On Friday, Nov. 11, Canadians will take the time to remember those who served during various wars and peacekeeping missions and to remember those who have died in military service.
Their efforts have helped to protect the way of life we all enjoy.
This way of life includes democracy, free speech and tolerance — qualities we as Canadians value highly.
We have the right to vote in elections at the municipal, provincial and federal levels of government, a right we can exercise in another week when we choose our council and school trustees for the next three years.
We have the right to free speech, even if such speech is unpopular. There are some controls in place, such as libel and slander laws and hate speech legislation, but those controls do not curtail our ability to speak freely, even when the views expressed are unpopular.
We have an immense diversity in Canadian society, but such diversity is only possible if we also value tolerance of those who are not like us.
Because these freedoms have been part of Canadian life for many years, it is easy to take them for granted, but in other parts of the world, the freedoms we enjoy are not guaranteed.
On Friday, Nov. 11, please take time to remember those who have served and died protecting the rights and freedoms we enjoy.
But remembering by itself is not enough.
Exercise your right to vote for the candidates of your choice.
Speak out about the things that matter to you, even if those views are unpopular.
Respect others, no matter how much they may differ from you.
We enjoy rights and freedoms which are not present universally.
These freedoms must never be allowed to erode.