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The little country that couldn't

By Randy Hillier
web posted May 20, 2002

There once was a proud and free country that took up the northern half of North America. Ambitious loyalists, natives, pioneers and poor immigrants forged this country. It was so popular and tolerant that immigrants from around the world were drawn to it. The land of the Maple Leaf became the land of the True North Strong and Free. The name of these inhabitants and their land became synonymous with peace, protection of freedoms and independence. This country was named Canada.

But the pendulum of change swings slowly between the needs of the collective and the needs of the individual and seldom finds balance. Canadian governments and bureaucrats have begun to legislate tolerance, and to quietly license, and limit, personal freedom and liberty. Students are suspended from school for writing fictional essays, and for not informing the authorities of their friends' intentions. I now need six federal-provincial licences and registrations to take my son duck hunting, and I'm a criminal if I leave home without them. Government and educators now promote the collective over the individual. They belittle the need to participate in, or be knowledgeable of, government. Government and bureaucrats have instituted economic disincentives, such as taxes, into society, and created have-nots, welfare and homeless classes. All this is happening under the camouflage of a kinder, gentler, more Just Society.

Intolerance and disincentives are a virus, nurtured by the bureaucracy. And our politicians can't recognize the problems or administer the cures. Today, we have a country our forefathers would not recognize. Our society is being transformed from a "can" to a "can not" from a "have" to a "have not." Eight of 10 provinces receive equalization payments from the other two.

Property rights are not enshrined in our Constitution; ownership of property is a privilege bestowed by government. The entrenchment of collective rights in our Constitution has usurped the strength, need and importance of individual rights. Can a collective group have rights where an individual does not? How can a right be subject to "notwithstanding?" How did we ever allow peace, order and good government to become more valuable than life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

Canada has institutionalized discrimination, inequality and intolerance under the guise of employment equity and political correctness. We have lowered our standards to qualify the unqualified. Police, firefighters and soldiers are examples of careers where physical strength and stamina have been deemed optional. Today, you can't advance within the federal government unless you are bilingual; you can't be an officer in the military or RCMP unless you speak French. Hard-working common people are taxed in every imaginable manner, their wealth removed and redistributed to provide multicultural programs and centres which they, unless a member of a select group, are not allowed to use. Are these the policies that promote understanding and tolerance? Or is this the way to create animosity, disrespect, and hopelessness? Our innate trust and respect for one another is being legislated, regulated and taxed into distrust and disrespect.

Our politicians and educators have lowered the standard of expectations to the point where an increasing number of people no longer participate in our democracy. Why should we vote when politicians are all the same? Why should we vote when politicians don't listen? Why should we vote when only special-interest groups can push their agenda? The lessening of voter participation is important for governments. Fewer people participating in elections means less money and effort is needed to win an election. The future of this path is indeed dark and frightening. Will our future ruling oligarchy have compassion for the people? Will the people have the means to restrain our friendly dictators? The chains of subjugation are being forged in the lethargy of the people, and our children will be the ones who wear them. This forge burns hot and constant, fuelled by the inequities of our education and legal systems.

The Liberals profess there is no brain drain. But their policies encourage not only the brains, but also the bodies, of our best and brightest to leave. Punishing taxes, regulatory systems and disregard for their aspirations are the means. These disincentives are many and are found in the incredible maze of bureaucratic regulations and taxes. The concept upon which a democracy is built is that government is a contract with the people guaranteeing their right to liberty, freedom, property and security. This ideal is lost in the darkness of ignorance; greed and the corruption of power keeps it hidden. The key to the solution is found in a well-educated public that is encouraged to participate in government. Welcome to CAN'TADA, home of the not so free, no longer strong, and much less tolerant. Who is on guard for thee?

This is Randy Hillier's first contribution to Enter Stage Right. This article first appeared in the Ottawa Citizen.

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