Whose right is it anyway?

“I’m not cold; I don’t need gloves.”

Parents hear this every winter: “I don’t need a coat.” “I’m not cold.” “My hat? I left it in my locker at school. I wasn’t cold.”

I was brought up hearing “Kids don’t feel the cold.” It’s true, they don’t – not to the same degree adults do, anyway. The perennial fight over getting kids who aren’t cold dressed for the cold is probably as old as parenthood.

On December 4th, I attended a protest outside the Australian consulate to protest the outrageous emergence of tyrannical government in what was once one of the world’s most successful democracies. The people were some of the most concerned and considerate I have ever met.

Two of the protesters were a father/daughter duo. Upon meeting them, I noticed the little girl was not wearing any gloves.

“Honey, aren’t your hands cold, holding that sign?” I fretted. “I have some brand new gloves in my car, let me go and get them for you,” I offered.

“No thank you! I’m not cold, and I don’t need them,” she replied firmly.

Behind her, her father sighed and rolled his eyes comically.

“We have this conversation every weekend,” he laughed. “I pack everything. She has gloves and hats and scarves, but she leaves them in our car. She won’t wear them.”

He gave his daughter an affectionate squeeze, and I smiled recalling the exact same debate with my kids. They all survived their gloveless, hatless, scarfless winter days, this girl would, too.

What struck me most was her father’s respect for her choice: she said she wasn’t cold. He took her at her word. He packed gloves, but he wasn’t going to wreck their Saturday arguing over whether she was smart enough to judge for herself whether or not she was cold.

It did not occur to me until later that to some degree that conversation was actually symbolic of why we were there, protesting. Governments in Australia and indeed Canada want to tell citizens what is best for their bodies.

Citizens, on the other hand, believe they have the right to decide this for themselves.

Could that dad have wrestled a pair of gloves onto his daughter’s hands, or a scarf around her neck? Well, he could have tried. I doubt he would have succeeded, but I can guarantee the anger and hard feelings that would result would have ruined their day and eventually, their relationship.

Dad could have even packed a thermometer so he could prove how cold it was; I don’t think that would have changed his daughter’s mind one iota. They weren’t debating facts and data: they were debating her right to decide.

Can Australia – or Canada – force people who don’t want the COVID shot to take one? Clearly, they are willing to try. As a result, the relationship between citizens and government is being ruined.

Now, we are not arguing whether Canadians need the shot any more than kids need gloves in winter. We are arguing whether a human being has the right to decide what they want for their own body.

Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms says we do. This is still the law of the land.

No matter how cold it gets.