Why Canada Slept Pt 7
Thanks to Gerhard for getting these to me, and thanks to Dave for letting me post this series of essays entitled "Why Canada Slept" which originally were published in the back of Cerebus. I have kept the original formating and haven't edit it at all. If you rather read a MS Word document of it, here it is.
Why Canada Slept
“Power corrupts but so does weakness. And absolute weakness
corrupts absolutely. We are now living through the most critical watershed
of the post-war period, with enormous moral and strategic
issues at stake, and the only answer many Europeans offer
is to constrain and contain American power. So by default they
end up on the side of Saddam, in an intellectually corrupt position.”
editor of Die Zeit
Dear Mr. Prime Minister:
It was with regret that I learned today of your resignation as the Prime Minister of Her Majesty’s Government of Canada. While my own politics are far to the right of your own, there is no doubt in my mind that you have served our dominion as an able custodian for the best part of a decade. While there has been much discussion of late regarding your legacy, I have thought for some time that your greatest legacy will be that you did not use the near-absolute powers of the PMO for anything more grandiose than able custodianship. The excessive use of the emergency parliamentary device (cloture) troubled me when it was used by your mentor M. Trudeau to repatriate the Constitution and troubled me also when it was used by Mr. Mulroney to ratify the Free Trade Agreement. [Cloture, frequently mispronounced as “closure” in our degraded feminist age, is a parliamentary device whereby a Prime Minister is able to cut off further debate on a given motion before the House and force a premature vote. Its original intent—to allow a government to act, expeditiously, in the event of a national emergency was first corrupted by Pierre Trudeau and has now become an instrument of dictatorial rule in Canada that Josef Stalin might have envied]. I was most apprehensive in the early 1990s in anticipating what further tectonic shifts in Canadian life might be perpetrated by their successors in that office (which you held up until yesterday). Although you used cloture at least as often as they did, you always did it in the name of more limited objectives and the maintenance of the status quo for the most part. At this point, I can only hope that your own successors will follow your example and—if not refrain from the use of cloture—use it sparingly and within acceptable parameters of political “fair play.”
I’m certain you don’t remember, but we met in 1985, here in Kitchener at the long-defunct Provident Bookstore on King Street when you were doing a signing tour for your book Straight from the Heart [a ghost-written autobiography he was then using to lay the groundwork in what would be his first, failed, attempt at the Liberal leadership]. Having shaken hands with Pierre Trudeau on his last political campaign [in the lobby of the Valhalla Inn, now the Four Points Sheraton] a few blocks away, I was very eager to do the same with one of the other signatories of the Canadian Constitution [the three signatories of the Canadian Constitution are Pierre Elliot Trudeau, Prime Minister, Jean Chrétien, Justice Minister and Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada] and hurried to the Provident Bookstore as soon as your appearance was announced, purchased a copy of the book and was (I believe) the fourth or fifth person in line as we awaited your arrival. You were about a half hour late and came in the front door and smiled at everyone waiting and everyone smiled back at you (as you know better than most Kitchener Center has—for many, many years—been about as safe a Liberal riding as you could hope to find) and there we all stood. Smiling. Thinking that something needed to be done, I began to applaud. The Provident was a primarily religious bookstore and I’m sure this was the first time any sound above a whisper had been heard within its four walls and several people turned and looked at me in positive horror. Didn’t I know this was the Provident Bookstore? In a second or two, however, it registered that (even in the Provident Bookstore) applause is a completely harmless and entirely beneficent gesture of approval and everyone soon joined in.
At this point, I should mention that all of my previous experiences at book signings had been on the other side of the table. I’ve been writing and drawing an independent comic book since December 1977 and comic-book store signings play a large role in any success in the field (which I have been fortunate enough to experience—December will mark Cerebus’ 25th year of continuous publication), so it was interesting to have the shoe on the other foot.
I was very impressed by the fact that you shook hands with each person who came up to the table. That’s good, I remember thinking. That’s a very good thing to do. You also spoke to each person individually, asked their name and signed their copy of the book to them. That’s good, too, I remember thinking. That’s another good thing to do. I have no idea what I said to you when it came my turn. Something inane, I’m sure. But you were very gracious [that is, he didn’t look at me as if I had just said something entirely inane] and signed my book “Bonjour, Dave Jean Chrétien.” I was very pleased as I left the store. That was Jean Chrétien. The Jean Chrétien. I stopped dead in my tracks and thought, He’s still there. I’ll probably never see him in person again. What did I leave the store for? Where could I possibly be going that would be more interesting than where I just was? So I turned around and went back.
One of the book-signing experiences I had had several time in my career was to sign copies of Cerebus for an eager fan, watch them leave the store and then—ten or twenty seconds later—be somewhat startled to see the same fan back again, standing a few feet away. What on earth is he doing, I’d always wonder. He already got his autograph. He already left. I saw him leave. Jeez, I hope he isn’t some crazed nutcase.
As unobtrusively as possible, I walked back into the Provident Bookstore and took up a position about a dozen feet away from you. You caught sight of me and the look on your face was unmistakable. What on earth is he doing? He already got his autograph. He already left. I saw him leave. Jeez, I hope he isn’t some crazed nutcase.
And that was as far as I had gotten with my letter late in the evening of 20 August 02, my sister’s forty-ninth birthday. I had met my family for dinner and had been greeted with the news that Prime Minister Chrétien—faced with a caucus uprising and with no hope of success in a looming leadership review by his party—had resigned earlier that afternoon. After a good dinner (La Costa, corner of Ontario and Charles, highly recommended) and a couple of glasses of champagne, I was in a more forgiving frame of mind toward our Prime Minister than I had been in some time and conceived the idea of writing the next installment of “Why Canada Slept” in the form of a farewell letter to him. The next morning I was contemplating the challenges posed by the next part of my letter, whose centerpiece would consist of the fact that, early in 2002, owing to what I saw as Mr. Chrétien’s disgraceful sequence of betrayals of every promise he had made to our American allies in the aftermath of 11 September I had, without a moment’s twinge or regret, dropped my personalized copy of Straight from the Heart down the garbage chute in my apartment building. There had to be a nice way of explaining that, I thought, to someone who has—albeit indirectly, albeit very late in the day—chosen to do the right thing.
