Values at the Heart of the Fight for Canada

June 5, 2020 Updated: July 27, 2020


In Canada today, the voices of those who embrace the values that built the country—individual freedom, private property, free enterprise, personal responsibility, faith, and family—are largely drowned out by those who favour the progressive tenets of egalitarianism, affirmative action, feminism, and victimization.

Questioning such creeds is discouraged—you are sure to be labelled a crank, or even worse a racist, bigot, or white supremacist. This tells us much about our conventional wisdom and the state of free speech.

In 1944 my late father, Clayton Bird, flew 34 raids as part of Bomber Command’s 420 Squadron in England, and also served in Canada’s peacetime air force until 1964. Many of his peers didn’t return from wartime bombing runs, or even routine peacetime flights. I think he would cringe at the crippled state of free speech in Canada today, at the lack of real debate, and might even feel that we were failing his generation, so many of whom died fighting to overcome tyranny.

Yes, liberty is in retreat. It is passé. Today, we do things that 50 years ago would have raised eyebrows. We hire not the best-qualified people but those who check the affirmative-action boxes, as per government rules. We kill unborn children by the thousands in the name of women’s rights, with hardly a qualm or second thought about the twisted morality and incredible loss of human potential. We discourage traditional family roles, sensible proven roles, to appease feminists, who are highly funded by the state. (Even in 1959 my mother’s doctor recommended that I be aborted, given her age of 40, my weak condition, and that she’d already given birth to four children, but she refused. Thanks again, mom!)

We are a society of largely one-parent homes and often unhappy situations which too often produce confused and dysfunctional children; we house seniors in care facilities instead of blending them into our families, where tasks, values, wisdom, and love were once shared. Employment “insurance” has long since replaced personal responsibility to look after oneself and one’s friends in hard times. Abuses are rampant in public programs, adding to their bloated costs.

In short, we have shifted from a society of pre-Second World War self-reliant individuals who understood that it is our duty in a free and capitalist society to work, save, and deal with setbacks as best we can—with family, not government, as the foundation—to a collection of malcontented interest groups, many identifying as “victims.” We tend to shirk responsibility (and spurn any faith in God and His values, which might have spared us grief in the first place) and play the blame game expertly, turning to Ottawa, a.k.a. the public teat, for help. That is the fact of the matter.

The old values and ways built one of the world’s success stories, a free and prosperous Canada that millions around the world admired and to which many came to make new lives. The new values are discouraging personal initiative, creating social cleavages (resentments among different groups of Canadians who do or do not receive “rights” or benefits), and adding billions of dollars yearly to the national debt, which is approaching an alarming $1 trillion.

For those who love Canada, this is a sad and unacceptable state of affairs.

Today we still revere the few remaining men of the “greatest generation” who fought and defeated fascism. We honour them every year on November 11 (and respect and thank the women who served in non-combat roles). Yet how many of us who succeeded them, who sprang from their loins, are fighting for the now-discredited values that moulded and motivated that generation: a love of freedom, a sense of duty, individual initiative, the work ethic, and sacrifice? Remember that they not only served in wartime but also endured 10 years of the Great Depression, when government help was minimal (and people wanted it that way). Many as children also survived the flu epidemic of 1918-19, which killed at least 25 million worldwide and about 55,000 Canadians.

Instead, most of us (myself included) sit idly by while successive federal governments, Liberal and Conservative, strengthen state power and promote egalitarianism (the notion that we are all equal, or should be) and discourage individualism and debate—actions which characterized Nazism and that other defunct and discredited creed, communism. It is a painful irony, and a huge red flag, that the values we defeated in 1945 and with the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 are now endangering us.

The good values can still prevail, and Canada can still be saved, but it will be a monumental task. Are we up to it? I honestly doubt it, given the wall of opposition we face and the country’s strong drift to the progressive left. But it would be fun to try—and good for Canada.

Brad Bird began his career by freelancing in the 1970s. He worked for the Winnipeg Free Press in the 1980s and various smaller papers since, as well as abroad in conflict zones and for a Conservative MP in the Harper government.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.