Thursday, June 08, 2006

The Age Of Minority

When I was only about eight or nine years old, I remember a conversation at the kitchen table. My father was asked by someone what he thought the next great 'Age' would be; we'd had an Age of Enlightenment, an Age of Steam, etc. He said that the next would be the Age of the Minority. It took me many years to understand what he meant by that, and by the time I was old enough to appreciate it, he had been dead for some time.

How right he was, however. Here in Ottawa, we are being subjected to a public education campaign at our own expense over the issue of scents, something that even the advocates of this bizarre policy admit affects only 2% of the population. Yes, folks, at Ottawa City Hall, 2% of the population gets to make the rules for the other 98% of you.

This is an extreme example, but the erosion of personal freedoms in the interests of vocal minority groups is all around us. We are truly in the Age of the Minority. So pervasive has this way of governing ourselves become that it is not even recognized for what it is; it's become part of the 'democratic' scenery and goes unseen and unchallenged most of the time.

Leaders of this movement have constituted the Canadian political establishment for many years; Liberals at federal and provincial levels have been the architects of this theft of liberty. From the left-wing group that dominates Ottawa City Hall, to the McGuinty Liberals whose time in office has been marked by a string of salami-style slices at personal freedoms, to the now defunct government of Paul Martin, all have been focused on the rights of the Minority and have stolen the freedoms of the Majority.

So now we have a change of government and a breath of fresh air on Parliament Hill. We have a government that is focused on serving people and enabling people rather than controlling and coralling them. Can the Harper government succeed in communicating and articulating the seismic shift they represent? Are Canadians just too used to a controlling nanny state dedicated to placating the vocal and ignoring the ordinary hard working citizen? Will Canadians get to taste more freedom for the first time in decades, and will they like it when they taste it?

I believe that if Harper can communicate and articulate this vision of personal freedom, and can persuade Canadians to take a bite, they might discover they like it. They might realise just how starved and suffocated they have been, and they might decide to stick with freedom for a long time to come.