Imagine my surprise when I picked up my copy of that morning’s National Post in the lobby of my building and discovered that the Prime Minister had, indeed, resigned but that his resignation would not take effect until February of 2004—at that time sixteen months away! Is there an adjectival form of “weasel”? That and many other unprintable adjectives crowded out the balance of the letter I had intended to complete that day. It was another sad and miserable step down into the pit of dishonour and degradation which composed the squalid life of my country in the opening minutes of the twenty-first century. And not just on a national level, I was incredulous that neither my father, my mother or my sister had considered that the sixteen-month delay in the Prime Minister’s resignation taking effect was a relevant piece of information to impart! We had discussed “What happens next?” but not once was it indicated that “next” wasn’t coming for another year and a half! Incredulous, yes, but only briefly, since I knew that the other three members of my family are devout CBC Liberals, worshipping at the wretched altar of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, our taxpayer-funded national answer to the former USSR’s Pravda news service and a central pillar in any discussion of “Why Canada Slept”. CBC Liberals—which encompasses most of the citizens of this unhappy dominion—understand what Pravda is, understand that it is (or was) an instrument of indoctrination used by the Soviet government to skew news coverage in the direction of Communist Party policy, a propaganda vehicle for a specific viewpoint. Ancillary to this, you can get CBC Liberals to acknowledge that the term “politically correct” originated as a direct offshoot of the motivating idea behind the Soviet experiment and the “ideals” which were the foundation of Pravda: that specific Marxist Truths needed to be enunciated to the masses on a daily basis through the government controlled press in order to maintain the forward momentum necessary to bring about a worldwide workers’ paradise. You could even take CBC Radio’s own descriptions of its own programs and recite them aloud to a CBC Liberal: Multiculturalism: Panacea or Manifest Destiny? A panel of experts on multiculturalism discuss its many benefits and search in vain for any pitfalls. Canadian Arts: Alive! A panel of experts on government-financed art discuss the many benefits of government-funding of the arts and search in vain for any pitfalls. Our Cities in Crisis A panel of experts discuss the crisis facing our cities and what government needs to do to avert it. Empowering First Nations: A Place to Stand A panel of experts from a variety First Nations explain how government can do more to assist them towards greater autonomy. War in Iraq: The Social Workers Speak A panel of social workers examine the traumas inflicted upon the Iraqi people in the recent war and how government-funded social work is making a difference. Doesn’t this sound familiar to you (you would ask the CBC Liberal in vain)? Doesn’t this sound like the Liberal Party platform rendered in the form of mock journalism? No. At that point the CBC Liberal shuts down. Although a CBC Liberal is familiar both with the Liberal Party platform and likewise familiar with CBCSpeak (apologies to George Orwell)—those subjects and approaches which are allowable on CBC Radio and television and those which aren’t—you could pull their fingernails out by the roots and you couldn’t get them to acknowledge that CBC programming consists, in toto, of the Liberal Party platform. To a CBC Liberal, CBC Radio and television consists of actual journalism on a wide variety subjects covering a wide variety of viewpoints with a wide variety of Canadians from many walks of life (variety to a CBC Liberal consists of a panoply of choices between Liberalism, extreme liberalism, Marxism, feminism, soft socialism, hard socialism, multiculturalism, Communism across a wide and variegated spectrum that ranges from crimson to shocking pink). If you’re a glutton for punishment, you could always try and attack the problem from a more oblique angle by asking the CBC Liberal: You are aware that the entire executive of the CBC is made up of government appointees? That is, every decision-maker in the CBC hierarchy owes his job to the Liberal government?
What’s my point?
My point is that only a Marxist dupe would not see what my point is.
The last genuine experience I had with CBC Radio was on the occasion of my parents’ fiftieth wedding anniversary when we were driving some fifteen or twenty miles from where we were staying to my sister’s house in Westport. I listened for half an hour to an earnest documentary on Gay Skinheads.
Seriously. Gay. Skinheads.
In deathly, reverent silence, because we were listening to the CBC and as every good CBC Liberal knows, everything on the CBC is edifying, everything on the CBC exists only to bring a level of pure enlightenment to Canadians, a level of comprehension and overview of world events of which all other nations of our the world can only dream and a level to which all other nations of our globe fall so sadly and hopelessly short. Had I recorded it—and bear in mind that this was my one, random, “anything could have been on at that time” experience with CBC Radio in more than two decades—I could literally have passed it off as my own scathing satire of the entire fundamentally fraudulent CBC Radio Marxist/socialist/feminist construct—rather as Monty Python did with the British Marxist equivalent, the BBC—and I guarantee I would be accused of dramatic exaggeration. “Oh, come on, Dave. The CBC isn’t as bad as all that.” I beg to differ: Earnest, earnest bass-amplified—verging on the Dolby-esque (We! We! Are! Are! FM! FM! Radio! Radio!)—interviews about complete and utter self-evident twaddle.
Gay Skinhead: Well, it’s very difficult being. You know. A gay skinhead. Other skinheads. They. They. Don’t treat you the same.
Interviewer: (after a second’s pause) How do you mean?
Gay Skinhead: (after another second’s pause) Well. They aren’t nice to you. When they find out. You know. (another pause) That you’re gay.
I’m in the back seat, thinking to myself, I bet they don’t let you join in any skinhead games. “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer” as social engineering template. To illustrate the incestuous relationship between the Liberal government and the CBC, here’s a series of excerpts from news items, columns and editorials from the National Post last December which document the sequence of events which resulted from the trial balloon floated by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service that Canadians whose passports identify them as being born in countries which finance and support and harbour terrorists would be subject to the same scrutiny at the border as citizens of those countries:
A senior Liberal Cabinet Minister yesterday suggested Canadians born in Middle Eastern countries remove their place of birth from their passports in order to avoid tighter security measures when crossing into the United States.
Herb Dhaliwal, the Minister of Natural Resources, said the move would help Canadian citizens avoid harassment by U.S. immigration officials who are cracking down on travelers born in five nations—Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Syria and Libya—designated as state sponsors of terrorism.
“I think anbody who looks Middle Eastern, who may be born in Middle Eastern countries, are very concerned about the way they may be treated,” said Mr. Dhaliwal, a Canadian of Sikh origin born in Punjab.
This was followed by Bill Graham, our Foreign Minister, venturing the opinion that a person of Middle Eastern origin showing up at the U.S. border with their country of origin removed from their passports would attract a certain amount of unwanted attention in and of itself. I mean, if you could persuade every Canadian born in India, the Punjab, Pakistan, Turkey, Asia Minor or anywhere on the Arab Peninsula to go along with it, sure. You’d have a good old fashioned Gandhi-style non-violent civil disobedience thing going. But that presupposes that a majority of Canadians born in those areas who spend a lot of time flying on airplanes think it’s a bad idea to be checking people from Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Syria and Libya a little more closely than was done prior to 11 September. How many of those Canadians are anti-American socialists (like the vast majority of the Liberal caucus) and, therefore believe (like the vast majority of the Liberal caucus) that being on a plane that gets flown into the side of the (say) the Sears Tower is a worthwhile risk to take in the name of zero tolerance of anything that smacks of racial profiling? Well, we’ll never find out because, as fellow Canadian and former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum wrote
On Thursday, the Americans agreed to exempt Canadian passport-holders from a new rule requiring all persons born in Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq and Sudan to be fingerprinted and photographed before entry into the United States.
On the very same day [Foreign Minister Bill] Graham announced his big diplomatic win, he informed the House foreign affairs committee that Canada would continue to permit the so-called political arm of Hezbollah to operate freely in Canada. He explained, “We don’t believe it would be appropriate to label as terrorists innocent doctors, teachers and other people who are seeking to do charitable and other good works in their communities.”
