Lexi Bainas, The Citizen
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
If you saw a man rollerblading through the Cowichan Valley late last week following a vehicle sporting a huge flag and sign, you were seeing the first leg of a cross-Canada trek that won't finish until Remembrance Day.
It's a long haul for the rollerblader Neil Magnuson and his driver, Bert Easterbrook, but both men say it's worth it to get across their point.
They're concerned that government, particularly in Ottawa, is beginning to look upon itself as Canada's moral arbiter, even though no one elected politicians to fulfill that role.
Magnuson laced up the blades last year on his first trip to Ottawa. This is the second of what both men hope will be an annual event.
"I started this one year and five days ago at the Legislature in Victoria and I rollerbladed 1,200 miles on my way to Ottawa over the course of five months," Magnuson said, standing by the side of Mt. Sicker Road Thursday evening. "I made it there for Remembrance Day and spent that day with the veterans at the Inner Circle there. Stephen Harper shook my hand and congratulated me.
"We're five days into this year's grand tour. It's important to us. Our forefathers were willing to go to war and die for our freedoms, and freedom to obey was not what they did it for, but that's what we've got going on here. Politicians have taken over as moral authorities when really they should be public servants. They are supporting the interests of a bunch of special interest groups, especially corporations and taking money in the form of what's called lobbying but which is, in our opinion, bribery. It is so ludicrous what we are doing."
He wants government to take control of the pot trade. "There's enormous costs and damage that's being done by anti-drug prohibition. Criminal groups are being formed to handle the supply side because the government refuses to take control of these substances the people demand. The very act of prohibition only makes these drugs more alluring for some people so use and abuse goes up."
Easterbrook said they're operating on a shoestring but are hopeful they'll be able to get their points across. They're posting their progress at http://freedomtour.ca