Freedom

Section: 
Editorial

This is Freedom to Read Week in Canada. The idea is to encourage us to reaffirm our commitment to intellectual Freedom, which is guaranteed under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

 

If only our governments were committed to the same thing.

 

Take the federal government, it talks a good game but it refuses to allow its scientists to speak publicly, even though your taxes pay for their research.

 

And MPs are puppets. They are allowed to pass out government cheques but they are not allowed to speak on issues that might be contrary to the party line. Anybody remember our MP, Ben Lobb, saying just anything about his government?

 

Same thing holds true at Queen’s Park. Only opposition MPPs have opinions. Strange but true.

Now the federal government has appointed Canada’s first ambassador for Religious Freedom. The ambassador’s job will be to criticize other countries for their lack of protection of religious minorities.

Hallelujah! We’re going to lecture to the world on religious freedom. That should bring a laugh or two from the Middle East, Pakistan, India, etc. – if they even notice.

 

Enjoy freedom to read week – even if you find it difficult to find good information about Ottawa and Queen’s Park.

 

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Engage in anti-social behaviour in Kincardine and you could end up with $300 fine instead of clogging up the court system.

 

That’s what will happen if Kincardine goes ahead with a proposed public nuisance bylaw.

 

It will likely be a win-win situation. Out of control drunks won’t have to hire a lawyer, just pay a fine – that should help municipal coffers. And since heavy drinkers hate wasting money on anything but booze,

maybe they’ll smarten up after a $300 fine or two.

 

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If you took Canadian history in high school, you likely remember the Social Gospel. It was a protestant movement that started in the 1890s and lasted well into the last century.

 

Basically, the Social Gospel’s aim was to create heaven on earth. It led to the creation of  the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, forerunner of the NDP, in 1932.

 

The CCF had politicians like J.S. Woodsworth, Stanley Knowles, Tommy Douglas working to create a better country for all Canadians. Douglas, for example, is regarded as the father of medicare in Canada.

Politicians like Douglas have gone the way of the dodo bird. Talk of creating a better society in this country has been replaced with talk about the economy and efficiency. Although big business seems to set the rules of the land, the country and our province are being run into the ground. They talk of efficiency – they just don’t provide it.

 

What happened to the idealists who used to populate Canadian politics?

 

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Spring can’t be far away – potholes abound.