My first reaction to this statement was a kind of awe. How can anyone manage to be such a fool as that? OK, so maybe Graham doesn’t listen to his intelligence briefings or look at the documents in his dispatch box. But does he not even read the newspapers? Is it possible to be the foreign minister of a country supposedly allied with the United Sates in the war on terror and not have the faintest understanding of how the world’s second-deadliest terror organization does its murderous work?
Graham and Jean Chrétien are trying to walk a narrow defile. On the one hand, they want to seem supportive enough of the Americans that they can ask for favours—like the exemption from normal security procedures for Canadian passport-holders. On the other hand, they are plainly terrified of taking a tough line on terror and possibly provoking a terrorist attack against Canada.
So they waffle.
With all due respect to one of Canada’s brightest conservative intellects, I think he overlooks the obvious. Our Foreign Minister gets his information from the same place the Prime Minister and the vast majority of Canadians get their information: from the CBC. I’m sure he puts on the National (the CBC’s national news telecast) at 10 pm every weeknight the same as most of the country does and waits for the Marxists of Metropolitan Toronto to tell him what his bureaucrats have told them; today’s spin on last night’s Orwellian truth. The government is the media and the media is the government. I’m sure our foreign minister at least scans the National Post’s front page to find out what 250,000 conservative crackpots are nattering about. But only to see if there are any stories in the offing which might make it onto the CBC. That is, reading auguries in the entrails of the National Post’s too-lucid prose which provide a harbinger that some singularly appalling monstrosity of Marxist excess identified by the conservative press (like a gun registry budgeted to cost $2 million dollars turning out to cost $1 billion dollars—and still climbing) might shortly excite the temporary curiosity (the curiosity of the CBC Liberal is always temporary) of this country’s 22 million CBCSpeak devotees such that the CBC will find itself forced to explain over the course of a few nights why it is not only perfectly normal for a $2 million gun registry to cost $1 billion—and still climbing!—but why it is in all of our best interests to soldier on as best we can in the name of all our vague Marxist/feminist/socialist ideals which tell us that a gun registry is a very good idea, whatever the cost. If its on the National in Canada, or if it is discussed on CBC Radio, it is an actual Canadian event. If its in the National Post, on Global TV, C-Span, CityTV or any newspaper besides the Toronto Star, then whatever the subject might be, the subject is only a candidate for consideration as a Canadian event. Watch how the aforementioned story develops after the Liberal government finally (in direct contravention of its own Marxist francophone, anti-Semitic, multicultural ideology) outlaws Hezbollah
In a meeting in Beirut on Tuesday, members of the Lebanese foreign ministry reportedly told Canadian consular officials that outlawing Hezbollah was unjustified and “faulty”. Representatives also gave the Canadians a recording of a Nov. 29 speech by Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, who reportedly called for expanded terrorist attacks outside the Middle East.
Those remarks, originally reported in The Washington Times, played a major role in Canada’s decision to outlaw the group, but Mohammed Issa, Secretary General of Lebanon’s Foreign Ministry, said the speech was incorrectly translated.
Paul Martin, the freelance writer who reported the remarks, stands by his story and has filed a lawsuit against media outlets that have questioned his credibility.
This is the only thing that trumps the CBC when it comes to a Canadian story—coverage of a Canadian story in the mainstream American press. The Washington Times is not the Washington Post (even in the deluded world of Marxist francophone, anti-Semitic multiculturalists), but it does have the magic name Washington (tied with New York, Los Angeles and Chicago for Canadian “street cred”) in it. This polevaults its information into solid first place, well ahead of whatever Marxist francophone, anti-Semitic multiculturalism assessment of that same information the CBC and the Foreign Affairs ministry might have been incestuously swapping back and forth to that point. And, like the jilted Marxist francophone, anti-Semitic multicultural lover it, thus, became, left standing at the altar on the world stage by its own fellow foreign affairs Marxists
The CBC seems to be doing its utmost to whitewash one of the most dangerous terrorist organizations in the world. On Dec. 10, the federal government correctly (if belatedly) put Hezbollah on its list of banned terror groups. That night, CBC television ran a story implying Ottawa made this decision on the basis of possibly fabricated quotes attributed to Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s leader. Five days earlier, the National Post had excerpted a recent speech by Sheik Nasrallah in which he urged that suicide bombings “should be exported outside Palestine. I encourage Palestinians to take suicide bombings worldwide. Don’t be shy.” The same article noted a second speech in which the sheik declared: “We will act everywhere around the world” if the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem suffers damage.
The CBC correspondent, Neil Macdonald, claimed he could not find independent verification of these quotes, and concluded his report with a remark that implied Hezbollah might actually be a “national liberation movement” unfairly smeared by “supporters” of the Jewish state. Ottawa’s decision could be a mistake, he suggested, because “to a great many people in this part of the world, to label Hezbollah a terrorist organization is to choose sides in the defining conflict of the Middle East, an intensely political decision for any government”.
Here, of course, the Marxist CBC is chastising its Marxist governmental master for betraying the ideological centerpiece of 21st century Marxism: stay on the fence. Don’t take sides. The Marxist Big Tent can encompass every Canadian and American suburbanite as well as Muslim terrorists if we can all just avoid drawing distinctions. “Choosing sides” between Hezbollah and Israel is, implicitly, the unwisest of choices. Likewise “a political decision”. Mr. Macdonald and his government appointed handlers are, incestuously, reminding the higher-ups that they didn’t get to a point of absolute control over the thinking of 22 million Marxists by making decisions, least of all political decisions. The rarified Marxist air is too much for the National Post which retreats to a breath of factual fresh air:
Sheik Nasrallah’s Iranian-funded, Syrian-backed organization has an extensive terrorist history in several countries. Moreover, the organization is perfectly up-front about its goal: the slaughter of Jews, the destruction of Israel and the creation of an Islamist dictatorship on its ashes.
The CBC’s suggestion that there is a debate among informed observers as to Hezbollah’s status applies only to Arabists who choose to willfully ignore the group’s blood-soaked dossier. Hezbollah was responsible for, among other outrages, the suicide bombing on the U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon in 1983 (241 murdered), the 1984 destruction of the U.S. embassy in Beirut, the kidnapping of westerners (including the CIA’s Beirut bureau chief, who was personally tortured to death by Hezbollah’s “security director”) and the 1985 hijacking of TWA Flight 847. The group is also believed responsible for the bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish cultural centre (85 dead) and the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia (19 dead, 370 wounded).
And yet the CBC tells us that the decision to apply the terrorist label to such a group is intensely political.
The story gets more appalling from there. A news item followed on 27 December:
A British journalist is suing the CBC and Toronto Star for defamation after the news outlets reported that he fabricated an article about the leader of the terrorist group Hezbollah.
The legal action is in response to what the law firm Chipeur Advocates called “an attack on Mr. Martin’s character” by the taxpayer-funded broadcaster and Toronto’s largest local newspaper.
Writing in the Washington Times two weeks ago, Mr. Martin quoted Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah terrorist leader, as threatening global suicide attacks. The CBC subsequently reported that the comments were probably fabricated.
