Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Making a Better Canada: A Brief Conservative Manifesto

Today, thousands of Edmontonians -- Canadians one and all -- greeted the Olympic Flame on its way to Vancouver for the 2010 Olympic games. Canadians of all ages, races and creeds came together to celebrate the Olympic spirit which permeates Canada so deeply.

Amidst all the messaging custom-made to use the occasions to sell things -- notably, banking services and Coca-Cola -- was one penetrating message: making a better Canada.

And while making Canada a better place for all its citizens is something all Canadians hold in common, the scenes that have unfolded should remind Canadians of an important fact about making this solemn wish a reality: that Canadians will have to do it together.

It's true that several levels of government -- federal, provincial, and municipal -- had a direct hand in planning the events celebrating Canada's Olympic Torch Relay.

But the greeting Canadians have given the Olympic torch everywhere it has visited should remind us of the role government should play in creating a better Canada: the role of government is to give people the opportunity to come together so they can do it themselves.

It wasn't government that brought out thousands of Edmontonians -- and millions of Canadians across the country -- to herald the return of the Olympic games to Canada. It was the community spirit shared by Canadians. It was the knowledge that we, as Canadians, will together decide the future of our country, and that we as Canadians, will build it.

Certainly, there are some Canadians -- the varied forces of statism -- who will disagree with such sentiments. Their impulse is to embed the state, embed their own ideology, and expand the role of the government in Canadian society.

They do not understand -- or are not willing to admit -- that such actions disempowers Canadians, and prevents them from harnessing the energy and spirit with which they greeted the Olympic Torch to make their communities, and their country, a better place to live.

They don't understand -- or are not willing to admit -- that their assaults on individual autonomy are also assaults on individual freedom. Their assaults on the autonomy to act are also assaults on the freedom to act.

If the predictions of recent benchmark works in conservative thought come to fruition, Canadians will continue to demand the return of this automony, and the return of these freedoms.

When that happens, a better Canada will be closer than we have ever dared imagine.

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