Peter John Loewen

It is a reasonable maxim that actions which are truly good bestow positive benefits both upon the source of the action, as well as those affected by or related to the action. From that axiom springs our most compelling reason to save Canada: doing so benefits not only us, but also those to whom we are related.

In saving Canada, we must first concede that we have not fully protected the borders of our ideas. They have been crossed, and some new ideas have entered, replacing older more noble notions.

Count among these full employment. This idea has given way to the notion that an unemployment rate of 8% is optimal for the operation of our economy and monetary system, regardless of those citizens who are left displaced and demoralized.

Count too the principle of a universal health care system. Alberta’s Bill 11 is the most recent and visible assault against this universality. It is not an isolated example.

Count, finally, the belief that our regulatory framework should encourage ownership of Canadian corporations by Canadians, and not foreign interests. Countless examples make clear the reality that our public policy has not supported Canadian ownership of Canadian corporations.

Thus, in saving Canada, we must be impassioned by these awful realities. They must become our motivation for not only fighting to restore full employment, universal health care and Canadian ownership. They must be our motivation for saving what remains of our nation.

We should be motivated to save Canada because it remains a nation who punches above its weight in the international ring. There is no doubt that this is a result of our willingness to take a lead in creating and maintaining peace. Peace-keeping is simply a reflection of greater values. Chief among these values is the rule that nations should not act in accordance with their own narrow interests, but should work towards the greatest good. The initiatives of our current foreign minister — from banning land mines to the establishment of an international criminal court — are a reflection of this collective value. These are values worth saving. These are values which have changed the way the world views international relations.

Thus, if we allow Canada to be swallowed up into the larger world we risk allowing our ideas of international civility and duty to be swallowed up by those who conduct themselves by the law of the national interest jungle alone.

We should be driven to maintain Canada because it is a model of balance to all the world. Our nation is one which has balanced wonderfully two official languages, dozens of unofficial others, and a palate of people as diverse as anywhere else in the world. This is no small accomplishment. The United States still scratches at the scars of its segregationist past. The United Kingdom maintains discriminatory immigration laws towards those from the Indian sub-continent, while wrestling with racism within its larger cities. Much of Eastern Europe remains a model for how democracies fall apart under the weight of ethnic clashes. Canada, meanwhile, has maintained this balance without revolution or revolt.

This is a testament to neither political brokerage or historical luck, but to a nation that sees diversity as integral to its character and survival. Such an idea does not find space in a world whose nations are increasingly moving towards either radical assimilation or a dangerous tribalism. If we can save

Canada, we can save this example to the world. In saving Canada, we can save the respect of the poor and disadvantaged our globalized world has left behind. While we have allowed it to erode in recent years, we are still a nation which believes in the importance of compassionate and generous programs of assistance. By reversing this trend we can both improve our lot at home, and renew the envy of the world.

And in saving Canada we can make a last stand — one which benefits all the world. By example and ideal, we will reaffirm the belief that citizens, gathered together in a nation, can best meet one another’s needs. And we still stand for the premise that people are better ruled by a democratically elected government, with restraint and care, than by corporate-driven treatise and agreements.

Why is Canada worth saving? Because doing so will be a good noble act. Looking inwardly, we find a country at the envy of the world. Looking outwardly, we find a world shaped by us to a degree far beyond that of our meagre size. In saving this country, we help ourselves, but we also help the world.

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