Catholic Social and Political Activism

Transcript of John Pacheco's Address at National Liberty Day - April 17, 2004

Introductory Remarks

You know folks, it's been a long time since I have had the stomach to say this, but today on this Parliament Hill, you've all made me proud to be a Canadian again. Thank you.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank some of the people who have been involved in this glorious day. First I would like to thank all of the speakers for their edifying words of encouragement.

I would like to thank David McDonald and his band for the inspiring music and especially the theme song for National Liberty Day, which we will all be singing again shortly.

I would also like to thank Aiden Reid and the staff of Campaign Life Coalition for their security and organizing efforts this afternoon. Campaign Life will be holding their rally here next month on May 13 in defense of the unborn. I hope many of you will come out to this rally as well.

There's also a young lady that all of us assembled here today owe a great deal of gratitude to. She has been courageous and relentless in organizing this event, and her spirit is as large as this Parliament Hill. We owe her much, and I hope that you all respond to the sacrifice and hard work this woman has put into making this rally possible

Thank you Connie Wilkens and the staff of for standing up for our country and our freedoms!!!


We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…

My fellow Canadians, although these words are inscribed on the American Declaration of Independence, no truer or more timely message can be spoken of on Canadian soil. For there is now before us a rise of a veiled totalitarianism which is creeping into our beloved country, seeking to muzzle dissent and debate on vital issues to the prosperity and even survival of this great country.

But, on this day, this momentous day in our Nation's history,

we are going to throw down the gauntlet

and defend our Canadian heritage

we are going to stand on guard for Canada and for freedom!!!

Many of you may be unaware of the significance of this day, but it is a very important one. You see, this day, April 17, is a very historic and prophetic one. It is historic because this day is the anniversary of the proclamation of the 1982 Constitution of Canada. It is prophetic because this Liberty Day will signify a reclaiming of the Dominion of Canada and the promotion of its true and authentic heritage. Your presence here is a witness to that mission, and I am very proud to officially announce its launch.

My dear friends, the fundamental pillar of democracy is freedom of expression. Without this basic human right, our democratic structures - our economy, our education system, our system of law, our cultural and political institutions - all of them - will begin to erode and eventually collapse. It will collapse because only through freedom of speech and religious liberty can man hear the truth, and it is the truth - and the truth alone - which can sustain a civilization.

But when that truth is suppressed and intimidated, when it is fined, convicted, and imprisoned, what hope is there left for us as a nation? There is no hope without truth. And just as there is no authentic freedom without truth, there is no truth without freedom.

It is no surprise to anyone here, of course, that the liberal media and the more vocal supporters of Bill C-250 are highly antagonistic and intolerant of those who oppose this legislation. They think that we are tacitly supporting hatred against homosexuals by opposing this legislation. But they don't know us. They don't know us at all.

We are NOT here because of hate. We are here because of love. Love for democracy. Love for our Country. Love for freedom. And yes, love for our opponents. But love does not always say "yes". Sometimes it must say "no". When the legislators and the unelected judiciary seek to deny us the right to say "no", then hatred's victim is not homosexuals - but rather truth and freedom and those who uphold these values.

We are here today to let the politicians and judges know that the course they have chartered for this country is the wrong one. No man, no government or any other human authority has the moral right to suppress man's search for the truth and his right to proclaim it. The right to religious liberty and freedom of speech has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person from conception to natural death, being revealed through Word of God and by reason itself.

At the beginning of his pontificate in 1978, Pope John Paul II began with a cry which still echoes throughout the world today:

"Be not afraid!"

What irony and sadness it is that his words, addressed to the persecuted Church at the time, would find such relevance and poignancy during this time in our nation's history.

So, to our opponents, to the Prime Minister, to the Senate of Canada, and to the Judiciary of this country, I say, respectfully yet forcefully:

You will not take away our Canadian heritage. You will not strip us of our freedom of speech and expression. But most importantly, I say to our opponents, you will not muzzle the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Connie and I want you all to do two things for us:

First, on Monday morning, we want everyone here on the Hill to go to's website. There is a prominent link on the home page which will take you to the Senate of Canada where you will see the phone numbers and e-mail addresses of the Senators. We ask that everyone here flood the Senate of Canada with so many phone calls and e-mails that the only message the government will be getting next week will be:

Dump this legislation or, come the next election, we'll dump you!

Second, in the Christian Scriptures Jesus told his Apostles that certain demons can only be driven out through prayer and fasting. For the Christians assembled here today, we are going to take Our Lord's instruction seriously and move this battle to the spiritual realm. This Tuesday April 20, when the Senators reconvene to address this legislation, we are going to storm heaven on that day with our prayers and our fastings. And we are going to win this battle in the spirit as well as in the flesh.

In the days and months to come, we will be attacked in the media and by the totalitarian agenda. But we will remain firm and resolute in our convictions, remembering the consoling words of St. Paul:

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed;
perplexed, but not in despair;
persecuted, but not abandoned;
struck down, but not destroyed.

Let us not be deceived. We will not be guaranteed a painless victory. In fact, we are going to suffer loss and pain as we battle for our freedoms and religious liberty. Yes, there might be a time when a dark cloud will hang over our great nation. But that time will be short lived; it will not last; it will not stand. Because after suffering, bondage, and death, there will come the Resurrection of freedom and truth.

And when the dawn breaks and our civil liberties and freedoms are restored once again, we will come back here to this place on Parliament Hill, triumphant and victorious, and we will raise our voices to heaven, singing

Free at last, free at last, Thank God almighty we're free at last!!!!!

Clockwise: The Crowd/Lebanese representation/John Pacheco/Pastor Dominic Tse from the Chinese Community