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Do you ever have the lyrics of a song stuck in your head?  This week, I have been thinking about the words of the song “Me and Bobbie Mcgee” and what they really mean.  Two of the lines form a riddle that need thought to untangle:

Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose,
And nothin' ain't worth nothin' but it's free,


I have also been challenged this week while watching a podcast where Jordan Peterson interviewed the former Prime Minister of Newfoundland and Labrador, Brian Peckford.  Mr. Peckford is the last living member of the committee who wrote Canada’s Bill of Rights and Freedoms which was introduced to the world in 1982.

Our Constitution was enacted in 1867 by the British government, but it did not give us the control and details that we needed as a country.  With determination to resolve this, Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau and Premiers of the provinces began working on a document that would not only give Canada control over the Constitution but also define what guarantees us a free and democratic society in which to live.

The process was arduous and involved reading over 1200 written submissions and hearing 300 testimonies.  According to Mr. Peckford, considerable thought, time and effort were invested to craft the wording of the final document.  He states the importance of the first line which begins “Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law:”

The third thing that this week made me think about the word “freedom” involved watching videos of the thousands of trucks that formed a convoy and headed to Ottawa to protest COVID-19 mandates.  Even though temperatures hovered at 20 to 30 below zero, thousands of Canadians stood in ditches and at the side of the roads all across the country to cheer on the drivers.  Many had signs with the word “Freedom” that was painted on plywood, written on cardboard and embossed on clothing.

I am blessed to have a large number of veterans on my caseload – brave men and women who have sacrificed their own safety to ensure that we have freedom. I honour their service.

So how does this all fit together? 

Brian Peckford, at the age of 79 years states that he has been working with lawyers to prepare a case for the Supreme Court of Canada against the government for breach of the rights and freedoms outlined in the Charter.  Their focus is on the section that allows unrestricted travel throughout Canada and the world.

Many in and supporting the convoy have pandemic fatigue and are often heard saying “Enough is enough”. They state that they want Canadians to be able to choose what they put in their bodies, earn a living and watch their children attend school without restrictions.

Is the convoy their way of saying “Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose”?

Not everyone understands or supports the “Freedom Convoy” but the world is sure watching.  In fact, Canada has become a focus for other countries who are following suit and starting up their own convoys.

And what about Brian Peckford?  Why would he be willing to go to the Supreme Court of Canada to defend a document that he helped write four decades ago?   His response to this question would likely be that it is important to protect Canada and its people whose freedoms are jeopardized inappropriately.

Have you read the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms?  I did this week and actually printed off a few copies to share with friends and family.  You can too!  It’s always good to know the benefits of our citizenship as Canadians!

Even our national anthem recognizes it:  “The true north strong and free”. 

I am not being political as I write this column.  I’m just being Canadian.

And from a psychological perspective, remember - freedom plays a vital role in the quest to gain and maintain good mental health.

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