However, the U.S. university professor who analyzed the sheik’s Arab-language speeches and provided the translations to Mr. Martin said Mr. Martin was correct.
Note that Neil Macdonald is quoted in the earlier piece as saying that he was unable to find independent verification of the quotes ascribed to Mr. Martin and had concluded that they were therefore “probably” fabricated. This sort of stuff works in the parochial world of Canadian journalism when the Marxist government television network is swapping journalistic spit with its Marxist government mandarins and deciding which Canadian story du jour shall rise to prominence and which Canadian story du jour is being cast upon the ash-heap of multiculturalism history. It is another thing in the world of real journalism, where one must actively verify one’s facts before declaring someone else’s quotes “probably fabricated”. The fact that the Lebanese foreign ministry steps in with a tape (note: a tape. No guarantee it is the tape) as a way of saying, Just between us Marxists, this might help you with your journalistic spit problem—hey! Let’s all obfuscate the self-evident truth—should have been a red flag (pun intended) that our own foreign ministry was seriously “off the rails” in terms of the minimal, accurate perception of reality which is expected of any democracy.
Why would an at least ostensible democracy like Canada drag its feet so badly on the question of Hezbollah? The answer is the French Connection (as it usually is when you’re looking for the Marxist source of Canada’s problems). One of the innovations that Brian Mulroney perpetrated upon this country when he was Prime Minister—good Quebecois appeaser that he is—was to enroll Canada in the Francophonie, an organization of French and French residue states. As the National Post editorialized (“Coddling Hezbollah” 1 November 02):
At last month’s Francophonie summit in Beirut, Jean Chrétien found himself on the same guest list as Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. But the PM saw no reason to treat the man—whose group has killed about 370 Americans—as anything other than a run-of-the-mill dignitary. When asked if he had a problem with Nasrallah’s presence, the PM signaled he really had no idea who the guy was—and that he didn’t particularly care in any event. “You know we were in a country. So they invite people,” he told reporters. “We’re civilized. You know, I’m not asking passports and CVs of anybody. So I look at them and if they shake hand, I shake hand.”
In the Marxist world, the preeminent consideration is always to obfuscate facts with banality and to subsume important considerations (a Western democracy tacitly aligning itself with a terrorist leader) to the lowest common denominator of banality (“if they shake hand, I shake hand”).
Which brings us back to Prime Minister Chrétien. Lest you think that I am being hyperbolic in my criticisms of Canada as a Marxist state, it is worth examining the words and behaviour of the Prime Minister on the occasion of the first anniversary of the terrible events of 11 September. In collusion with Pravda—excuse me, the CBC—the Prime Minister arranged to be interviewed and the tape aired on the anniversary. When his words raised a dust-storm of controversy over whether he had or had not singled out America for blame in the attacks, the PMO released a transcript of the interview. In the interests of multicultural fairness, here is that transcript as printed in the Globe & Mail. If my American readers think George W. Bush has his problems with the English language, well, read on:
Peter Mansbridge: By the end of the day [Sept. 11, 2001], what were you thinking about in terms of how the world had changed?
Prime Minister Chrétien: But I’ve said that it is a division in the world that is building up. And I knew that it was the inspiration of it. For me, I think that the rest of the world is a bit too selfish, and that there is a lot of resentment. I felt it when I dealt with the African file for the Summit of the G8. You know, the poor, relatively, get poorer all the time. And the rich are getting richer all the time. You know, now we see the abuse of the system with problems in the United States at this moment with the corporate world, you know. When you think that, you know, you have to let go somebody in the Cabinet because perhaps relatively very minor things…of guidelines. And there was billions of dollars that were basically stolen from the shareholders. And we have to, you know, solving the problems when you read history. Everybody don’t know when to stop. There is a moment, you know, when you have to stop. There is a moment when you have very powerful [inaudible].
I said that in New York, one day. I said, you know, talking—it was Wall Street, and it was a crowd of capitalists, of course—and they were complaining because we have a normal relation with Cuba, and this and that, and, you know, “We cannot do everything we want.” And I said…if I recall, it was probably these words: “When you’re powerful like you are, you guys, is the time to be nice.” And its one of the problems. You know you cannot exercise your powers to the point of humiliation for others. And that is what the Western world—not only the Americans—the Western world has to realize, because they are human beings, too. And there are long-term consequences—if you don’t look hard at the reality—in 10 or 20, or 30 years from now. And I do think that the Western world is going to be too rich in relation to the poor world. And necessarily, you know, we look upon us being arrogant, self-satisfying, greedy and with no limits. And the 11th of September is an occasion for me to realize that it’s even more.
[A short digression: It is, I think, revelatory of the peculiar Marxist thrall which the CBC—and its incestuous relationship with the Liberal government—holds over most of this country that in the newspaper coverage of the interview, much was made of—as the Globe & Mail described it in their coverage—that “most embarrassing of moments…Sitting down with veteran CBC anchor Peter Mansbridge, the Prime Minister said, ‘Hello, Mr. Mac…Mr. Mac…Monsieur Animateur.’ (French for ‘anchor’ or ‘host’).” At one level, it would be as if President Bush sat down for an interview with Dan Rather and called him “Don…Don…Mr. Anchorman.” The sophomoric political ineptitude exhibited would be equally noteworthy. But there is, I think, an even more pernicious Canadian quality to the faux pas and the reaction to it. As well-trained Marxists, the masses of CBC Liberals take it as an article of faith that in the upper reaches, the rarified air at the summit of Canadian Marxism, the anchor of the nightly CBC newscast and the Prime Minister of Canada must, at a fundamental Marxist Canadian level, be close personal friends sharing as they do the day-in, day-out custodianship of Canadian reality. The Prime Minister acts and the CBC anchor explains it to the masses/workers in CBCSpeak. To draw a structural analogy from the other end of the totalitarian spectrum, it was as if Adolf Hitler had forgotten Josef Goebbels’ name. You could feel the trauma to the collectivist Marxist psyche of the CBC Liberal body politic rippling through the country for days afterward. Terrifically amusing if you happen to share my sense of humour.]
There were a number of succinct observations over the next couple of days. Robert Fulford wrote, seizing on the misguided notion of informing our greatest ally that America was “exercise[ing] your powers to the point of humiliation for others”:
The word humiliation has many uses and many meanings (Chrétien made me feel it this week, to take one example)…
…Is the West, then, too rich? And if it is, how would it go about becoming otherwise? How rich is too rich? Chrétien himself must be, in personal worth, richer than 95% of the global population. Is that too rich? Should he give away, say, half his money to a farmer in Ecuador? Should Canada vastly increase foreign aid? Chrétien, given his parliamentary majorities, has been in a position to do that since 1993. He has not done it…
…It’s appalling to think he’s spent four decades in public affairs without learning how to formulate a few thoughts on matters he claims to care about.
Fulford asks fundamental, basic, structural questions which no Marxist is capable of answering and which all Marxists must, necessarily, evade. Stockwell Day, the Canadian Alliance foreign affairs critic, seemed to strike the proper note by observing that terrorism is “a matter of hatred,” not poverty. “These people wanted to see Americans dead. They wanted to see Jewish people dead. And if we ever let that suggestion be out there that there can be any kind of moral equivalency on this issue, we introduce a noxious and toxic influence into international relations.”
