Conversely, it looks like we're about to spend $30Million to commemorate the bicentennial (200 year anniversary) of the War of 1812. Yes, that's 3-0 million dollars. During a recession.
Now, I am not suggesting that we shouldn't commemorate the War of 1812. It is an important part of the story of Canada and how we view ourselves and our country. But in a year when we can afford to celebrate the War of 1812, the 200th anniversary of the founding of Manitoba's Selkirk Settlement and the 100th Grey Cup football game, you think we could at least muster a couple of bucks for a special quarter or something for the Charter. (Maybe even a penny...wah wah...)
The Charter is the document that spells out our fundamental freedoms as Canadian citizens. I'm talking serious stuff here like: freedom of conscience and religion; freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication; freedom of peaceful assembly; and, freedom of association. Not to mention our basic democratic rights.
So I think it's fair to wonder, like our former Prime Minister Jean Chretien did yesterday in the Ottawa Citizen, why for the second time this government has decided to do NOTHING to commemorate an incredibly significant day. I'm not suggesting that a 30th anniversary deserves $30Million.
This is ideology over common sense all over again. It is well known that many of those in Conservative Ottawa have major issues with the charter. Even the Wikipedia page acknowledges this. Once again, small mindedness abounds in the Conservative cabinet. Imagine a Liberal government choosing not to commemorate World War I, because a Conservative (Borden) led that effort. It's almost too ridiculous to even consider.
What does it say about a country that will celebrate war more readily than it will celebrate a document that enshrines our freedoms? How do we explain to students across this country that the War of 1812 and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms have both left an indelible mark on the Canada we know and love, when clearly the federal government doesn't agree? At what point did ideology supplant any and all rational decision making in Ottawa?
These are the questions I'm asking, in a form of late celebration of my freedom of opinion and expression. I encourage you to do the same in the comments below.