Canada Strong and Free. Really?

Newsfirst Multimedia political columnist Robert Vairo.

I have never heard so many Canadians displeased, unhappy, and downright disgusted with the state of our country today. No need to chat up the bartender to find out how people are feeling. No need for a survey that tells us that three out of four Canadians believe our country is broken.

“Broken”. That’s the word that is being used. I have never heard of anyone saying Canada is broken before, ever. We all love our Canada, its people and its scenery. But that’s where it stops these days. True, we don’t have the spectacular structures, monuments, temples and pyramids of the middle east, Europe and Asia. But we do love each other, appreciate our countryside, our Laurentian mountains, Rockies, Cabane a Sucre, lush forests, and impressive fresh water lakes. Travelling to our far north provides a spectacular natural phenomenon we have come to know as the aurora borealis.

Do we appreciate our freedom? That all depends on what is meant by freedom. In comparison to North Korea, China, Russia, and Venezuela, absolutely we do. The Oxford dictionary defines freedom as “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants with[1]out hindrance or restraint”. We do not have that kind of freedom, not even in Canada, which is supposedly meant to be “strong and free.” We can not say whatever we want without severe push back, and sometimes life-threatening social media threats. It appears freedom is rela[1]tive. It’s not supposed to be. Free is free, free whether it be to think, speak, or act, without libel or defamation of course.

We are free to celebrate and protest with ‘Black Lives Matter” and take a knee next to our Prime Minister, but we cannot condone a protest by the Ottawa truck caravan over Covid’s restriction on cross border truckers. We are not free to criticize Justin Trudeau’s actions. If this Prime Minister does not agree with what you say, you are a racist, misogynist, a flat earth believer, or as Trudeau prefers to say, a “flat earther”. And, you evidently belong to a small, irrelevant gang of right-wing yahoos.

Yes, saying what you think can and will get you in trouble. Saying what we think about the residential schools for Indigenous children is a glaring example. Atrocities were committed, as police and the catholic church tore children away from their mothers’ arms. Violence and sexual abuse happened. But saying many also died because of the deadly tuberculosis disease, rampant in the 50’s and 60’s, can get you fired. For example, teacher Jim McMurtry of the Abbotsford School Board in British Columbia. Fired for speaking out, in Canada. And don’t you dare say there are only two genders, not even in a Roman Catholic school. In a Renfrew Ontario school class discussion about male students using female washrooms, gender dysphoria and male breastfeeding, student Josh Alexander said there were only two genders and that gender does not trump biology. He was expelled and then arrested by two police officers the next day for trespassing. Now I may not necessarily agree with what was said, but it does not matter what I think. What matters is Canadians have the right to say it.

So, you see, we are not “strong and free”.

China infiltrates our governments and elec[1]tions and our Prime Minister is concerned about who leaked this information. Really? Should he not be outraged and act to stop a foreign nation from challenging our sovereignty? Our last Liberal budget was a fiscal illusion. We have amassed more debt under this government since 1867, with no regard to applying a tourniquet to this hemorrhage. Our justice system is a mess with too many repeat violent offenders. Countless shootings and stabbings, and eight policemen have died since last September. Bureaucracy has increased more than in any other government and we all know it is not reflected in the services, at airports, passport offices etc. Conflicts of interest and ethical shortcomings occur almost every week. Bill C-11 will control social media content. Relatives of a minister and a cottage neighbour have been chosen to chair some of the most responsible positions, including one who will oversee a closed-door investigation of China’s intrusion. This is a nightmare.

We are weak and chained. We are not free from incomprehensible tax levies including the trickle-down effects of the carbon tax and absurdly high cost of groceries. We are not free to take home a pay cheque and be able to save. We are not free from galloping mortgage payments, from the ability to buy that first home, to be ill and receive quick attention at any one of Canada’s thirteen hundred hospitals. If you have had the misfortune of visiting an emergency room lately, you have counted the hours waiting. I realize that this is a provincial responsibility, but should there not be federal leadership to help fix what was once an enviable health care system? After all, it is called the Canada Health Act, a statute of the Parliament of Canada.

How are we to have confidence in a government that appoints a Pierre Elliott Trudeau Trust Fund director and personal friend like David Johnston as “rapporteur”. What is a rapporteur? I could guess its meaning but I had to look up this seldom, if ever used word. It is one utilized by a smug and arrogant PM who treats us as fools.

Our oil and gas industry is dead. Bill C-69 prevents any nation building project in our energy rich country, when the world is practically begging for our oil and gas. What nation does that? When Germany and Japan came calling for gas exports, our Prime Minister said no, and preached his pseudo virtues of environment preservation. What an embarrassment. Can we not be strong and free?

Robert Vairo

That’s What I’m Thinking