The government was unrelenting. Allan Rock, the Industry Minister, defended Mr. Chrétien, releasing a statement calling on “responsible leaders” to “ask themselves some hard questions. Questions about whether the exercise of foreign policy has been just. Or whether the concentration of power and wealth in the hands of a few serves to abandon the less fortunate to the despair, resentment and hatred which fuels extremism. To ask these questions is not to search for excuses. It is to search for solutions.” At Mr. Rock’s behest, I asked myself his questions. a) I think the U.S. foreign policy has been Very Just. Unimaginably Just. “Shining Beacon” Just. b) if Mr. Rock thinks he has too much power and wealth, he—like every other Westerner—is welcome to give them to someone else he considers to be more deserving c) the Muslims who launched the attacks of 11 September “despair” only that there are any Jews or any Americans still alive in the world. I would rule out mass killings of Jews and Americans as an unacceptable means of assuaging the resentment and hatred which is the actual fuel of Muslim extremism.
The Prime Minister persisted in his fractured and fatuous Marxist incoherencies:
“Very often terrorism is coming out of poverty. It is a reality that has to be faced and I am happy I mentioned that. Some might disagree, but the critics and politics are there to criticize.” “When you have economic growth in a society, when you have social justice and good institutions, you don’t have those problems.” “[Osama bin Laden] uses poverty to engender hate. These people, who are fanatics, use the people who are products of poverty.”
The following week, the Prime Minister went to New York to address a United Nations debate on African development and continued to spout the same brand of platitudinous Marxist incoherencies:
“It is profoundly in our self-interest from the point of view of our own security [to expand aid to Africa]. We have seen right here in New York the tragic consequences that can result from failed states in faraway places.”
You can read that observation as deeply as you want, you are not going to find anything resembling a coherent thought anywhere within it. We must send aid to Africa or…what? Thugs from Sierra Leone are apt to fly passenger airplanes into the Empire State Building? And it would serve us right if they did?
Fifteen of the 19 hijackers who carried out the Sept. 11 attacks were from Saudi Arabia, a Western ally. When asked about which states he had in mind when he referred to “failed states,” he did not mention it, but focused on Afghanistan, where bin Laden established al-Qaeda bases and trained terrorists.
“It has been taken over by fanaticism,” Mr. Chrétien said. “There were no institutions. Look at the role of the woman in that society. Young girls could not go to school. This creates a situation [that is] completely unacceptable, and we have a collective responsibility to play a role there.”
Inevitably Marxist incoherencies spill over into those feminist incoherencies which Marxism spawned. But that’s a discussion I’m reserving for next issue and the conclusion of “Why Canada Slept”.
Mr. Chrétien’s analysis is at odds with reasons offered by Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary-General, for international terrorism. In a March speech, Mr. Annan said terrorism’s roots lie in a complicated maze of problems that touch on poverty, but include bad government and corruption among politicians.
“The poor have enough problems without being considered likely terrorists just because they are poor,” he told foreign policy experts at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.
This I found revealing. Kofi Annan is, today, certainly as much of a Marxist as anyone else you would care to name—it’s hard to imagine anyone without Marxist sympathies and credentials garnering enough international support to achieve the post of Secretary-General of the UN (Henry Kissinger, as an example, despite his proven credentials on the international stage, would never be considered as a viable candidate because none of his credentials are Marxist). But Mr. Annan, unlike our Prime Minister, has at least recognized the necessity of a strategic retreat from knee-jerk enunciations which attribute all of the world’s problems to the oppression of the poor/workers by the wealthy/capitalists. “A complicated maze of problems” is certainly “on message” for Marxists in the twenty-first century, allowing them (thereby) to fence-sit on every imaginable issue as they contemplate the intricacies of Mr. Annan’s “complicated maze of problems,” their lack of a definitive Marxist viewpoint on any given problem being viewed by themselves—at least so far—not as self-evident intellectual bankruptcy but, rather, illustrating for themselves and each other just how universally inclusive the Big Tent of Twenty-first century Marxism can be. That is, so long as everyone stays sitting on every societal, philosophical and intellectual fence in sight and no one makes the mistake of holding an actual opinion on anything that Big Tent can effectively encompass all viewpoints no matter how contradictory or diametrically opposed they may be.
Anyway, it was left to Marie-Josée Kravis—in a factual and thoughtful Wall Street Journal piece (again, American media superseding all parochial Canadian navel-gazing)—to enunciate what I consider the definitive “last word” on the Prime Minister’s disgraceful and lunatic posturings of last September:
Why is Jean Chrétien so intent on finding a justification for terrorism?
Canada’s Prime Minister used the Sept. 11 anniversary to suggest that Western arrogance may have contributed to the terrorist attack. Referring to the U.S., he stated that “you cannot exercise power to the point of humiliation for the others.” If that were not sufficiently disturbing, a few days later, at the UN, he reiterated his belief in a correlation between poverty and terrorism, claiming that the gap between rich and poor nations was fodder for future acts of terrorism.
Mr. Chrétien ignores the history of his own, and my, country. Thirty years ago, Québécois terrorists [the FLQ, la Front de Libération du Québéc], clamoring for a break-up of Canada, blew up mailboxes, kidnapped a British diplomat [James Cross] and killed a provincial cabinet minister [Pierre Laporte]. They were rising against Anglo domination and pleaded that they were “the white Negroes of America.” Pierre Trudeau, then prime minister, was not duped. The terrorists were thugs, not victims, and he, a former civil-rights lawyer, responded by invoking the War Measures Act, sending the federal army into Québec, suspending many individual rights and giving the police sweeping powers to search and arrest. When asked by an indignant press how far he might go to suppress terrorism his answer was, “[Just] watch me.”
Mr. Chrétien was a member of the Trudeau cabinet at that time, but he seems to have forgotten that it was Trudeau’s resolve that restored order and deterred future terrorist incidents. Trudeau understood that terrorists fight against “what we are, not what we do,”[and, I would add, “not what we own”] and that no form of political accommodation could assuage their furor.
Impervious to Trudeau’s grasp of order and justice, Mr. Chrétien nonetheless was deeply influenced by his boss’ espousal of neo-Malthusian [Thomas Malthus, who theorized that population tends to increase at a faster rate than its means of subsistence and that, unless it is checked by moral restraint or by disease, famine, war, or other disaster, widespread poverty and degradation inevitably result] beliefs made fashionable by the Club of Rome in the mid-1970s. These views, long since refuted, held that physical limits to growth, notably resource depletion, would jeopardize the sustainability of economic growth. It followed that if the world was indeed a “finite pie,” rapid growth in one region would dim the prospects of another. One country’s wealth would portend another’s poverty.
