Conflicting messages sound something like the person who said, “I think my neighbour is stalking me because she’s been googling my name on her computer. I saw it through my binoculars last night.” Or how about the husband who said, “My wife says I never listen … or something like that.”

A humourist from a past era by the name of Will Rogers said, “I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.” This American cowboy and newspaper columnist has been gone since 1935, but his words still ring true, as we watch numerous contradicting situations play out right before our eyes.

While Canada is concerned about climate change, our province has been presenting its plan to the federal government regarding carbon management plans.

Saskatchewan has suggested a best performance credit for companies demonstrating low emissions or investments in reducing their emissions. There’s also possibilities for future marketing of some of the gases that currently are just vented and flared.

Up to this point, the federal government’s response to this strategy has been lukewarm. But wouldn’t you think they would be supportive of a province that’s taking the initiative and actually doing something?

Nonetheless, Saskatchewan’s environment minister assures continued perseverance, as more strategy details will be presented.

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Concerning freedom of expression, Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario is an example of an educational institution that introduced a new policy as required after Bill 132 was passed. The policy is quite extensive, forbidding inequalities resulting in physical, sexual, emotional, economic or mental harm. It also forbids gender discrimination, harassment, biphobia, transphobia, homophobia and heterosexism, and more, including any communication, spoken, online, via phone or graffiti.

In other words, almost anything can be twisted to punish someone for pretty much any comment that touches on any of these issues.

Could policies such as these cause petty offences to mushroom into huge legal public ordeals?

As a stark contrast, universities in Chicago are showing their commitment to intellectual diversity and free speech. The policy of the University of Chicago claims it is not the role of the university to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable or even deeply offensive.

Our young people would be served far better by priorities that encourage and endorse freedom of speech rather than indoctrination. Academic freedom and liberty need to return to our campuses.

And while I’m on the topic of freedom of expression, a photo was recently posted showing our prime minister flaunting a shirt. The shirt had a picture of Jesus and his disciples, all of whom had emoji faces replacing their heads.

Now, just for a minute, imagine what the response would be if that T-shirt had depicted any other religion or ideology, and had been worn by any other prominent Canadian figure. You could be certain legal ramifications and media uproar would soon follow.

So you see there are contrasts visible on all fronts.

Nevertheless, on New Year’s Day our prime minister welcomed Canadians to celebrate our common values. But are we sharing common values or enforced values? And is freedom of speech only free for some, but costly for others? Are Canadian students shielded from ideas that governing powers have labelled unacceptable? Is this what we want Canada to look like?

It is time for Canadians to stand up for their right to be given equal opportunity to express opinions, ideas and present innovations, and receive fair consideration in response. Now that would be a value we could all share and celebrate.

We can make a difference, if we stand up for fair and equitable treatment for all Canadians.

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