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OPINION: What Matters to You - Freedom?

We think we live in a “Free” country; I’ve heard it said often. I’ve said it myself in the past, heck our provincial motto is “Strong and Free”, our national anthem has a famous line we all know: “The True North, Strong and Free”. Over the last few years however, I have developed some very real concerns over the erosion of our freedoms.

Not everyone shares my concerns, as I have found that the definition of ‘Freedom’ varies from person to person, depending on where they live in our country, where they live in each province or territory and what age they are. It also depends on how much of their freedom they really use; kind of a use it or lose it thing. You see, there has been a steady erosion of personal freedoms in this country for years, under the guise of safety, or for the better good. So how much better off are we? Was it worth it? How free are we now compared to former generations?

My friend John is 85 years old now, he’s one of the guys who was on site at the time standing up the first tower at Syncrude. John was a Boilermaker by trade and has worked all over North America; he has several good stories that I can guarantee will have you laughing for hours. John still flies airplanes, has been married to the same lady since he was 20, and still manages to stay young by living life. John moved out to B.C. several years ago now to be closer to his daughter and his grandson. John, like many, cannot recognize what has become of our country, and how we got to where we are. I’ve often jested with John and several other gents in his age bracket that: “they got to do everything, so my generation could hardly do anything!”. When I look at what has happened since 2014, I feel that my kids will be thinking the same thing about my generation.

It has been famously stated before, on a court stand no less, when terrible events were being reviewed, as to how a particular government was able to coerce an entire population into either turning a blind eye or joining in the persecution of others all while restricting the overall freedoms of its citizens. The secret ingredient is of course, FEAR. If you have a population that is fearful, they are easier to influence, and it’s easier to make them identify another group as the threat. Once you’ve been successful with sowing this division, they will allow you, and in some cases even ask you, to take away their freedoms so that you can protect them from the very threat that you have invented. Even better is when you can get them to fight amongst themselves. History is repeating itself, and the only way we can ensure that it does not get to the point where we must hear the “truth” on a court stand is to really identify what our personal lines are, what is important to us, and what freedom truly means.

About 6 years back my friend John called me out of the blue and told me to sell everything and move up to the Yukon. You see, John was getting bored, and took on a job as a hot shot driver for a company that salvaged planes, and subsequently supplied parts to the aviation community. One day, outside of Whitehorse, he had trouble with a wheel bearing on the trailer he was pulling those plane parts on. He could not believe it when the very first car that was passing, pulled over, and took him into town to a repair shop, no charge. Then, the repair shop set him up with parts, tools, a jack, everything he needed to make the repair, and lent him a vehicle to go back to fix the trailer. No charge, just bring back what you didn’t need and settle the account then. When John was in a restaurant, people were talking to each other face to face; their cell phones and social media were all parked. “Shane, this is just like it used to be in Alberta, like it used to be in BC, sell all your things and move to the Yukon, it’s where Canada still lives.”

Six years later, we have seen the erosion of personal freedoms, we have seen the vilification of people who may have opposing opinions, we have seen blatant propaganda when it comes to agendas on numerous topics, and we have seen the consolidation and payout of corporate media.

We have seen under the guise of public health and safety, a varying degree of restrictions imposed on populations, we have seen a national restriction of movement of people within their own territories far exceeding any other ‘free’ country. We have seen the segregation and vilification of citizens based on their personal health choices; information that at one time was extremely private and personal being demanded for service or employment. We have seen acts reserved for conditions of war being used to quell civil protest, and with that, citizens being charged with misdemeanors and/or imprisoned for several months. We now see a bill before the Senate that essentially ushers in the censorship of free speech and public expression.

New laws are threatening freedoms and constitutional rights that a mere 6 years ago I never could have imagined possible. I ask you this: what do you value? What freedoms have you given up, knowingly, or passively, that you may never get back? These could become freedoms that your children may never know and never miss because they never had them in the first place. Erasing history, sanitizing it, being ‘Woke’. If this is how we move forward, giving up freedoms and erasing history, how are we supposed to learn from our mistakes in today’s world?

This has happened before and we all knew that it was bad, right? That’s when our great-grandfathers, grandfathers, and fathers took up arms and fought for freedom on foreign shores to ensure that we would never have to experience that at home. While we still have the chance, we can choose to draw the line, keep the freedoms we have, and grab back those that have been taken.

We can do this in a civil manner, we can choose to support people who believe in the same, we can choose leaders who will make this policy on our behalf. I believe that there is still time, but it will not be up to someone else to do. It will take people who value their freedoms to participate fully in the process to flex their democratic muscle, the folks that are taking your freedoms are counting on you to be apathetic, it’s the reason they have been able to get this far so fast.

You must be part of the process: buy a membership to a political party and help form the policies of the party that will shape the platforms. Help choose the leaders of that party, ensuring that they have the same values, and if they form government that they will protect your rights and freedoms.

I’ll be seeing John this weekend, along with a number of old mentors that I’ve had over the years while on projects. People who have taken time to teach me, to be there when I needed them, who have shared stories of how things used to be. We will be at a “Celebration of Life” when we say goodbye to our friend Wayne.

It’s been 2 years since many of us have been able to see one another, because of the travel restrictions. I’m sure the subject of freedom will come up, and I for one will be glad to hear about the good old days and will work as hard as I can to make them a reality for my kids. They will be buying their memberships, participating in the process, and doing what they can to keep their freedoms, and I hope you will do the same.

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