If you’re reading this column, chances are you’re not a child or a teenager; in fact you’re probably not even in your 20s either. Generally, the younger ones got better things to do then read about more whining and complaining about governments and other such stuff.
And that’s a good thing – at least it is in this case.
If you happen to be a bit longer in the tooth, you can probably remember – because it wasn’t that long ago, when Canada was actually “cool”.
It was back in the late 1960s, 1970s and early part of the 1980s during a time in our history when we were searching for our own identity and something that separated us from everyone else, in particular, the Americans.
Many of you can probably fondly remember the pure pride and joy all Canadians felt during the 1967 Centennial and the thrill of the opening ceremonies of the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal. Back then Canada stood on the precipice of establishing ourselves as an emerging, highly respected, highly envied country in the eyes of the rest of the world.
The fact that back then, when we “waged peace” – remember that slogan from back in the day?; instead of now, when we’re waging war, might have had something to do with our then-new sense of identity. But even bigger, much bigger in the hearts of a lot of Canadians, was the fact that we opened our arms and our borders and offering a safe haven to those resisting one of America’s many illegal and unjust wars.
In other words, back then we warmly welcomed conscientious objectors who refused to serve in the Viet Nam War – much to the chagrin of Uncle Sam. It marked the beginning of a philosophy among many of us that irrefutably and undeniably became the one and only thing that truly and definitively separated them from us.
Well, times have changed and sadly for many, Canada just ain’t “cool” anymore.
Luckily for most of us though, at least we’re finally seeing some common sense government coming out of Ottawa.
So on behalf of Canadians from coast to coast, let’s see an enthusiastic thumbs up and hear three huge cheers to our Members of Parliament who, under the most absurd and ridiculous circumstances, rose above the ‘wannabes’ and showed what the true Canada is all about and who exactly is in charge of this country.
Of course, the accolades are for our fine MPs who represent the Liberals, the New Democratic Party and yes, even the Bloc Quebecois who recently rose as one, and defiantly voted in favour of a motion that abruptly stopped a federal government plan that many would argue was the most un-Canadian, pro-American gesture by a so-called leader in our nation’s entire history.
Hooray for them!
In case you missed it, and you probably did because that’s the way the federal Conservatives want it; all the MPs of all the Opposition parties joined together to adopt a recommendation which, if implemented, would make it possible for Iraq War resisters from the United States to obtain permanent resident status in Canada. Needless to say, for whatever reason, each and every Conservative voted against the recommendation.
According to the news source, the motion, which originated in the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration in December of 2007, calls on the government to, “immediately implement a program to allow conscientious objectors and their immediate family members to apply for permanent resident status and remain in Canada; and the government should immediately cease any removal or deportation actions against such individuals.”
In other words, the feds want us to first, fight America’s illegal war for them, and then, round up their draft dodgers and forcibly send them back to face a military court martial and significant jail sentences.
“I’m thankful that the MPs voted to let me and the other war resisters stay in Canada,” said conscientious objector Corey Glass shortly made their announcement. “I’m also thankful to all the Canadians who urged their MPs to support us.”
Isn’t that what Canada is supposed to be all about – even if it happens to conflicts with the Prime Minister’s pro-war, pro-America slant on things?
“This is a great victory for the courageous men and women who have come to Canada because they refuse to take part in the illegal, immoral Iraq War, and for the many organizations and individuals who have supported this campaign over the past four years,” added Lee Zaslofsky, Coordinator of the War Resisters Support Campaign and a Vietnam War deserter who came to Canada in 1970.
The War Resisters Support Campaign is calling on the Conservative government to respect the democratic decision of the Canadian Parliament and immediately implement the motion and cease deportation proceedings against Corey Glass and other war resisters.
So good on our real Canadian MP’s, especially those from the Bloc Party who put their ambitions on the back-burner and lined up on the side of compassion and common sense.
As for the Conservatives and their supporters, deep in their hearts do they honestly and sincerely believe that rounding up draft dodgers, imprisoning them and then deporting them back to the United States fits into the philosophy and ideology of what it means to be a Canadian? Or at the very least, what it meant to be a Canadian?
Of course they do because every one of them voted against the recommendation of the Opposition parties and instead, voted for what the Americans apparently told them to vote for.
If you’ve already written off the notion that the Prime Minister and his cronies are fast-tracking the Americanization of Canada as ‘absurd’ or ‘ridiculous’, you might want to think again.
And with that, let’s have three cheers for the real Canadian Members of Parliament.
Hip, hip hooray, hip, hip hooray, hip, hip hooray for common sense and good old Canadian values.
Hey Liberals, get yourselves a leader other than ‘deer-in-the-headlights’ guy and bring on the next federal election.
It’s time to clean up our House.