Watching the revolution in Egypt unfold leading to the resignation of Mubarak made me realize just how apathetic Canadians have become. Our country is supposed to be a democracy, something that seems to be harder and harder to see as the years go by.
I hate to bring back the P word again but from Harper’s proroguing of parliament to avoid losing power to the new allegations of doctoring government documents to cut funding to an organization the Prime Minister does not agree with, and of course, we cannot forget, the use of an unelected body to kill legislation passed by the duly elected representatives of the citizens of Canada, an act in which we sit on the eve of witnessing for the second time in less than a year.
The Prime Minister of this country acts as if he alone has the final say in what will happen in Canada. Mr. Harper seems to forget that our nation has an elected body that speaks for the people and if he does not like what the voice of the people says, it does not mean that he has the right to ignore that voice and act as he wishes by skirting the conventions and traditions which have made Canada a strong democratic nation.
When I witness the acts of our own government and see next to no reaction from the people other than a low dull moan as they collectively accept the erosion of their liberties and rights, I must ask why can millions of people take to the street in defiance against a dictator who would rather shoot them than acknowledge their cause? Are we as Canadians that clueless?
We all watched the people of Egypt protest for 18 days, and even when they were being shot at, they did not waver. Yet we, a free people, a people who have what those in Egypt dream of, so easily give up because, rather than take a stand, we would rather root for the people in the streets of Egypt.
I have to ask what would it take to get people off the couch and into the streets? We saw some reaction when Harper prorogued parliament to avoid being ousted by a coalition government, but nothing that would make a politician shake in his boots. We heard people question the use of the Senate as a tool to kill the democratic will of the House of Commons but nothing more. We see more of an outrage when the internet service providers want to raise rates than when politicians strip away at democracy. Where are our youth, our educated, and our university students? Why have they not tweeted their way to an organized protest movement?
I believe that Canadians, and many Westerners, do not know what they have. It has been generations since today’s youth had to fight for anything. Their rights have been handed down to them thanks to people who fought and died to obtain them and did it so their children and grandchildren would not have to undergo the suffering that they endured. Now that they are here, people do not understand what it took to get here and it may not be until our rights have been stripped away that Canadians realize what they had and if this is the case it may be too late.