An­other 4th

Stanstead Journal - - FORUM -

Thisyear marks the 250th an­niver­sary of the event that truly shaped the ge­og­ra­phy of North Amer­ica and, since the Harper govern­ment is so keen on teach­ing us his­tory, à la con­ser­va­tive, ob­vi­ously, we are sur­prised that this news­pa­per has not re­ceived a com­mu­niqué on the event.

In Fe­bru­ary of 1763, the Treaty of Paris was signed and the world would never be the same. The Amer­i­can colonies, by the way Canada be­came one of them, were part and par­cel of the Treaty of Paris. This set into mo­tion the Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion, a dozen years later, when the Amer­i­can Colonies were sent the bill for their ‘de­fence’. That led to a rather nasty real Tea Party in Bos­ton, when the Amer­i­cans de­cided that deal­ing with their own af­fairs was much bet­ter than hav­ing some­one else do it.

The whole mess, thou­sands of Bri­tish cit­i­zens died, would have been avoided if the Colonies had tried to unite when Ben­jamin Franklin asked them to do so dur­ing what is called the Seven Year War around the world and the Franco-In­dian War south of the bor­der.

Said Franco-In­di­ans be­ing the Cana­di­ans which his­to­ri­ans among you will re­mem­ber were all French back then.

So, to­mor­row, the Amer­i­cans will cel­e­brate In­de­pen­dence Day, not a movie, but a real his­toric event of in­cred­i­ble pro­por­tion.

Be­fore the Dec­la­ra­tion of In­de­pen­dence, not a soul would have dared say: “We hold th­ese truths to be self-ev­i­dent, that all men are cre­ated equal, that they are en­dowed by their Cre­ator with cer­tain un­alien­able Rights, that among th­ese are Life, Lib­erty and the pur­suit of Hap­pi­ness. — That to se­cure th­ese rights, Gov­ern­ments are in­sti­tuted among Men, de­riv­ing their just pow­ers from the con­sent of the gov­erned.”

It is the sec­ond phrase that now both­ers a lot of friends of the Repub­lic. Ev­ery­body will agree that a govern­ment’s duty is to pro­tect its cit­i­zens. The Framers, what a beau­ti­ful term, of the Dec­la­ra­tion of In­de­pen­dence were En­light­ened Men, its main writer, Thomas Jef­fer­son, an in­ven­tor and worldly man him­self. But he could not have pre­dicted the power of com­mu­ni­ca­tion that ex­ploded over the last few years, nor the means of in­vad­ing the pri­vacy - so cher­ished - of all of its cit­i­zens.

In to­day’s rev­e­la­tion that the United States has been spy­ing on its cit­i­zens, our neigh­bours to the South could spare some money by look­ing closely at the work done by mem­bers of our Par­lia­ment back, way back, when spy­ing on ev­ery­body at once was a pipe dream.

A cou­ple of years be­fore the last mil­len­nium drew its cur­tain, Mrs. Sheila Fine­stone and col­leagues in the House of Com­mons, in­clud­ing our then M.P. Mau­rice Bernier, went across Canada to dis­cuss the is­sue of Pri­vacy and tech­nol­ogy. The House com­mit­tee re­port was ti­tled: Pri­vacy: Where do we draw the line. This writer ac­knowl­edged that he is par­tial: he was the com­mu­ni­ca­tion of­fi­cer of that com­mit­tee.

It delved into what was pub­licly known and avoided what should re­main se­cret; it peeked into our se­cu­rity ap­pa­ra­tus too deeply and looked the other way on what could have com­pro­mised the se­cu­rity of Canada and its al­lies.

The United States could learn a lot from that re­port, es­pe­cially its rec­om­men­da­tion 18:

The Com­mit­tee rec­om­mends that the Govern­ment of Canada un­der­take on­go­ing pub­lic aware­ness and ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams about new tech­nolo­gies and their im­pact on pri­vacy to en­sure that ev­ery­one is able to make ap­pro­pri­ate de­ci­sions re­gard­ing their per­sonal pri­vacy and the di­rec­tion of pub­lic pol­icy in the fu­ture.

An un­in­formed pub­lic or one lied to is not one that will trust a govern­ment for long.

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