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In 1957, Her Majesty, the late Queen Elizabeth II shared her Christmas message. In it she reflected on the current state of the world:


“Today we need a special kind of courage, not the kind needed in battle but a kind which makes us stand up for everything that we know is right, everything that is true and honest. We need the kind of courage that can withstand the subtle corruption of the cynics so that we can show the world that we are not afraid of the future.”


I believe we find ourselves in a similar place today.


This past year was extraordinarily difficult for many Canadians. With inflation driving up the cost of living, rising interest rates, fears of a global recession, and an increasingly unstable geo-political environment, many Canadians are feeling uncertain and fearful. In the face of these very real and difficult challenges it is easy to lose sight of what matters most.


Despite the darkness that lingers, Christmas gives us the opportunity to pause, reflect, and find inner peace and hope. Though not everyone celebrates Christmas, for many, this is a time to commemorate the coming of Jesus, who is the light of the world and the embodiment of love. It has been said that Jesus is the hope of the world.


As the Member of Parliament for Lethbridge I see the spirit of Christmas at work among us. I am tremendously proud of the kindness and generosity demonstrated by those who call this region home.


Each year, tens-of-thousands of volunteers selflessly give of their time, talent, and money to demonstrate love and impart hope through a variety of means. These individuals often work in partnership with one of the many not-for-profit organizations or faith groups that are doing a remarkable job serving our community.


Whether it its visiting seniors who are shut in, providing food hampers to families in need of a helping hand, serving a hot meal to those who wouldn’t otherwise have one, giving warm winter coats to those who would otherwise be overwhelmed by the cold, showing love and compassion to those fighting the darkness of addiction, or donating financially to a charity of choice, our community is generously stepping up and compassionately stepping out to make a positive difference.


There is an opportunity for all of us to embody the spirit of Christmas and “stand up for everything that we know is right, everything that is true and honest” by being kind toward others and generous with our resources.


This season is about hope. Hope for one another, hope for our country, hope for our future, and most of all, the hope that was sent to the world through the birth of Jesus.


As Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II once said, “It has always been easy to hate and destroy. To build and to cherish is much more difficult.”


No matter how much darkness fills the room, if a candle is lit, its light can be seen. In the same way, I see the light shining in and through so many of you. Despite the many challenges of today, the selfless courage of Canadians produces hope for tomorrow.


I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year!


“The True North strong and free.”


A key line in Canada’s National Anthem.


These are more than words sung at hockey games or special ceremonies. These words declare a truth that was fought for and won by those who went before us. This truth is now preserved by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.


At the start of this vital document outlining our guaranteed protections is this assurance: “Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law…”


There is something resolute about the recognition of these two powers.


These two components play a fundamental role in our genesis as a parliamentary democracy—a system of governance where the state is the servant, and the people are the masters.


Throughout history, it has been kings and queens, dynasties and dictators who have ruled the people. Some rulers exhibited characteristics of benevolence and faith in the people. However, it was not common and not often long-lasting. Today, full democracies—nations where civil liberties and fundamental political freedoms are respected and reinforced by a political culture—only make up about 12.6% of the world’s countries and only 6.4% of the world’s population.


My point is this: democracy and respecting the rule of law is not the norm; it is the exception.


Through this lens, I wish to express both honour and gratitude to the veterans who have served this country, many of whom gave their lives to preserve the values we hold so dear.

In many ways, we take our precious and unique rights and freedoms for granted in this country. Sadly, this apathy is accompanied by a dying understanding and appreciation for the sacrifices made by our veterans and those currently serving in the Canadian Armed Forces.


During the First and Second World Wars, when young soldiers set sail across the Atlantic, they did so to protect these principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law. Tyrannical powers were attempting to usurp individual freedoms and restore a governmental structure that would make the people servants to the state.


It is impossible to comprehend what our world would look like today if the Allies had not won the War. However, what we can imagine is the almost constant temptation of governments to exert more and more control over the people, whether through excessive taxation, or control over speech, belief, or expression.


Governments always tend to lean toward dominance.


It is only through a healthy, strong, and engaged civil society that democracies are sustained.


The government must focus on four main things: the safety and security of Canadians, facilitating an environment of economic prosperity, maintaining a strong justice system, and establishing our place on the world stage.


