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Mayor’s Report – November 18, 2015

November 18, 2015


November 11, just one week ago. We remembered, we celebrated, we honored the valor, the heroism, the sacrifice of our men and women who defended with their lives our right to disagree, to assemble, to speak out, or to keep silent.

In this benign land we are in danger of taking for granted our right to worship God or to worship our money, to sing praises to the Creator or to shout praises to the latest idol. We assume that we can read what we want to read, hear what we want to hear, and say what we want to say, all when the spirit moves us. And we can. This is Canada. O Canada!

But it wasn’t always that way and, if we are not vigilant, things could change even here in O Canada. We only have to remember the length of my lifetime to recall that minorities lost their homes and their freedom simply because of their ancestry. That was a temporary abridgment of freedoms.

We have other shameful examples of freedoms lost because of ethnic differences.

Liberty is a blessing that can be too easily squandered if we don’t value it enough to pay its price. There is a price.

How much liberty will you give up for security?

How much liberty will you give up for your pay cheque?

The people we honored last Wednesday gave up a lot more than most of us have ever thought of giving up.

It was Jesus who taught us that there is no greater love than to lay down our lives for someone else. I think He was right.

You Veterans of Kosovo, of Afghanistan, of Iraq, of Syria, of Europe and of Japan, and of every other war who did not come home, did you know that your love for us could not be greater? Did you know that some of us rarely remember you? And yet you sold your lives dearly for our liberty to forget.

But let’s come up to the present. Paris, Friday, November 13. While Canada is blasting ISIL in Iraq, ISIL mows down 129 innocent souls in the City of Light. That’s a long way from here, we rightly say. But quite wrongly, we assume that life here will go on as if nothing happened. It won’t. It’s a small world and a criminal tragedy of this magnitude in Paris will have serious repercussions in Canada.

No matter how bravely we may boast of going forward; of not cringing before a gang of thugs, things will change just as they did after 9-11. Some of our liberties will be abridged.

Can you imagine living under the crippling restrictions of an ISIL regime? No? It’s unthinkable, isn’t it? But if we are not eternally vigilant, little by little some of the liberties we hold dear will quietly slip into history. They won’t all vanish this year or this decade, but unless we remember well, we certainly will forget. And we’ll lose.


Merlin Nichols, Mayor