On being Canadian

Writer on tenets of democracy he believes must be upheld.


My grandsons are sixth generation Canadians and that gives me a profound sense of joy and gratitude they are thus. I am filled with a sense of awe and comfort that we live in a democratic country, in spite of all its political, social, and racial ills of past and of recent. There is, absolutely, no doubt in my mind there exists a history of gross injustice against the aboriginal peoples of North America. History is littered with atrocities and genocide against aboriginal people; generations of ancestors on this land, 20 times longer than my grandsons. Having said that, historic wrongs can never be corrected nor made right, no matter how hard we may wish to try. It is history and shall forever remain as such.

Democracy is defined (The New Shorter Oxford) as: “[governance] by the people, a form of government in which the power resides in the people and is exercised by [the people] either directly or by means of elected representatives; a form of society which favours equal rights, the ignoring of hereditary class distinctions, and tolerance of minority views.” In spite of the political short comings of the present-day governance of Canada, its provinces and territories, democracy (such as it is) flourishes and gives us a far superior social construct than most countries on this planet. Alas many Canadians take our democratic reality for granted or fail to appreciate how truly lucky we are to live and share this land.

It is my firm belief the tenets of our democracy are, very simply:

–No citizen of Canada is above the law.

–No individual or group of people shall have privileged rights and title base on race, culture, religion or politics.

–Every citizen has a duty to respect law, to pay taxes, and to respect the rights of others.

When these simple tenets are violated (however well meaning) by our elected governments or citizens of this land, democracy (as described above) shall be irreparably damaged. And when democracy is degraded to nothing more than a concept, then the Canadian social construct shall fall to civil disobedience, schism and, ultimately, bloodshed and ruin. Reflect to historic societies and the demise of same.

J Bruce McGonigal


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