07/01/2012 08:08 EDT | Updated 08/31/2012 05:12 EDT

Why I Love Canada: We Are More Free Than Americans


So many ideas come to mind, but one particular reason that I love Canada is the very philosophy that guides our society: peace, order and good government. Our constitution is wise to mention these principles as foundations of our way of life.

Although the American motto of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" explicitly mentions freedom, it is in fact the Canadian incantation that provides for real liberty. The American version has led to the creation of national myths, largely due to the fact that Americans spilled their own blood fighting for their constitution ages ago. This has led to laws constantly being viewed through the lens of "framers' intent," leading in turn to increased polarization in society.

Our constitution, contrary to the American one, was brought home much more recently -- and by a controversial figure at that. Hence, although our Charter contains the language of rights and freedoms, it is not necessarily a unifying document as is the case with the American fundamental law and accompanying declaration of independence.

Therefore, it is in fact due to the will of the people and the values that they imbue in their descendents that Canadians enjoy the freedoms they do -- not due to a piece of paper.

For we in Canada understand that liberty is derived from peace, order and good government. It is only when peace reigns at home that true freedom is afforded to all citizens. The guarantors of this peace -- and hence of this freedom -- are not judges but the Canadian people themselves.

The creation of a diverse yet peaceful society is a cornerstone of Canada's mission. In essence, we are a people with a sense of purpose. And those peoples that understand their purpose in life are demonstrably those that are happiest.

In other words, we managed to achieve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness more effectively than the Americans without even making this phrase a national icon. Admittedly, we owe the Americans a great deal for the ideological influences and economic prosperity they have provided us. Yet it appears that we in Canada have lived up more so to Jefferson's ideal than the Americans themselves.

This is a testament to the greatness of the Canadian people -- that moderation and unity can be combined with non-negotiable values to produce a peaceful and free society. And as one of the 21st century's major powers -- as I hope our country will choose to make itself -- we will be able to spread these values to all of humanity.