Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Remembering Dief

"I am a Canadian,
free to speak without fear,
free to worship in my own way,
free to stand for what I think right,
free to oppose what I believe wrong,
or free to choose those
who shall govern my country.
This heritage of freedom
I pledge to uphold

HM PM John Diefenbaker is a personal hero of mine. A conservative, a staunch defender of the Crown and because of that a staunch defender of human rights. I was suprised to see this in the red star. He is truly a great man.

Upon John Diefenbaker’s death in 1979 it was one of his successors as prime minister who summed up the Prairie populist’s greatest achievement.

“I was struck,” Pierre Trudeau said, “by his vigorous defence of human rights and individual liberties. The Bill of Rights remains a monument to him.”

August 10 is the 50th anniversary of the proclamation of the Canadian Bill of Rights. Had this lifelong dream of Diefenbaker’s not become a reality, one could argue that Trudeau’s own Charter of Rights might not have come into being.

It is indeed a monument to Diefenbaker. Quite rightly, the statue of our 13th prime minister on Parliament Hill portrays Diefenbaker staring defiantly forward as he clutches his Bill of Rights.

Thanks to the tireless work by Diefenbaker — a former defence lawyer, a Canadian of non-French or English origins, and a child of the Prairie west who knew discrimination and had witnessed injustice far too many times in his life — who began calling for a declaration by Parliament of the fundamental rights, freedoms and responsibilities of Canadians from the moment he was first elected in 1940, these crucial issues were put on the nation’s agenda.


fernstalbert said...

HM PM Diefenbaker was a fierce politician, a stalwart Conservative and unabashed supporter of freedom of speech. He may have made mistakes in governing but he was an honourable man and leader. Its too bad his party was too small to support the ideas of a true Canadian patriot. Cheers.

trustonlymulder said...

one of my favourite quotes as a Canadian and one I quote often. Thanks for posting this Roy.

Hoarfrost said...

Notwithstanding his great championing of our rights he was the Conservative that turned Toronto against the Conservatives. At the time Toronto had a population of only a million people. It was a nice place to live. Diefenbaker destroyed their faith in the Conservative party by cancelling the best military aircraft ever designed at the time. Dief, by himself, ruined the careers of many thousands of Torontonians who emigrated to the U.S. to redesign their period aircraft. Those expatriate Canadians enhanced the supremacy of Boeing, MacDonald-Douglas, and General Dynamics. I became a Liberal and stayed a Liberal until I realised Trudeau's excesses and also by my opposition to the NEP as an easterner.

Historic Liberals AND historic Conservatives can take the blame for Canada's lagging in economic development during the latter half of the 20th century. We are poorer for it.

The so-called progressives can take the economic blame directly. Most real Conservatives do not have have any problem with his rights propositions.
I have great doubts as to whether "The universe is unfolding as it should."

There is a book in this whole point.

L said...

Dief was too red tory, I now realize. We would be better off without rights legislation at all. The world worked better before the government intervened to tell us what is moral and fair. I have a copy of his signed photo in my child album, as my relatives played bridge with Dief and his wife. Peter Lougheed is my conservative hero. I wish he had gone federal.

been around the block said...

I can't find Stringband's lyrics to Bob Bossin's song "Dief Will be the Chief Again." But, if anyone's interested in hearing it, you can go to


I was too young to have an opinion about Dief one way or another, but my dad really liked him.

I Support Lord Black