Within countries, such a thesis argued for more government intervention to allocate resources and redistribute wealth. In Canada, the National Energy Program was implemented giving the federal government increased power to regulate and even nationalize oil and gas resources. Interestingly, in light of the controversy generated by such a plan, Mr. Chrétien became energy minister and was given the thankless task of calming discontent in oil producing provinces.
Government activism was not limited to the energy sector. Canada was seduced by ideas of income and wealth redistribution and taxes increased, regulation flourished, economic nationalism thrived, unemployment increased and productivity growth declined. Many of these ill-fated policies were reversed in later years, but Mr. Chrétien’s Liberal party continues to see vigorous economic growth and income redistribution as conflicting rather than symbiotic goals…neo-Malthusianism continues to blind him to the fact that sustained growth will help poor countries more than misplaced pity for terrorists.
Mr. Chrétien, under pressure from his own political party, has announced his decision to leave politics in the next 18 months. His legacy will be meager and he is searching for a noble cause to embellish an otherwise mediocre stewardship. That he has chosen the plight of the poor is commendable. That he has linked them to terrorism is insulting and wrong.
Arguably (and it is the point that I am arguing) Malthus’ theories were not only a precursor of Karl Marx’s but also facilitated the widespread acceptance of Marxism as a viable viewpoint among the intellectual “chattering classes” of the early twentieth century. If one took it as a given that population would increase in such a way as to deplete the available resources, this led to two inevitable extrapolations: 1) those consuming more than their “fair share” (i.e. capitalists) were implicitly hastening the point of depletion and thus jeopardizing the security of those who limited their consumption to their “fair share” and 2) given that capitalists would not voluntarily suppress their “excessive consumption” nor redistribute their “unfair share” of resources voluntarily, there was an implicit need for an entity which could impose the accomplishment of both tasks: i.e. government (by edict or legislation) and the acceptance of a police state in the interim while the authorities set about the task of leveling everyone’s wealth to a predetermined and measurable “fair share” (the socialist state that Marx anticipated in this interim “leveling” period before a genuine communist state could be achieved). These two extrapolations had the implied benefit of appealing to both reason (“something must needs be done before it’s too late”) and emotion (“we must save our vanishing resources for our children and for our children’s children”). The residue of these Malthusian/Marxist misapprehensions—and misapprehensions they certainly are: the wealthier the society, the better maintained will be its environment, private property is always better maintained than state-owned properties—are believed today only in the lunatic fringe of the environmental movement.
If you examine the Prime Minister’s fractured English you realize that it is perfectly suited to the enunciation of what remains of Marxist theory in the Twenty-first Century for the simple reason that Marxist theory has always been both incoherent and platitudinous. All of his thoughts, you will notice, are unfinished but do, however haphazardly, strike all of the right emotion-based, victimized Marxist notes (“because they are human beings too”, “everybody don’t know when to stop”, “When you are powerful like you are, you guys, is the time to be nice”, “you cannot exercise your powers to the point that of humiliation for the others”, “and we have to, you know, solving the problems when you read history”). In the same interview, the Prime Minister attempted to quote Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “We have nothing to fear but fear itself” and it came out: “Fear of fear is a difficult thing.” This, to me, crosses the boundary of paraphrasing, and borders, instead—like most present-day Marxist sentiments—on the intellectually murderous.
You still think I’m exaggerating about Canada being a Marxist state. During the same week as the first anniversary of the 11 September attacks, Canada entertained Chi Haotian, China’s Defence Minister where he met with his Canadian counterpart, John McCallum (which would have constituted an acceptable—if somewhat jarring—example of internationalist dialogue), however he also met the Prime Minister, which brings us back into that “if they shake hand, I shake hand” Marxist territory of banality superseding what is actually taking place. Further, as the National Post editorialized (“Bad Company” 12 September 02):
Ottawa’s decision to give Gen. Chi an honour guard was a curious deployment of pageantry. Gen. Chi was the operational commander at the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989, where soldiers under his command mowed down masses of unarmed Chinese students protesting in support of democratic reforms. Echoing a widespread view among journalists and analysts, a reporter who chronicled the Tainanmen tragedy for Time magazine says Gen. Chi “bears the major responsibility for the violence.” Oddly none of this made it into the Canadian Ministry of National Defence’s press release announcing Gen. Chi’s visit. Nor does it figure in the biographical sketch of Gen. Chi released by the Ministry.
Gen. Chi has his own version of events at Tiananmen. He says the pro-democracy movement was the product of “a small minority of people with evil ambitions [who] instigated the turmoil and spread rumours to provoke the masses.” Tiananmen wasn’t about murdering students—rather, it was about putting down a revolt by rioting “hooligans.” During a visit to the United States in 1996, Gen. Chi declared: “I can tell you in a responsible and serious manner that at that time not a single person lost his life in Tiananmen Square.”
Actually, the Tiananmen Square death toll was about 3,000—more than were killed in both Palestinian intifadas combined. [and approximately the number of American civilians who were killed in the 11 September attack].
We see a comparison with the Middle East as apt because Gen. Chi’s Canadian tour coincided with that of another controversial visitor: [former Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin] Netanyahu. On Monday, a day before Gen. Chi inspected a Canadian honour guard and met Mr. Chrétien, the former Israeli PM was blocked from speaking in Montreal [emphasis mine] by a mob, as a thin detachment of riot police looked on from afar.
Eugene Chien, Taiwan’s Foreign Minister, provides another fitting counter-example. Taiwan is a prosperous democracy, like Canada and Israel—yet Ottawa gives short shrift to Taiwan’s diplomats out of deference to communist hardliners such as Gen. Chi, who see the island as a renegade province. Last week, Ottawa denied Mr. Chien entry to Canada because, according to government officials, his presence would be “inconvenient.”
Yes, standing up to dictators can be “inconvenient”—much as it would have been “inconvenient” for the police to keep a few hundred protesters from stripping Mr. Netanyahu of his right to speak freely. It’s no coincidence that ours is the same government that pepper-sprayed protesters at the APEC meetings five years ago rather than have Asian dictators be “inconvenienced” by the sight of dissent. Protecting freedom is hard, inconvenient work, but it also happens to be a fundamental duty of a Western democracy. What a disgrace that our leaders shirk it repeatedly.
I think it stretches credulity to the breaking point to regard as coincidence that this honouring of the Chinese Defence Minister took place the day before the first anniversary of the 11 September attacks. I believe it was an intentional provocation at a time when the U.S. State Department would be monitoring closely what was taking place in the various world capitals—both of its allies and its enemies. On the anniversary itself, the Prime Minister gave a speech in Gander, Nfld in which he observed
The families and the world were overturned that day in a painful experience for Canadians and people everywhere. It was a shock which has left us speechless and with a feeling of powerlessness for this inconceivable event. On our television screens we saw the dark side of human nature unleash itself savagely, showing itself in all its horror. Showing itself to a world which was overwhelmed. Now the world is trying to understand the attacks launched against Washington and the World Trade Center.
