For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.
Nelson Mandela’s words, in reference to his beloved Africa, also speak the truth for all of mankind throughout the world. Freedom is a glorious and valuable right that we as Canadians enjoy often without thought. Our lives, for those Canadian-born, began with freedom built-in. Many other Canadians have joined us in citizenry to escape the freedom-oppressed state of their country of birth. Still others have come in order to enjoy the many other facets of Canadian living. Their presence and vowed allegiance to Canada, and the freedom it shares with all, is a gift not only to them but to all of us. Multiculturalism enriches our lives. It is indeed a land of opportunity with freedom of expression at the forefront. It is, of course, not enough to spout the rhetoric of freedom. As freedom loving Canadians each and every one of us needs to embrace, respect and encourage the growth of freedom worldwide by example at home. The people who spread negativity regarding immigration practices in Canada, of course, are well within their rights to express themselves. It is my hope that the naysayers are stopping before they speak to examine the basis for their words. It is my hope that these same people who are adamantly against more immigration to Canada will temper their words with valid, non-hate based reasoning for their expression of discontent. It is an old saying to ‘think before you speak’. To this I would hasten to add really think and examine, not only the validity of your “free” expression, but the true source of the feelings behind it. Is there hatred and fear of customs and cultures outside of your comfort zone in the mix? Self examination before self-expression is also a freedom we enjoy…it is a valuable personal journey for every person who wishes to have a voice regarding the rights and freedoms of others. Casting off the chains of xenophobia and hatred to take up the voice of freedom is important to the betterment of mankind.