Sunday, January 30, 2011

Standing on Guard for Thee... 10 / 30

I am fortunate to have been born in a country where my basic rights are protected by the rule of law.

I am proud to stand behind our system of government, with all its flaws, and know that our leaders, put in place by the people of this country, are accountable, if only in part, to us.

I take great satisfaction in knowing that my sons will grow up in a country where their voices can be heard, and if their voices disagree with the government, they will not be taken from me.

I sleep well at night, knowing that the police will not come into my house to murder my family or rape my wife just to teach me a lesson for being a human rights worker.

I feel a swell of pride in my heart when I see Canadian military personnel engaged in humanitarian and peace-keeping endeavours around the world.  I know that no system is perfect, and that sometimes mistakes are made, but I believe with all my heart that the men and women in uniform deserve our support, respect and admiration. 

I enjoy seeing a police car in my neighbourhood, because I know that the officers in that vehicle are sworn to protect me and my neighbours.  Some officers may stray from the straight and narrow, but the police in Canada, flawed though our judicial system may be, are the front line representatives and enforcers of justice, peace and freedom.

I am encouraged that protesters in my country can wave flags, bang on cans and make their voices heard.  I may not always agree with them, but I stand by their right to be heard, and am grateful that I live in a country where any police response will not result in a body count.  Yes, mistakes are made, but the fact that those mistakes result in a public outcry more often than not is another sign that our system works.

I decided not to practice law, but our legal system is held as a model by countries all over the world, and our courts and judges do their utmost to see to it that justice is not only done, but is also seen to be done.  No system is perfect, but I have faith that those who administer our laws are doing so with the best of intention, and that they can be held accountable when that is not the case.

I am proud of my nation’s efforts, and confident that it can make amends for its errors and omissions.  I have hope for the future because of that confidence.  I know that my children will grow up in an environment of peace and stability.  I know that they will complain about taxes and police stops, that they will bemoan the current political trends, just as we have done for generations in Canada.  But I also know that they will be safe.  That they will have adequate health care and that a social safety net will aid them if they cannot aid themselves.

I know that there are flaws and shortcomings.  I know that our schools are overcrowded and our hospital line ups are often unacceptable.  I am well aware that police officers have caused the deaths of individuals who did not deserve such conduct.  I am hopeful and supporting, while being critical and demanding.

I am Canadian.

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