FERNANDO: Canada Day A Reminder Of Our Core Values

Canada Day Is A Reminder To Return To Our Core Values As A Country

By Spencer Fernando, Exclusive to the National Citizens Coalition


Every democratic country faces a challenge in balancing the inevitability of change brought about in a free society with the importance of holding on to some core values.

This is a good problem to have, since it beats the alternative of having change suppressed by an authoritarian government and having your values dictated to you from the top down by leaders who have zero accountability to the public.

Furthermore, the fact that democracies tend to be such beacons of liberty and opportunity is what brings new people from around the world with their unique perspectives and which helps to ensure a country is always adapting to a fast-changing global landscape.

However, some politicians can take advantage of this process of adaptation and change, to try and distance a country from its core values in ways that may appear subtle at first but become more and more concerning as time goes on.

I believe that is what we are seeing in Canada at this very moment.

In ways both large and small, the Trudeau government is seeking to shift Canada away from a set of core values based upon liberty and human empowerment, to a set of values based upon centralized control and historical guilt.

This can be seen most clearly in how the federal government approaches freedom of expression. The government is growing more and more hostile towards any platform or media institution they don’t control, and Canadians will soon have to use VPNs if we want to access Canadian news through Google or Facebook. This is a result of Bill C-18, legislation the Liberals passed despite repeated warnings that – if they ignored valid criticisms of the Bill – it would result in bans on Canadian news links on some of the largest platforms on Earth.

Bill C-11 demonstrated a similar hostility to freedom of expression, with the Liberals greatly empowering a centralized government institution – the CRTC – to define what is and isn’t considered ‘Canadian content’. The government also plans to regulate what they call ‘lawful but harmful’ content, which is about as Orwellian as it gets.

As you’ve surely noticed, the trend under this government goes in only one direction: More government control, less freedom of expression.

This runs counter to the values of this country. Though we have not always lived up to our commitment to free expression, Canada has – at our best – been one of the freest nations on Earth when it comes to empowering people to speak their minds without fear of government punishment or censorship.

Another core Canadian value is standing up for freedom and human rights not just at home but around the world. Canada has long been a strong ally and has made immense contributions to the cause of liberty through our participation in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the war in Afghanistan.

Yet, at a time when the threat from Russia and China is growing, Canada’s national defences have been allowed to languish. While this has been a long-term process, the growing danger and threat faced by democratic nations makes it inexcusable for our national defences to be left in such a precarious state.

We’ve watched our soldiers having to pay for their own meals and equipment. We’ve been left out of a massive air exercise that included almost every NATO country and even some non-NATO countries because we didn’t have any planes that could contribute. Our arctic defences are so meagre that the United Kingdom offered to ‘help’ us in the region – a polite way of saying that they’ll defend the artic if we refuse to do so. And we were left out of the Australia, UK, US (AUKUS) alliance, something that – if we were serious about all the ‘Canada is a Pacific nation’ rhetoric – we would be clamouring to be a part of.

Underpinning all of this is the idea that we should feel a sense of guilt and shame for Canadian history and for being part of Western civilization. It’s an attitude that is convenient for the Liberal government, as it allows them to reframe Canadian history in such a way as to make their actions and attitudes in the present moment seem to be the only ‘acceptable’ way to think about things. But it has a deeply corrosive effect, because it undermines confidence in the core values of the West – individual freedom, free expression, limits on government power – and dissuades people from wanting to defend our nation – why would people sign up to defend a ‘genocidal state?’ It also empowers anti-democratic nations, as both China and Russia are glad to buttress their ‘whataboutism’ rhetoric with the words of our own Prime Minister denouncing Canadian history.

Now, this isn’t to say that we should overlook our flaws or our errors as a country. But to exclusively focus on those flaws, and to pretend that there isn’t something genuinely special about Canada and the ideas of Western civilization upon which our nation is based, is to ignore reality and ignore something that could be deeply inspiring and unifying at a time when we need more inspiration and unity.

With all of this in mind, Canada Day should be a day for us to remember that we have much to be proud of as Canadians. Freedom, liberty, human rights, and a commitment to standing with our allies and standing for what is right are all values we must hold on to if our country is to thrive in the years and decades to come.

Spencer Fernando is one of the most popular and prolific political voices in Canada. He is a Campaign Fellow for the National Citizens Coalition. For more from Spencer, visit his website, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter

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