Since moving to Canada in 2004, I have had to get used to some huge changes in my life.
Firstly, moving from the Southern to Northern Hemisphere, means the seasons are 6 months out of sync and being further from the equator, the sun moves across the sky along a different track. ( We all know that the earth moves around the sun but that sounds better.)
Then I have had to get used to both the extremes of temperature, from -30 in winter to +36 this week and with high humidity. Then the short days in summer and long evenings in winter compared to the tropics where daylight hours do not vary that much.
The concept of changing the clocks still has me confused.
Although an English speaker, I still had to learn a whole new vocabulary, stop asking where the toilet is, put gas in my vehicle not petrol, drive on the pavement not the tarmac and walk on the sidewalk not the pavement.
Of course, I also had to learn to drive on the other side of the road from the other side of the car and get used to the fact that most vehicles here only have 2 pedals and pickup trucks have the gear shift on the steering column not the floor.
All of this has become second nature now, at my age my accent is not going to change so I will always be excused minor errors because of my “foreign” sounding voice.
Even the cold and short winter days are bearable, and I am extremely grateful to be able to live in a safe, well organised and prosperous country. It is a huge relief not to have to live in constant fear of attack, of ones property being taken, hyper inflation and acute shortages of essential commodities like fuel and bread.
What I am having extreme difficulty in getting used to, is the steady erosion of individual rights that I have observed in the seven years I have lived here. There seems to be a never-ending list of new legislation, touted to make things safer, more environmentally friendly or whatever that is making this country less free than many in the third world.
As a newcomer I see many similarities in the characteristics that were needed by the early immigrants in both North America and Southern Africa. So I find it hard to reconcile the independence of spirit which developed the two great North American democracies with the submission to big government control that is now taking place.
In many aspects of day-to-day life, I am less free to go about my life here than I was in Zimbabwe and much less free than in South Africa.
Before you tell me to go back where I came from if I don’t like it here, let me point out that if peaceful Rhodesia had been allowed to develop at its own pace without interference by the West, (As the USA and Canada were permitted to do) I would still be there. And if not there, without the interference in South Africa’s internal affairs, I would still be in that country.
This is the normal point in my rant where people tell me that the rest of the world had to interfere because of “apartheid”, so let’s address that.
- Rhodesia did not have many of the laws termed “apartheid” .
- Many of the excesses of “apartheid” were creations of the media.
- The West has failed to act in many other countries with far worse human rights records than South Africa ever had.
- If “apartheid” was so bad, why was South Africa continually faced with huge numbers of illegal immigrants from independent African states?
The real difference between the situations in Southern Africa and North America, lay in how the immigrants (your and my ancestors) treated the indigenous or native populations.
Without going into great detail, the basic differences were:
In North America, huge waves of European immigrants reduced the native populations to powerless minorities in a comparatively short space of time.
This “minoratisation” was accelerated by the effect of the diseases brought by the immigrants, the availability of alcohol and customs, practices and legislation to further restrict the activities of the original inhabitants. Canada’s removal of native children to special schools and the forced removal of whole communities to reservations come to mind.
Compare that to Southern Africa, where European immigration was more controlled and the numbers of immigrants never overtook that of the native populations. The provision of health and education services, high birthrate, eradication of many diseases, provision of jobs, and continuing immigration from other African countries ensured that the original inhabitants remained a majority.
So it is very easy to have a universal franchise with every one having a vote when the native population has been reduced to such a small minority that it’s vote is no threat to the established system of government, or to the functioning of the economy, the maintenance of law and order or the life styles and living standards of the economically active descendants of immigrants.
It is quite different when giving the right to vote to a majority of the population to whom democracy is an unfamiliar concept, to people who are politically inexperienced and easily intimidated. Especially when the precedent of abysmal economic performance and almost total disregard for human or property rights had already been established in practically every newly independent African state.
The total collapse of the Zimbabwean economy, with over a quarter of the population having left the country, thousands of people murdered, injured tortured and raped by Mugabe’s thugs is evidence of the hypocrisy of the West in forcing this “solution” on a once peaceful and prosperous country.
My critics will point to the “success” of the South African experience. Sorry to disillusion you, but with over 500 000 skilled people leaving the country in the first few years of an ANC government, continuing murders of hundreds of farmers each year, no improvement in living standards for the vast majority, and a currency reduced to a fraction of its former value, do not spell success.
After that diversion, back to the point of my title.
My big concern, in fact my over-riding concern and the one that would persuade me to leave Canada – and probably North America – is not the weather, the cold, snow, humidity or short winter days.
- It is this relentless erosion of personal freedom and basic individual rights.
- The right to protect myself, my family and my property, without being accused of a more serious crime than the perpetrator.
- The right to take personal calculated risks.
- The right not to be punished until I have been found guilty in a court of law.
- The right to voice my opinion without fearing the attention of the human rights inquisitions.
- The expectation that my government will not rush through new legislation because of a few isolated incidents.
- The expectation that the purpose of the police is to serve and protect the law-abiding public first and not the police force itself, government or certain sections of the community.
- The expectation that the police and the justice system will have more regard for the rights of victims than criminals.
The story of the Alberta man who was caught speeding while rushing his wife to hospital because she was in labour and had been warned that a Caesarian delivery was necessary.
As I read in the media, not only was he stopped and given a stiff fine, but the policeman involved, far from offering an escort, radioed ahead to alert another officer that the motorist would probably be speeding again. The second officer bravely did his duty and gave the motorist another fine. In this officers defence, it appears he did radio for an ambulance.
The story gets worse, when the motorist appealed to have his fine reduced, it was denied and his licence was then suspended. This persecution is financed by us the taxpayers.
And the police wonder why they do not get the respect they expect!
I am certainly not anti police, nor an anarchist, I fully supported the police in their efforts to control demonstrators at the G8 talks, national security and protection of property are two areas where the police should be expected to use whatever force is necessary.
So my message dear readers is wake up before these two wonderful countries in North America become more of police states than the worst communist or fascist regimes in history.
Don’t believe it can happen? We did not believe our farms, businesses, assets, freedom and for many their lives would be taken away from us in Zimbabwe while the rest of the world stood by and did nothing.
What has this to do with marketing?
Every thing. the greater the restrictions on personal freedom, the greater the restrictions on what we can do for our businesses and the less our customers can make decisions for themselves.
Think I am being alarmist? Think I am a right-wing extremist? Then leave a comment, I would like nothing better than to be proved wrong and shown that personal freedoms and respect for individual rights are increasing in North America.
Wishing you success in all your endeavours.