By Chris McGarry
If there is one topic of conversation your average Joe Canuck takes pleasure in discussing over a cup of Tim Horton’s coffee (besides hockey) it’s the fact that we’re not American.
Despite months of unending snow and cold and short summers plagued by hazy, mosquito–filled skies, we in the Great White North have it pretty darn good: a health care system that’s the envy of the world, a generous social safety net, education that’s second to none and, in contrast to our wild, unhinged cousins to the south, a peaceful, orderly, progressive utopia where one needs guns to protect the lives of themselves or their loved ones.
And one way we frostbitten, beer–swillin’, hockey–mad hosers vehemently wear our always not–so–subtle anti–Americanism on our sleeve is by distancing ourselves from the gun culture that has become so pervasive in the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.
Readers with anti-gun tendencies eager to dismiss this commentary as senseless, extreme–right drivel really should take time from their busy lives to dust off the history books and learn the truth about what various Liberal and Red Tory governments, the media and leftwing academia have been lying about for decades – that the right to keep and bear arms is not exclusively an American liberty.
What!!! you say? That’s preposterous! There is no right to bear arms in Canada. Never has been. Never will be. The basis of our ancient English common law rights, the Magna Carta, established in 1215, enshrined the right of freemen to keep and bear arms for the defense of their homes and the nation.
Flash forward almost five centuries later to 1689. For the better part of fifty years, a continuous succession of internal conflicts destabilized England, which had been governed, albeit unsuccessfully, as a republic from 1649 – 1660.
Though sympathetic to the Monarchy, our ancestors persevered to severally limit the power of the King and fought to place even stronger protections on their ageless freedoms. This brought about the English Bill of Rights (where America’s founding fathers derived the Second Amendment), a revision of our first great constitution, which unequivocally states: “Subjects which are Protestants may have Arms for their Defence”.
Okay, so times have changed – just a bit. But I’m quite sure Catholics as well as non–Christians and even atheists are just as capable of exercising their God–given/natural rights as are their Protestant counterparts.
This right (which Lord William Blackstone declared to be ‘absolute’ in his commentaries on English law) was carried prominently into our nation’s rich heritage by way of the British North America Act, forever preserved during the signing of Confederation in 1867.
While it may be true when former prime minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau repatriated the Canadian constitution in 1982, the great legal minds of the era forgot to (or did they?) incorporate the long–standing right of gun ownership – overtly, at least. Not to worry though, because it can be found under Section 26, which states: “Certain rights and freedoms shall not be construed as denying the existence of any other rights or freedoms that exist in Canada.”
In this day and age of legislated liberties, the concept of natural rights – especially in many westernized nations (not just Canada) – has become as foreign as arranged marriages and genital mutilation.
Too often, people merely accept government-made laws that violate the very inalienable rights every man, woman and child on this planet is born with – the most important of which includes the right to own arms for self–defense, free expression the right to own property.
In April 2012, Prime Minister Stephen Harper took a small though significant step towards restoring our ancient freedoms by dismantling the much–maligned long gun registry. In spite of this small victory, we have yet to gain the high ground with regards to reestablishing gun ownership as an inherent right in our society, as opposed to a mere ‘privilege’ given or taken away at the whim of a distant, faceless firearms bureaucracy.
It has been said time and again that individuals who don’t know their rights technically don’t have any. Perhaps it’s high time we as a society became less complacent and more familiar with our natural rights and vigorously oppose those politicians and bureaucrats who so callously wish to extinguish them.
Because, at the end of the day, the only rights we truly have are the ones we are willing to fight for.