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Disclosure: Mattea Merta currently works as the Stakeholder Relations and Social Media Coordinator for Conservative MP Brad Trost. This article does not express the views of any office or organization. The views expressed are the authors alone.”
It’s evident that Trudeau and his administration has a bone to pick with history, and their desire to manipulate history should concern every individual, regardless of political ideology.
Back in 2016, when the Liberals took control of the House of Commons, their first “Big Brother” act as an administration was to contact tech giant Google and request an intense purging of the internet.
What could possibly pose such a threat to an administration that painted itself as being all sunny-ways ooey-gooey with love and tolerance for all? Apparently, it was the impacts and initiatives that the Stephen Harper administration had spearheaded.
It would appear as though the very name Stephen Harper inspired fear in Trudeau. So, in order to save the general public the same pain that he was living through (the successes that the Harper administration produced), Trudeau began to undo his legacy.
What we witnessed in 2016 was not the only time the Liberals tried to strike significant portions of our history from memory.
It was only last month that Canadian Member of Parliament, Michael Cooper of St. Albert – Edmonton held a seat on the Justice Committee when the committee was tasked to study online hate.
Consequently, MP Cooper ended up receiving attacks for a statement he made and was then stripped of his position because his point of view was considered controversial and unacceptable for the committee.
What was not surprising was the outcry of disgust from the other parties, it was the manner in which his own party treated the issue of Cooper’s statement.
Because Cooper’s view took one step “too far” beyond the boundaries of comfort within the caucus room, he was not only removed by his party leader from the Justice Committee, but his party also agreed with the Liberals lead committee’s decision to completely strike MP Cooper’s words from the Parliamentary record—therefore, it was effectively erased from Canadian history.
As a young Canadian, I don’t want there to be fewer members of parliament sharing their viewpoints within the halls of my government, I want more of them!
What happened to MP Cooper is a prime example of what can happen when the overheated, politically correct feelings of some collide with the diverse viewpoints of those they disagree with.
This removal and manipulation of history is not only happening within the halls of government but on college campuses and in public spaces within our society. In the case of MP Michael Cooper, history was literally rewritten and his voice was forcibly silenced by those inside and outside his party.
Now, I do not know Mr. Cooper personally, aside from meeting him on a few occasions on Parliament Hill. I cannot speak to his internal character, but I can speak to his very calculated decisions based upon his dedication to the position he holds within the House of Commons and what those who are closest to him suggest.
Although there is no personal connection to Mr. Cooper, that does not mean I do not have a moral obligation to stand up for a right that he clearly possesses (to speak directly and out of a position of authority), as well as an obligation to stand up for the uncomfortable things that happen to be recorded for future generations to learn from.
If his right to freely speak and dare I say, even offend, is under threat not only as a Canadian citizen but as an elected official, then my rights to stand up and speak out are too.
The disgust displayed by the media and special interest groups that MP Cooper was able to voice his opinion as a legislator reveals something telling about what we are seeing from those holding offices that are supposed to represent us.
Are any of our representatives speaking based upon what they truly believe? Or, are they self-censoring in order to keep themselves from receiving similar treatment as Mr. Cooper experienced?
An individual who is willing to speak—and is willing to take on the backlash for what he or she believes—is an individual whom I believe is worthy of their positions of authority.
Men and women who “stirred the pot” and made uncomfortable statements and decisions have contributed to the progression of society. To limit or erase moments of our history will only stifle the future from being stronger than we are at present.
History used to be passed down throughout the ages through verbal communication and written words—yes, through books, books made of paper pages you had to turn, not screens you swipe.
In our present age, we are seeing less and less verbal dialogue (especially between the generations) and more delivery of ideas via social media platforms, so what are we missing out on? I believe we’re the voices of our elders and the knowledge that they possess. Think of it, their lives are enriched with opportunity and experiences that have had time to steep.
Above all of this, however, is the collective effort by those in various spheres to censor and prohibit the transfer of ideas and to teach what is and isn’t acceptable with the excuse that “it’s the current year.”
Censored speech is no longer free speech and the ideas that become most prevalent, particularly online, will be the ones that go on to foster a history filled with very little progression and one big halt sign to wisdom.
As time has progressed, we have seen the benefits of youth learning from the collective wisdom of those who have gone before them, running farther based upon that wisdom transferred to them to build better programs, more effective organizations and construct nations where freedoms are realized by all people.
Look at the life of William Wilberforce, the Member of Parliament in Great Britain who fought the slave trade. He was inspired by his mentor, a man who worked on a slave ship whom he placed himself under to learn, develop and reach a nation.
Because Wilberforce chose to learn from someone who had lived more life than he, an entire movement was birthed and countless lives were saved. This is one area that I am concerned with some in my generation. We seek to be heard but do we really listen? And if we do listen, are we listening to those within our own silos? What happens if a generation completely rejects what previous generations have learned?
I can tell you one thing for certain, we don’t progress, we regress. And if there was ever a word that millennials despise, it’s regression, yet, we are embracing it because it’s presented to us under the disguise of progression. How could we be so accepting of these false ideas? Because we don’t understand where others have come from and what has happened in our family’s, country’s and world’s history.
Historical figures like Sir John A. Macdonald depicted in the form of a statue were not erected to oppress us but to serve us. They remind us of what was so that we can leap off their successes and failures and run a better race based on the knowledge they garnered, as well as learn from their mistakes. That’s part of the reason removing figures from public viewing is a disservice to society, to those who seek to deconstruct history and those who seek to preserve it.
While there are minorities within society that have been given a microphone to express their disgust with historical figures being represented, others have been silenced because they desire to keep them alive.
I know that in removing these lessons in the form of statues from our public square in order to appease a few delivers a grave injustice to the whole of society.
More than ever, we need history. We need history to be taught and shared based upon the facts not the feelings and biases of those who see all that has come before us as a tether that holds us back, but as a propeller that can help us steer a brighter path into the future.
We’re seeing a desire to replace that which is tried and true with utopian measures that lead to oppression and less freedom. This doesn’t just affect one generation but many and their ability to continue along the path of progress.
The desire to replace our history with what we see as acceptable or politically correct behaviour will provide future generations with ideals instead of solutions.
Stripping controversial moments and their outcomes from the books, as in the case of MP Michael Cooper, will lead our future leaders to believe that they can’t work through differing viewpoints and come to points of positive resolution as past generations once did.
Without resolution, without progression, without history, what do we leave for the future? How do we foster the furthering of those to come? As a millennial, I look at the past, the conflict, the resolutions and know that we are capable of collaboration even within the confines of disagreement. There aren’t always immediate benefits of working through difficult points in time but it is our responsibility to grow through our experiences not avoid them.
History serves as a precautionary measure in which we are able to transfer knowledge and wisdom onto the next generation in hopes that our mistakes are not made again.
When individuals choose to learn from history, we start to see how better practices can be implemented in our lives. When we choose to learn from others lived experiences over current social whims, we contribute to a means of living that is superior to what has been.
History shows us what was, so that we can be informed as we create what is. By the removal of history we are making today, and the torching of the actions of those who have passed, we serve an injustice to the next generation by stripping them of their rights to our history.
Let’s learn from those who have gone before us, the good and the bad, the stupidity and the honourable, and let’s give to the next generation a way to do more good than we did. And when you see the lessons history presents are under threat—stand up.
When you stand, you contribute to a future that values the wisdom that is available through the words, actions and deeds of those that came before us. Valuing our collective past means we are effectively protecting others future.