It is worth noting the Prime Minister’s actual response to 11 September as Barry Cooper, a professor of political science at the University of Calgary did (“Looking back on our timid response to 9/11”):
[After meeting with President Bush on 21 September] Chrétien was asked if he would like a tour of Ground Zero, the smoking wreck of the World Trade Center. He explained that he didn’t want to get in the way. He didn’t say he had to scuttle back to Toronto for the biggest Liberal fundraiser of the year, the Confederation Dinner. There he praised the “Canadian way,” which was to provide “support and comfort” for the whole world. To the credit of his audience, Chrétien was not interrupted by applause. Neither was there a minute of silence for the victims of terrorism, and the organizers saw no reason to play the U.S. national anthem.
Chrétien then claimed he did not go to New York because consular officials had confided that “they would appreciate it if we did not go.” Some of the Prime Minister’s more imaginative handlers said he stayed away because of respect for the dead. After several weeks of criticism for hanging back, Rudolph Giuliani, the mayor of New York, issued an invitation. This was gilding the absurdity.
As a Canadian I don’t think I was alone in wishing that 11 September had—as he claimed in his speech in Gander—left the Prime Minister speechless, given what he chose to say. After a year, I daresay it was only the insular Marxist world which the Prime Minister inhabits which is “trying to understand the attacks launched against Washington and the World Trade Center” as if those attacks were a part of Kofi Annan’s “complicated maze of problems” which make up our modern life instead of what the rest of the world recognized them to be within minutes—if not seconds—of the events themselves: an unacceptable assault upon the law-abiding by the homicidally criminal on an almost inconceivably grand scale. It beggars my imagination to conceive of anyone watching the attacks on television and thinking, “Hmmm. This is a very complicated and intricately nuanced situation. Who is right and who is wrong here?” And yet I and everyone like me has to accept that for a large percentage of the population—in whose number I think we can safely count Prime Minister Chrétien and the vast majority of his Liberal caucus—that was and is an approximation of their best thinking on the matter and that the ensuing year and a half or so has only served to solidify those views, that 11 September was a watershed moment of immense political ambiguity and, if anything, to compel them to believe what our Prime Minister believes, that the United States and its institutions, its citizens and their wealth have only themselves to blame for the attacks.
Like Marxism itself, Prime Minister Chrétien is an on-going conundrum, capable of reversing—and re-reversing—polarity on a nearly infinite number of issues practically on a daily basis. Just in the last year and a half Canadians have witnessed a prime minister who—like a good Marxist—denied any religious presence in the commemoration ceremony of those killed in the attacks of 11 September and yet, eight months later, witnessed that same prime minister visibly and audibly choking back tears as, with a tremulous voice, he welcomed Pope John Paul II to our country at Pearson Airport in July of 2002—having only grudgingly agreed to do so in the face of a public backlash when word leaked out that he intended to send a member of his Cabinet in his place. The aging pontiff watched him, imperturbably, as a long-buried, long-suppressed Catholic boy—the real “petit gar” the real “little guy from Shawinigan”—bubbled to the surface before our eyes and his. I’m sure it is nothing the present Servus servorum Dei hasn’t seen many, many times before in his quarter century as the Bishop of Rome in the presence of all species of officialdom, great and small, major and minor, Kings and Presidents, Prime Ministers, mayors, aldermen, Parliamentarians, legislators and bureaucrats of all political stripes across the variegated Marxist spectrum who—right up to the moment when they begin to vibrate and their eyes fill with tears and their throat begins to constrict—really believe that they “put all that behind them” decades before. As commonplace an experience as it was, self-evidently, to Pope John Paul II that was as comparably astonishing as it had been to me—and I’m sure many other Canadians—for whom Jean Chrétien has been a scrupulously secular humanist fixture in the Canadian public firmament for as long as most of us have been alive.
In one of his many year-end interviews in 2002, Mr. Chrétien observed, “I believe there is a God who has a great interest in your destiny. And He’s helping you to achieve your destiny. You know why I did not die earlier? Why I am still very healthy? It’s because God decided that, and this is my belief. And it’s helping me to do the job.”
Curiouser and curiouser.
Having just that sort of faith in predestination and in God’s preeminence in human affairs, what on earth made the Prime Minister think that his Creator had no place in the ceremony honouring the memory of those who lost their lives on 11 September? Or was his observation of December 2002 informed by a re-awakening of his faith, a faith which had lain dormant until the presence of John Paul II brought it—in that airline hangar at Pearson International Airport—clearly and dramatically to the surface?
I find it hard to disagree with the sentiments expressed. Quite apart from the Prime Minister’s health he has certainly been granted—through the convoluted path of Canada’s parliamentary evolution (or, in my view, devolution) over the past three decades—as close to absolute power as one could conceivably imagine in a Western democracy in a country of Canada’s size and prosperity. Liberal political strategist John Duffy succinctly explained one of the major points of departure where Canadian parliamentary democracy first broke from the Westminster model on which it was patterned (“A check on the PM’s power” National Post 4 June 02):
Historically Canada’s Parliament held in check the power of the PM by the same mechanism as did Britain’s: the ability of the caucus and Cabinet to rise up and dump a leader whose time had come and gone. The system functioned effectively—more by threatening wayward PMs than by actually doing them in—until the Diefenbaker Cabinet’s mutiny of 1962-63. The Chief [Diefenbaker’s nickname was “Dief the Chief”] frustrated the mutiny mainly by ignoring it, and suddenly, Canada was without any mechanism of removing a leader between elections. Conservatives in 1966 devised a new mechanism, the system of party leadership review that was put in place to dump Dief and subsequently caught on with other parties.
It was this leadership review—as adopted by the Liberals—which the Prime Minister knew he had no way of surviving, except by resigning sixteen months ahead of time. With a leadership convention scheduled for November, the Liberal party has half-heartedly tried—in good wishy-washy liberal fashion—to fight back. Which has set the stage for some good old-fashioned Canadian-style comedy when, for four months between November of 2003 and February of 2004, the Liberal Party will have two leaders and the country will have two sitting Prime Ministers. I picture Mr. Chrétien and his presumptive heir, Paul Martin jammed—side-by-side, like Jackie Gleason and Art Carney—in the front doorway of 24 Sussex Drive.
The Prime Minister of Canada has the power to appoint Canada’s Supreme Court Justices, traditionally in consultation with his Justice Minister, the ministry itself and legal minds across the country but—as can be seen by how easily the Westminster policy on forcing the resignation of a party’s own leader by caucus was dispensed with—tradition is becoming less and less of a viable force in maintaining “fair play” in the higher echelons of Canada’s government. The role of the Parliamentary committees and of Parliament itself has been drastically curtailed to the extent that they are virtually powerless against the chosen course of action of the occupant of the PMO. There was a recent instance where the Liberal chairman of a parliamentary committee was slipped a note telling him to get into the Commons chamber as quickly as he could because the Government was pulling an unannounced volte face and forcing a vote on the very issue his committee was at that very moment meeting to consider. The Prime Minister signs the nomination papers for every member of his party to run for office in their respective ridings. He has the power to override the democratically arrived at will of the party members in those ridings and “airlift” his own chosen candidate into those ridings where he chooses to do so. By just this means, Jean Chrétien, over the last several elections, has dramatically escalated the number of female Liberal candidates by overriding the nominations of male candidates and not requiring the females to compete in the elections for nomination. This again, is the spillover of Marxism into feminism and a subject for next issue’s concluding installment.
