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July 01, 2003

Freedom and independence

This used to be called Dominion Day when I was growing up. "Canada Day" was a made-up holiday used as an excuse to close the Canadian embassy to Tehran and thereby smuggle American diplomats out from the insanity of the Iranian revolution.

Some time after that Canada Day became official and here it is once again.

Once upon a time in 1867 Canada became quasi-independent from the United Kingdom and it remains quasi-independent to this day. Our new-fangled constitution has rested ultimate judicial authority with a home-grown Supreme Court since 1982 but our head of state remains Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada. Manifest destinies to the contrary, we remain steadfastly independent of our southern neighbour. So much so, in fact, that our foreign policy is reliably the opposite of whatever our neighbour chooses to do in order to prove our sovereignty right-or-wrong.

This is a difficulty with independence. We are so busy proving our independence we effectively cede the ability to make choices for ourselves and in this way lose our freedom. Freedom cannot mean agreeing with every tin-pot dictator if only to prove Canadian independence from the United States. Real freedom means an ability to make choices even when they coincide with the views of our loved-ones who, naturally, are the people who scare us the most.

Happy Canada Day.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at July 1, 2003 01:39 AM