When the government encroaches on our lives beyond these purposes, it impedes the human spirit, thwarts creativity, prevents innovation, and hinders our ability to prosper.


A limited government allows for people to be the solution makers, problem solvers, and wealth generators, and this is what truly makes our country thrive.


When I consider our rich Canadian heritage and culture, I think of people like Alexander Graham Bell, who invented the telephone, Frederick Banting, who invented insulin, Lewis Urry, who invented the Alkaline battery, Norman James Breakey, who invented the paint roller, Marcellus Gilmore Edson, who invented peanut butter, and Joseph Coyle, who invented the egg carton. I look at the sports that originated in Canada, like ice hockey, basketball, five-pin bowling, lacrosse, and baseball.


It is the people, not the government, that make this nation great.


I want to thank the men and women who have gone before us—those who built a country of

which we can be tremendously proud and those who have fought and continue to fight to preserve the fundamental principles of democracy so that we might remain “The True North strong and free.”


President Ronald Reagan wisely pointed out, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”


To honour those who died for our freedom, the least we can do is live for it.


I hope you and your family will take the time to attend one of the Remembrance Day Ceremonies taking place in our region on Friday, November 11th.


Lest we forget.





If the Canadian people are not the focus of this federal government, then it is fair to the ask the question, who is?


The last several months have left Canadians absolutely dumbfounded at this government’s lack of care, compassion, and wisdom.


As food prices continue to rise because of inflation, and energy costs continue to skyrocket, the Trudeau government is choosing to increase the cost of living for Canadians by raising taxes and driving up inflation by spending money it doesn’t have.


Many constituents have met with me in person or written into my office to share the plight of their dire situations. These are stories from real people, and they must not be ignored.


I am talking about a senior on a fixed income living in a mobile home community struggling to get by. Her fridge was empty, and she could not afford to fill it. She would normally turn to her son or neighbours, but they were facing the same challenges due to inflation and the high price of fuel.

Or the woman who came into my office and shared with me that, due to the high cost of living, she and her husband lost their home and were living in an RV in her parents’ backyard. She was injured at work and her medical benefits were not enough for them to get by. This couple was losing everything bit by bit and it was causing severe mental health issues.

These stories are heartbreaking, but unfortunately, they are not rare.


A recent report by the Dalhousie University's Agri-Food Analytics Lab, revealed that almost a quarter of Canadians are buying fewer groceries because of high food costs. Meanwhile, the number of people accessing food banks in our community is growing rapidly and the number of children in poverty is increasing. In a country that produces food for the world, this should not be the case.


Canada has been blessed with abundance. Our riding of Lethbridge is full of bounty. We export our products around the world. It is truly something to be proud of, but instead we have a government that is choosing to punish our farmers instead of celebrating them. It’s shameful.


Food prices are through the roof. We should be incentivizing greater food production, not implementing policies that will decrease crop yield and increase the price of food for Canadians across the country.


Another area of abundance in Canada is energy. We have the third largest oil reserve in the world, and we are the fifth largest producer of natural gas. Just like food, the world needs more energy.


Canada has the potential to be the solution to many of the world’s problems. We could be stepping up and taking our place as a leader on the world stage by meeting the growing demand for food and energy. We could displace the reliance on dictators for energy and bring food stability to nations that cannot produce it for themselves.


During German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s visit to Canada in August, he expressed his desperation to find new sources for liquefied natural gas (LNG) in light of Russia’s curtailing exports to punish supporters of Ukraine.


Prime Minister Trudeau’s response to this request was that there has “never been a strong business case” for shipping natural gas directly from Canada to Europe because we lack the pipelines and LNG conversion plants to transport our resources. So, instead of working toward a mutually beneficial solution, he just sat back and said, “no.”


The fact of the matter is, there is an incredible business case for increasing production and transportation capabilities, but we happen to be dealing with a Liberal government that has a climate action agenda, which trumps economic prosperity, safeguarding humanity, and common sense.


Canada truly is a country that is blessed, not just with the resources to generate prosperity, but the innovative, creative, and hardworking people to turn raw materials into useful and beneficial products necessary for living life.


I am confident that if we can get government out of the way and provide freedom for Canadians to reach their greatest potential, our nation will not only thrive, but be a leader among other nations.


The solution to the many problems plaguing our country is less government and more Canada.





 

© 2022 Rachael Thomas.  All Rights Reserved.