Monthly Archive March 31, 2020

ML20-001 Free Speech should be exactly that….

“If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” – George Washington

Freedom. Something guaranteed to us, among other things, by the very fabric of our government and society. It is, in essence, what makes our country one of the most desirable places to live on this planet. A place where people can live in peace and openly discuss, argue and debate the matters affecting their lives. A place where they can worship their deity of choice (or none for that matter). A place where they can travel freely, enjoying its abundance and beauty. A place where they can live their lives in peace, without fear of their neighbors or government. A place, where they can have an opinion.

I’ve lived my life for 34-ish years doing my best to fully enjoy those rights. I’ve traveled to most of the country and well beyond its borders. I’ve enjoyed the ability to have my own beliefs about the way this world and the next works. I’ve even enjoyed my ability to criticize and question those we elect into power. Well, the ones others elect into power anyways – the ones I elect seem to do a better job. More or less, I was able to enjoy roughly 30 years of a somewhat ideal Canadian life. Then I saw the other side.

Now you may have noticed that over the past few weeks this site has been silent. You may have also noticed a lack of content, no matter how often checked. The reasons behind this are lengthy and complex. For those who have followed my father’s exploits on this site, you should have a pretty good idea of the background. But don’t worry, I’m not here to rehash the past or champion his cause – he does a good job with that himself.

I’m here because I feel that our freedom of speech should be something we use. Allowing yourself to be silenced, or allowing any other freedom you have to be taken from you, is the start of the end for our democracy. Unfortunately, it’s something we see happen every day. It’s easy to find on the internet or see in the news. Every day reporters are silenced for revealing inconvenient truths. Average citizens are drawn into lengthy civil legal issues for voicing their opinion or blowing a whistle. Innocent people find their freedoms restricted or removed because they spoke their opinion. This is not Canadian. This is not the model our country should follow. Certain truths may be uncomfortable or even damning. They may be truths no one wants to hear. Regardless, they are truths and we have every right to say them.

So, where do we go from here? Well, the world is in an interesting state right now. A global pandemic will do that I guess. Its given us a lot to think about and a lot of time to do the thinking. Something I’ve really been thinking about is “how did we get here?”. And no, I don’t mean the “here” that has been the focus of this site for some time. I mean there “here” as in our society, our family history, the stories of our friends. How did we get to enjoy the freedoms we have? Lost you yet? Maybe? Well, here are some things you may see talked about here in the coming socially-isolated weeks:

  1. Fighting for democracy – 4 out of 4 of my grandparents served in WW2. Two on our side, one in two armies on the other side, and then a third army on our side afterwards (long but cool story) and one in a paramilitary group. My fathers parents both served in the RCAF, meeting each other and eventually marrying and starting a family. I want to take some time with my grandmother, now well into her 90’s, and get some perspective from her on life during and after the war on the freedoms they enjoyed and fought for.
  2. Becoming Canadian – cool fact, I’m actually 1st generation Canadian. My mother was born in Germany and immigrated here at the age of 1. She came from an immigrant family, working hard to do their best in a new country, and she did very well for herself. She was also raised by a man forced to leave his country of birth and never return (thanks Soviets…), and who truly appreciated what our country has to offer. I want to hear how the freedoms of Canada let her and her parents live a better life.
  3. How do we compare? – sorry, here comes the engineer in me. I like numbers and stats – they rarely lie. A lot of countries claim to be the best in the world, ours included. Some countries voice their opinion a little louder than others (I won’t name names, but they really like heir red, white and blue!). How do they really stack up? I want to take a look at where Canada really comes in when it comes to freedom and see how we compare to the world.

Will I touch on all of this? I hope so. Will there be other content? Probably. Am I open to other ideas? Sure. Shoot me over a thought (a mature, realistic one) and I’ll take a crack at it. You’ll see some written work and probably some videos too. Hopefully I can use this isolated time to give you something to think about. Something about how we should hold the freedoms we have dear and use them as much as we can.

Thank you if you’ve held in there this far – I’m sure I lost a couple along the way.

Stay tuned, more to come.

-Matt