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My Kind Of Liberty

A big issue I have with the federal Liberals and the Conservatives in Canada is both parties talk about liberty, but, in my opinion, neither side knows what liberty is. 

Here is how the former Prime Minister Of Canada, Stephen Harper, described liberty in a 2009 speech:

Freedom must be tempered by faith…

Faith…teaches us…that how much freedom is exercised matters as much as freedom itself…

Freedom must be used well…

To conservatives, it cannot be just about freedom. It must be about policies that help ensure freedom will lead to good choices…

Stephen Harper
Prime Minister Of Canada
2003 - 2015

This is not liberty. Freedom tempered by a religious belief system is not freedom. Faith is a:

strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.

Oxford dictionary.

Being told one may have freedom only if it agrees with a certain faith is not liberty. The ability to freely choose to speak, think, act, and owe no account of one's words, thoughts, or acts to any one except to one's own conscience is liberty. 

Here is what the Prime Minister Of Canada, Justin Trudeau, said about liberty in a 2015 speech:

First, I want to argue that Canadian Liberty is all about inclusion.

Second, I’ll make the case that Canadian Liberty has got one of the world’s most vexatious problems right: the interplay between individual freedom and collective identity. 

So first, in Canada, when we are at our best, liberty means inclusion.

But for me, Canadian Liberty is not about the freedom of powerful people to exercise that freedom according to the dictates of their conscience. It is about Canadians’ rights not to have their freedom unduly restricted, especially by the state.

Inclusive Freedom. Expansive Freedom. That is the Canadian idea of Liberty. The idea that the liberty of all is enhanced when new freedoms are granted to individuals. Liberty is not majority rule. 

Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister Of Canada
2015 - 

Inclusion is not liberty. Collectivism is not liberty. The individual does not have more liberty when belonging to a group than when standing alone. A group of ten people does not have 10 times more liberty than the one person not part of the group. More individual rights does not mean more liberty. More liberty means more individual rights.  

Here is what the former Prime Minister Of Canada, Wilfred Laurier, said about liberty in his speeches:

I am a friend to liberty, but with me liberty does not mean license. A free people is not one without laws or checks; a free people is one among whom all the attributes, all the rights of the members of the State are clearly defined and determined and among whom there is no encroachment of one power upon another. That is the true liberty.

We have no absolute rights amongst us. The rights of each man, in our state of society, ends precisely at the point where they encroach upon the rights of others.

It will be argued, perhaps, that the reasons which I advance are pure legal subtleties. Name them as you please, technical expressions, legal subtleties, it matters little; for my part, I say that these technical reasons, these legal subtleties, are the guarantees of British liberty. Thanks to these technical expressions, these legal subtleties, no person on British soil can be arbitrarily deprived of what belongs to him. There was a time when the procedure was much simpler than it is to-day, when the will alone of one man was sufficient to deprive another of his liberty, his property, his honour and all that makes life dear. But since the days of the Great Charter, never has it been possible on British soil to rob a man of his liberty, his property or his honour except under the safeguard of what has been termed in this debate technical expressions and legal subtleties….

There are only two ways of governing men by despotism or coercion, if you choose to call it by that name, or by freedom.

Sir Wilfred Laurier
Prime Minister Of Canada
1896 - 1911

This is liberty. One's liberty only ends when one violates the rights of life, liberty, or property of another person. The government guarantees these individual rights, and the government is to protect those individual rights. That is how I see it.

© Trevor Dailey 


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