Last night on November 11, I went with my hubby to the Field of Crosses in Calgary on Memorial Drive for one more look at the 3400 crosses that are there that represent the fallen at war time. It was cold and frosty, quiet and beautiful. We paid our respects and then left with tears in our eyes as we looked at the crosses row on row. The 100 years of the signing of the Armistice is a remembrance of 100 years since the last shot was fired at 11 am on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. As we think on those we lost and those who returned to us forever changed from war-time, I reflect on freedom and what that means. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which forms part of our Constitution, reflects those freedoms that protect us from government and makes it difficult for future governments to limit our rights and freedoms, and allows us to speak freely about the things that are important to us. We are allowed to openly criticize our governments, and social media has made this even easier as there is the ability to comment instantaneously to material, and to add pressure and lobby for things are important to an individual or a group. Freedom is not free, and we must, in my opinion, understand the responsibility that comes along with freedom. This great privilege is something that we take for granted. We hear differing opinions expressed everyday on every subject, and many sit around coffee shops and kitchen tables or adding our voices to twitter, instagram and facebook discussing the minutiae of legislation, or government decisions that have incredible impact on our daily lives. Strong opinions come from various political stripes, lobbying groups and activists and give us a plethora of information to wade through to come to our own conclusions of what legislation should look like and if it adequately represents society as it is reflected today. I believe that we have a responsibility with this incredible gift of freedom of speech, conscience, religion, belief, peaceful assembly, and association. These freedoms are not just a willy-nilly set of rules that just allows to do or say anything we want in fact, we must make sure that limits are in place so that these beautiful freedoms are not used to insight hate, or violence. We must insure that we are using these freedoms to protect our society and not as a mechanism to spread mistruths or unintentional comparisons that create and spread hatred and fear. These are not just alternate or controversial opinions, these are violations of the very rights we are discussing. I believe in democracy and that respectful and healthy debate brings us to a place where there is the potential to create great policy that overwhelmingly protects and is responsive to the broad population. We are all equal under the law, and we have a right to protection and we are protected against discrimination based on race, nationality, ethnic origin, color, religion, sex, orientation, or mental or physical disability. In a democracy, we must protect these rights. This is why the right to vote and voice your opinions through thoughtful conversations and debate is so important. As an elected official, I am here because you gave me that privilege, and my responsibility is to represent all of the people in the riding I represent, and in Alberta. We may not always agree on the path, but hopefully we can agree on the destination, a journey that is created with respect, compassion, and using the incredible freedoms that we all posses with common sense and gratitude. As always we love to hear from you.