Canada is Free and Freedom is Its Nationality

Sir Wilfrid Laurier

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Event Blogging The conservative movement at a crossroads: Canada's Conservative Heritage

Please Note: This is a summary of the events and speeches in my own words for educational, information, and entertainment purposes only. It is not the speakers' exact words and should not be taken as such. It also may contain errors due to the nature of the medium. I am not responsible for any of them, use at your own risk.

John Robson
Radio commentator and Ottawa Citizen columnist

We have an obstacle in our way in that some say conservatives are not part of Canada.

Canada's tradition is overwhelmingly conservative. Blackstone lived in a land where liberty is the cornerstone of their constitution. Canada's conservative tradition goes way back, right to the magna carta.

A society who forgets it's history is like a person with amnesia.

The story of Alfred and the cakes. Almost no one knows it today but before anyone would know it. Alfred was fighting the Danes. Things go badly so he runs and hides, disguised to a peasant. He comes to a cottage and begs shelter. The housewife, not knowing who he is, lets him in and then sets him to watching her cakes while she goes out. He ends up burning them and then apologizes. Afterwards he goes on to great success.

This was how Americans and Canadians understood leadership. That it was about humility.

Canute was a King who his councillors said could stoop the tide. So he tried to stop the tide but couldn't and then told his councillors not to flatter him. This is also about leadership.

After the Norman's conquered England, the barons rebelled against bad king John and make him sign the Magna Carta. This was an affirmation that King John did not have the right to do what he did.

When Americans rebelled about no taxation without representation it was an old right got out of Edward Longshanks who believed it was ancient law.

Our Canadian conservative tradition goes back to the mists of time. Canadians are free people.

There are a whole range of procedural safeguards that are considered an affirmation of the way things have always been and should always be.

We must have representatives of the whole English nation from Lords to Burgesses in Parliament.

Parliament has the power over money, and the House of Commons has most power in money bills because the common people pay the taxes. This is a very early affirmation of the veto which the common people have.

Henry VIII tried to get a law passed that his word was law. He almost got it but Parliament had a tricky bit in the law which took the powers back.

The British Civil War is a classic example of English moderation which is now the fabled Canadian moderation. People putting their lives on the lines to safeguard their liberties.

The people who said Canada is free and freedom is its nationality were looking back at this history as our history.

Our liberties come from the mists of time and has been under attack many times but it has been defended.

Revitalizing our legislature and other Conservative ideas are not foreign American ideas, they are part of our culture, part of our history.

We are one chapter of a long and exciting story. Canada's conservative tradition goes back at least as far as Alfred the Great rallying his men at Egbert's stone against the Danes.

All the things that we hold dear about due process are liberties we have held for seven, eight or more centuries. 

There is nothing unCanadian about a devotion to liberty when it is under attack. That doesn't mean there aren't problems today but it means we can tackle them in the spirit of Alfred.

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