More than a thousand years afterwards, historians still argue about what caused the fall of Rome. That the Roman Empire declined and fell is not in question, but what caused the demise of one of the world’s greatest and most enduring empires is still debated. A strong case can be made that over time, the Romans became complacent and their once iron vigilance abated. The highly disciplined and lethal citizen armies of the early Republic, willing to close with their enemies in hand-to-hand combat slowly over time gave way to armies largely made up of mercenaries and allies. As their material wealth and freedoms grew, they lost the sense that the state could expect their service for the greater good. Without ever noticing the trend, the Romans grew weak and the unthinkable occurred – they were destroyed – not with a single act or event, but over time. The combination of complacency and lack of courage ended their empire. Canada is no empire. One of our country’s greatest strengths is that we seek no empire. We seek to be friends with the world and do business with the world. We have been known as honest brokers and friendly competitors. And yet in the short period of time from the end of World War II to today’s date – a mere 60 years in the course of time, we have become unrecognizable to the country we once were. If you were to tell the brave men that hit the beaches on D-Day that we would one day shun our traditional allies they would have called you mad. If the fathers of those men, who stormed Vimy Ridge were told that the day would come when we would side with France sooner than Britain, they would have said it was a lie – a damnable lie that filled their eyes with tears. And yet, this has come to pass – like the Romans, almost imperceptibly, complacently, and gradually. What man, what soldier, stepping off a troop ship in 1945 to meet his grateful family would ever, in a thousand years, dream it possible that in his grandson’s day the great issues in the public square would be gay marriage and legalizing recreational drugs? Could that man’s family even comprehend the idea of the government ladling out billions of taxpayer dollars to fund a national daycare program? These are not the sole issues of the day but they are very representative of the state of affairs in Canada. Gay marriage, legalized drugs and national daycare all have one common denominator. They are “me” first issues. They represent a society where everything is okay – nothing is wrong or questionable. If I feel a certain way about something – anything – that’s okay. I have the right to “feel” anyway I like. Step back from today’s Canada. Take a look at what we have become. When did we reach the point where we expect the government to coddle us from cradle to grave? When did it become someone else’s responsibility to take care of my children? It sounds ridiculous and it would astound your grandfather if he was told after getting off his troop ship in 1945 but the day will soon come when two gay men can smoke pot at their wedding reception while taxpayer’s dollars pay for their adopted child to be in daycare. Madness? No, sadly it is fact. Who lead us to this sorry point where Canada is now a laughing stock militarily and completely ignored on the world stage? A variety of shortsighted political characters, no doubt, but the citizens of our country shoulder the lion’s share of the blame. How could we permit this to happen? How did we become so slothful and complacent? These questions need answers, but more so, they need actions to remedy the sickness Canada has gradually fallen under. June 6th, 1944 was D-Day. The Canadian contigent on that great day was so large that we not only had our own beach, Juno beach, but also contributed to Sword beach where the British were landing. The 8th Canadian Infantry Brigade of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division landed on Juno beach. Bear that in mind – a full infantry brigade . We can now barely commit a single battalion anywhere in the world and if we do so, we have to lease the planes from a foreign country to take them to the theatre of war. Perhaps you would prefer to wave me off and shake your head, and go about your business. Suit yourself. After all, being Canadian now means looking after yourself and nobody else, and damn the future. Our grandfathers built a wonderous, free country. What are we going to leave our grandchildren?