of the safest lowest crime countries in the world where our life expectancy exceeds most other countries. This is a good place, we need to be sure that it will continue to be a good place and we can not have people messing with the things that we know makes this a country we can be proud in which to live.
Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms is one of the most respected pieces of social legislation in the world and among its principles are equality of citizens, right to join a union, freedom of speech, right to vote and freedom from persecution and discrimination.
So Canadians, what have you done for your country lately?