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CanadaWestern law is entirely based on the premise that you may do whatever you wish, as long as it hurts no one else.

For all the volumes of laws and charters and everything else we have that defines what we are and are not allowed to do, that basic tenet rings true.

I love Canada. We don’t have the economic or industrial power of many countries, and we certainly don’t have the largest population or even the largest land mass. Canada doesn’t come first on very many lists of any consequence…though I’m not sure how many of those lists would be written by Canadians.

We’re currently #4 on the UN’s Human Development Index, which we’ve been #1 on before. There’s not much to separate the top countries in the current list, and coming in behind only Iceland, Norway and Australia – all beautiful (and smaller) countries – puts us in pretty good company. Canada is a wonderful country to live in, and I’m very proud to call it my home. Six or seven years ago I would have said I was Patriotic, but that seems to have taken on a different meaning lately. We Canucks are a bit understated about that anyway.

Having been born Canadian, I am entitled to all that this wonderful country has to offer. Being free, I can choose to live wherever I wish and whom I wish to live with. I can work for any employer that will have me, and I can earn as much money as they are willing to pay me for my services. I can speak my mind about whatever I wish without fear of repercussion because Canada is a free nation and those are our values. I might not agree with what someone else might be saying, but as long as they aren’t inciting violence or telling outright lies then it is their right to say it.

These are the values shared by most of the West. Freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press … the list goes on. We are free, and we take our freedom very seriously.

My point here is that freedom is my birthright. I enjoy and treasure my freedom as those before me enjoyed theirs, and I have the most profound respect for those that have served our nation to secure it. Our freedom has been forged in steel and in blood, and it is incumbent upon all of us to maintain these freedoms for the benefit of everyone. I have never lived in a country that was not Free. I have visited places that were not. I’ll take Freedom.

One freedom that we’re starting to have clashes about is Freedom of Religion. As a Canadian, you are free to practise whatever religion you wish. And I, if I wish, am entirely free to ridicule you for your choice if I don’t like it.(1)

Anyone coming to Canada must be made to understand that we are Free, and that being Free means that you will be offended…either by someone meaning to offend you or someone with the very best of intentions. I can’t remember how many times I’ve been offended by something or other, and that’s just life the way we know it.

I would never deny someone the right to speak freely regardless of how I feel about the topic being discussed. All I ask is that my viewpoint also be heard. That’s all, and that’s about all the accommodation I think any of us needs.

1. Not that I generally ridicule anything other than Scientology and Heaven’s Gate. I’m just making a point.

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