Earlier this week, vandals in Montreal destroyed a statue of Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir. John A. MacDonald.
This was just the latest in a long line of actions by those on the political left who seek to paint Canada as inherently racist and demonize historical figures.
This is only one aspect of the politically correct cancel-culture that has infected western societies in recent years.
One misstep, one comment, or opinion can undo a lifetime of good. The emotionally driven mob piles on and destroys those individuals who will not conform to their radical ideology of what society should be.
Cancel-culture ruins lives, it ruins businesses and careers, it ruins cultures, and it keeps us from being able to have serious, thoughtful and balanced national discussions surrounding figures from our collective past.
This is just one of the many reasons why we as Canada’s Conservatives believe in freedom of speech – whether you agree with us or not.
Our Charter enshrines specific rights and freedoms – freedom of conscience and religion; thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication; freedom of peaceful assembly; and freedom of association – that are the birthright of every individual Canadian citizen.
These freedoms exist to protect Canadians from government overreach, and from those who seek to forcibly impose their will and values. What they do not protect is the vandalism and violence that people are committing in the name of “peaceful protest”.
As Conservatives, we recognize that our history is our history, the good and the bad.
Instead of removing names and tearing down statues in the name of “political correctness” we should be honoring the people who founded this country, while at the same time being unafraid to recognize and learn from their mistakes.
Sir. John A. MacDonald was our first Prime Minister and, as such, he looms large in the Canadian psyche. To some he is a hero.To some he is a villain. All Canadians have the right to hold their own opinion. But all Canadians must also admit he is the central figure in the birth of our nation.
As one biographer put it, “No MacDonald, no Canada. Both MacDonald and the country he created were flawed but still great.”
Our history is our history, warts and all.
It’s our history that informs us of the ideas and events, decisions and values, and people who have shaped our nation.
It’s our history that helps us to understand what it means to be a Canadian.
It was former Conservative Prime Minister John Diefenbaker who best encapsulated the vision of what it means to be a Canadian:
“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, and free to choose those who shall govern my country.”