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What Does It Mean to Be a Canadian Citizen?

David Frum

By David Frum (Original source The Atlantic)

‘“Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.”

In the half century since John F. Kennedy said those famous words, the balance has definitely shifted toward asking what your country can do for you. In almost every democracy, citizenship today offers more rights and imposes fewer responsibilities than it did in 1961.

How much should that balance shift? Canadians have been debating that question this winter—and landed in favor of rights, against responsibilities. Canada’s example offers cautionary lessons for others.

The story starts far from Canadian shores, in Lebanon, in the summer of 2006. A cross-border raid by Hezbollah triggered an armed Israeli response. The fighting rapidly escalated into a serious Israeli-Iranian proxy war. Hezbollah fired rockets into Israel. Israeli troops crossed the border to destroy the rocket launchers. Hundreds of thousands of Lebanese were displaced in the fighting.”

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