Do Canadians Value Freedom?  – Interview with James Forbes


Beat the censors, sign-up for our newsletter:

“A Canadian culture that no longer values freedom as much as we value conformity,” says author James Forbes who was interviewed by Barry W. Bussey on Freedom Feature.

“At least the way that a lot of people were talking, and the way governments were talking.  It was, “you need to conform to these measures, or you are a bad person.” 

Today we do not seem to have [freedom] front of mind.  We see the consequences of what that can be.  Wee have a state that says, “You have to conform.” 

“It’s not to a religious doctrine these days but it is to a secular set of beliefs and practices,” says Forbes, “And in order to avoid being persecuted by the state or by your neighbours you have to make sure you’re performing all of these practices and adhering to all of these orthodox sort of beliefs as determined by whatever the issue of the day may be.”

Forbes observes that “You have to have a culture that values freedom in order to keep your freedoms.  I think we can see that with the Covid Pandemic of the past two years.  Maybe we are not a culture anymore, or at least we are losing some of that culture that values freedom.  We are entering unchartered waters. We don’t exactly know what this is going to look like as Canada becomes post Christian.  And, so, what does this mean for liberty?  What does this mean for the values that we stood for all this time?”

Great questions.  Great conversation.

See James book, Protestant Liberty: Religion and the Making of Canadian Liberalism, 1828–1878

“James Forbes argues that the origins of Canadian liberalism were firmly rooted in the British tradition of Protestantism and were based on the premise of guarding against the advance of supposedly illiberal faiths, especially Catholicism. After the union of Upper Canada with predominantly French-Catholic Lower Canada in 1840, this Protestant ideal of liberty came into conflict with a more neutral alternative that sought to strip liberalism of its religious associations in order to appeal to Catholic voters and allies. In a decisive break from their Protestant heritage, these liberals redefined their ideology in secular-materialist terms by emphasizing free trade and private property over faith and culture. In tracing how the Confederation generation competed to establish a unifying vision for the nation, Protestant Liberty reveals religion and religious differences at the centre of this story.”

Please note the views expressed by the individual(s) in this video are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views or principles of the First Freedoms Foundation.

Recent Videos

2024 Rand Debate

2024 Rand Debate On April 5, 2024, at St. Paul's, St. Peter's Church, in Ottawa an audience of over seventy people came out to hear first hand a spirited debate over virtue vs. freedom. Dr. David Haskell advocated for a virtuous government...