examination of the nature of meaning.nWhat was the meaning of those memories?nThose August nights on whichnwe talked about art, music, drama, andnpoetry were, perhaps, our own declarahonnof independence. Our ideas werenindependent, we seem to have beennsaying, our feelings couldn’t be dictated,nand ideas and feelings would outlastnany bureaucracy, because seriousnart survives.nI believe that, just as I believe that itnis an artist’s responsibility to do everythingnpossible to safeguard his or hernown independence from all who wouldnencroach upon it. So long as an artistnhas any choice at all, the artist must, asnit were, choose independence.nIn Latvian folklore, the Castle ofnLight is a symbol of Latvia’s independence.nWhen the Black Knight stolenthe key to the castle from the Bear-nSlayer, the castle sank into the Daugava,ndarkened and drowned. The Castlenof Light has been returned to its foundation,nbut the United States was notnamong the first to cheer its early (ornlate, but better late than never) light. Innthis instance at least, countries aroundnthe world revealed themselves as caringnmore for the principles of democracynthan the United States. We let Gorbachevnmake the choice for us, privilegingnan old-boy network above principle.nDid we simply not have the couragenof our convictions? Did we simply notnhave any convictions?nKelly Cherry writes from Madison,nWisconsin.nLetter FromnCanadanby Kenneth McDonaldnA Guide to Political ReformnIn May 1987 a meeting of about twonhundred delegates from the four Westernnprovinces met in Vancouver tondiscuss a common concern: alienationnof Western Canada that resulted fromnthe concentration of political power innan Ottawa largely controlled by Ontarionand Quebec. Most of the delegatesnwere small “c” conservatives who be­n42/CHRONICLESnlieved in individual freedom, free enterprise,nand traditional values. Fivenmonths later at a founding conventionnin Winnipeg, the Reform Party of Canadancommitted itself to developing policiesnwithin three main themes: moreneffective representation of the West;nmore accountability by members ofnParliament; and a small “c” conservativeneconomic agenda.nThe intervening years have seen thenfledgling party grow from three thousandnmembers to more than ninetynthousand, and from a Western regionalnbase to a federal party active in allnprovinces except Quebec. (Althoughnmany of its policies might appeal tonQuebecers’ innate conservatism, thenparty sees little point in pursuing thisnwhile the province persists in its flirtationnwith sovereignty. By the samentoken it notes the contradiction facing anprime minister from Quebec, who likenany prime minister is dependent uponnQuebec votes for electoral victory, innpresuming to negotiate for Canada.)nReform’s elected leader is 49-yearoldnPreston Manning, a successfulnmanagement consultant who took nonactive part in politics from 1967, whennhis father Ernest retired after 25 years asnpremier of Alberta, until 1987. Duringnthat period, however, he developed hisnvision of a New Canada, which hendescribed in an October 29, 1990,ninterview with Maclean’s as “a placenwhere citizens insist that governmentsnlive within their means, where real jobsnwith real incomes are provided not byngovernment but by internationallyncompetitive, environmentally sustainablenbusinesses and industries. ThenNew Canada is a place where Parliamentnworks because it has been reformed,nwhere the national governmentnis dedicated to the proposidonnthat all Canadians should be treatednequally without regard to race, languagenand culture.”nThe party published a blue book ofnprinciples and policies that has nownbeen revised to incorporate changesnadopted by resolutions of the party’snAssembly in Saskatoon in April ofn1991. In his foreword. Manning contrastsnthe Old with the New Canada hisnparty is dedicated to defining andnbuilding. The Old Canada’s leadersn”have focused their attention, not onnbuilding a federation of equal provinces,nbut on building a federation ofnnnfounding peoples (the English andnFrench) distinguished by official languagesnpolicy and governmentsupportednculture.” That Old Canada,nhe maintains, is one of top-down governmentsnliving beyond their meansnand sheltering behind an undemocraticnParliament emasculated by strict partyndiscipline — and it is ill-prepared toncompete in the worid’s emerging freemarket,nfree-trade environment. AnNew Canada “must be a federation ofnprovinces, not a federation of foundingnraces or ethnic groups.”nIf there is one constant thread thatnweaves its way through the 39-pagenbook it is a profound belief in thencommon sense of the common people.nLet the people participate directly innmaking and amending their constitu-nHon. Institute binding referenda, voters’ninitiatives, and recall. Make electednrepresentatives accountable not to thenparty hierarchy but to the people whonelected them and whose views they arenexpected to express. Consult the peoplenbefore major policy decisions arenmade. Change the appointed Senaten(which allots 24 seats each to Ontarionand Quebec, but only six each to thenother provinces) to one that is elected,nhas equal representation from eachnprovince, and an effective veto overnHouse of Commons legislation.nTrusting the people is reflected inneconomic policy (free enterprise, privatenproperty, freedom of contract, andnfree markets), in trade and agriculturen(scrap inter-provincial trade barriers,nreduce and eventually eliminate governmentnsubsidies), in energy (privatensector development, no governmentnsubsidies, grants, loan guarantees, ornspecial tax treatment), monetary policyn(slow, steady growth in money supply,nregional inputs to fiscal policy), a morencompetitive banking system, and constructivenrelations between unions andnemployers.nGovernments should look upon taxnrevenues as “funds held in trust.” Governmentsnand the civil servants, politiciansnand political parties of which theynare composed exist to serve the people.nReform’s proposals for returningnCanada’s governments to fiscal responsibilityninclude eliminahng or reducingnexpenditure on a variety of activities:nthick layers of middle management innthe civil service; official bilingualism,nmulticulturalism, and government ad-n