Democratic Republic of the Congo.
These are a few of the countries that have been in the news recently for political violence. Many thousands of people have been killed. Irrespective of the reasons or justifications for the violence, people are dying for the chance to be heard.
In Canada, we don’t need to risk our lives to voice an opinion, even if it is an unpopular one. The limits to what we can and cannot say are clearly delineated and eminently reasonable. Freedom is our birthright. It is woven so tightly into the fabric of our society that we rarely even consider it. We walk through days without a second though about whether our homes, our families, our livelihoods will still exist when we return to them.
Not all are so lucky.
We are not, strictly speaking, without restrictions in our freedoms. In Canada, we are comparatively good at allowing our freedoms to coexist, if not harmoniously, at least harmlessly, with those of our neighbours.
The single most important difference between Canada and the countries listed above involves our ability to exercise a simple right, and to exercise it safely, with the confidence that it has been applied equally among all.
All we have to do is vote.