Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Happy 30th Charter!
















On Saturday, April 17, 1982 my parents gathered my brother and I around the tea table (we never called it a coffee table—tea addicts) next to the television set. There was something historic taking place in Ottawa, the nation's capital and it was important that we watch. As part of the ceremonies for the repatriation of the Canadian constitution, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was about to become law and this was huge. Yes, a family of news junkie nerds. We actually may have made snacks to watch—popcorn's not just for movies, it works just as well for constitutional wingdings. I may not have understood completely what was transpiring but seeing the Queen and then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau side by side indicated a not so commonplace event. As I recall, it was a lengthy ceremony—especially for a grade school kid but the anticipation of those signatures while gentle rain fell in the background is something I have always remembered. Admired by the world, the Charter entrenched the rights of every person in Canada, coast to coast to coast into the constitution:
"The Charter guarantees certain political rights to Canadian citizens and civil rights of everyone in Canada from the policies and actions of all areas and levels of government. It is designed to unify Canadians around a set of principles that embody those rights."
There was an underlying element of respect, civility and compassion to it all. I've been a news junkie from an early age owing in part to the constant political discussions we had as a family but that moment, fraught with pomp, circumstance and utter meaning topped all. It was a moment of pride and truly one of gratitude. Happy 30th Charter and cheers to my fellow Canadians!

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