The passing of President Ronald Reagan, on the eve of our federal election campaign, offers an unflattering comparison of the Canadian political climate.

Reagan was a true leader: although he understood the gravity of his office, the weight of duty never dulled his indefatigable smile. This genial statesman, who combined the wisdom of age with the levity of youth, led his nation during its mortal struggle with an evil ideology; and he did so with conviction, candor, but most of all, with charm.

But he was not blind to the faults of West. Like Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, he realized that the true friend of democracy could not afford to flatter it. And so, not only did he challenge communism with freedom, but he dared a cynical generation to hope and called a moribund culture to accept and cherish God’s greatest gift: human life. Of this conflict, he said: “it is a test of moral will and faith … Human-life legislation ending this tragedy will someday pass the Congress, and you and I must never rest until it does”.

“Our heritage as Americans bids us to respect and to defend the sanctity of human life.” Does not our Canadian heritage demand as much?