Apart from his health and the astonishing and prodigious near-dictatorial political powers at his sole command, the Prime Minister has also been blessed with a completely fractured and fragmented conservative opposition, so diametrically at odds with itself in its two present incarnations, the Progressive Conservatives and the Canadian Alliance…
[The addition of “Progressive” to the Conservative “brand” in the last century speaks volumes about the Marxist permeation of Canadian politics. Can you imagine any circumstance in heaven or earth that would have compelled the party of Lincoln to rechristen themselves The Progressive Republicans?]
…that it seems clear that Canada can expect the largely unopposed election of Liberal majority governments for the foreseeable future. Even with the deplorable state of the Liberal government and Mr. Chrétien’s deplorable choices since 11 September, Gallup polls still regularly inform us that if an election were held tomorrow (any tomorrow) Mr. Chrétien—with the able assistance of millions upon millions of CBC Liberals who tune in every weeknight to hear Peter Mansbridge tell them the latest spin on the latest bit of CBCSpeak—would sweep to a fourth consecutive majority government without breaking a sweat. Likewise with his presumptive successor, Paul Martin.
I suspect that God did very much intend this, that He intends to use her Majesty’s Dominion of Canada, the Liberal party and the absolute powers of the PMO to show just exactly what happens when a democracy that should know better refuses, for decades and decades, to let go of Karl Marx.
I don’t envy us His hard lesson that, I suspect, we are already being made to learn.
(30 April 02) Canada is one of the only developed countries in the world that allows foreigner working at embassies abroad to select immigrants and issue visas.
The U.S. also employs locals in its foreign missions but only American foreign service officers can adjudicate and sign off on visas, said Kelly Shannon, U.S. State department official.
(1 June 02) A few days after suicide terrorists rammed loaded passenger planes into the World Trade Center, Jean Chrétien stood in the House of Commons to make a remarkable statement. “I am not aware at this time,” the Prime Minister said, “of a cell known to the police to be operating in Canada with the intention of carrying out terrorism in Canada or elsewhere.”
It was a confounding pronouncement, because Canada’s intelligence, police and immigration services had been warning the government for years that the world’s major terrorist groups had all established offshore bases in Canadian cities, and that they were using Canada as a staging ground for political and religious violence around the world.” (from “Blood Money: International Terrorist Fundraising in Canada,” by Stewart Bell, a chapter in Canada Among Nations 2002: A Fading Power)
(undated) John Manley, Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister, revealed this week that 72% of Canada’s refugee claimants this year arrived from the United Sates, not from the countries that they originally fled. This is an astounding statistic, but the Prime Minister’s response to House of Commons questions about it was equally extraordinary. He told MPs that even though the claimants were coming from the United States that “does not mean that they were in a safe haven.” If the global beacon of freedom and democracy is not a safe haven, what country is? (editorial)
(15 October 02) Sheila Fraser, the Auditor-General, disclosed last week that the federal government has issues five million more social insurance numbers (SINs) than there are Canadians old enough to need one. This is the second time an auditor-gneral has recently warned against the practice: In 1998, Ms. Fraser’s predecessor, Denis Desautels, reported the existence of nearly four million extra SINs in circulation. Not even the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, have prompted the Human Resources Department to be more stringent.
SINs are vital to those who seek to acquire false identification. Bogus driver’s licences, airport security passes, visas and passports, among other documents, can all be acquired using SINs. Ottawa’s laxity in issuing them—more than 200 new ones were sent to a single address last year—make it easy for criminals and terrorists to produce counterfeit Ids to bypass security checkpoints and evade law enforcement.
(undated) In October 2002, Denis Coderre, the Minister of Immigration, introduced immigration regulations that many Americans would interpret as an offensive gesture of Canadian moral superiority. The regulations allow individuals in the United States charged or convicted of an offence punishable by death to enter Canada if they show up at the border. This is almost like saying if there are terrorists on the run in the United States—head for the Canadian border, we will let you in.
U.S. authorities recently reported there are 78,000 illegal aliens residing in the United States from countries that are of a security concern. Since the new rules require these people to register with immigration authorities, many thousands of them will be heading for Canada rather than returning home. Hundreds have already entered or are lining up at the border seeking to come into Canada as asylum seekers. Since we cannot turn away anyone who claims to be persecuted, all those who apply will be admitted. (James Bissett, former head of the Canadian Immigration Service 1985-90)
(7 November 02) I think we are all entitled to a little cynicism about politicians. Credibility was, however, stretched beyond its limits by Tuesday’s performance in the House of Commons by John McCallum, Minister of National Defence; Art Eggleton, a former defence minister; and David Pratt, the current chair of the standing committee on national defence and veteran affairs. All three rose in their places to vote against a motion calling on the government to allocate some additional spending for Canada’s national defence.
The resolution did not include any particular dollar figure and was more a general statement of intention. Its passage would not have been a threat to the existing budget.
Notwithstanding that Mr. McCallum himself recently called for just such an increase in spending, while Mr. Pratt’s committee is on record as calling for significant increased spending on the Forces, both members rose like trained seals to vote with the government, as did Mr. Eggleton.
I had hoped these three might have afforded their public support for the men and women Canada regularly sends in harm’s way. (Colonel W.J. McCullough/retired - letter to the editor)
(undated) Philippe Kirsch, the Canadian diplomat and legal expert who chaired the Rome conference that set up the International Criminal Court in 1998, was finally elected as an ICC judge yesterday on the third ballot.
The procedure was so weighed down by political correctness and international equal opportunity that Western candidates had to wait until numerous quotas were filled, ensuring the election of a minimum number of women and Third World candidates.
Although delegates could pick up to 18 of the 43 candidates, they were required to vote for at least six men and six women. That put the 10 female candidates in a much stronger position than the 33 men.
Countries had to vote for at least three of the 10 African candidates, two of the six candidates from Asia, two of the seven from Eastern Europe, three of the eight from Latin America or the Caribbean, and just three of the 12 from a weighty group that included Western Europe and Canada.
To be elected, candidates needed a two-thirds majority. Only the top seven candidates reached the threshold of 56—and six of them were women.
(15 November 02) In his report, U.S. and Canadian Immigration Policies: Marching Together to Different Tunes, Peter Rekai, a Toronto lawyer specializing in immigration says: “One past the post at a Canadian port of entry, a visitor is basically off the radar screen for tracking purposes. There is no record of the length of stay or of any departure from the country.” One example: Between July, 2001, and February, 2002, Citizenship and Immigration Canada lost track of 118 Tunisians who entered Canada as foreign students. For official purposes, the group simply disappeared.
(20 November 02) David Rudd, president and executive director of the Canadian Institute of Strategic Studies…said the air force used all its bombs in Kosovo three years ago and that an order for new ones had only been placed on Oct. 31.
“But I’ve no idea how long it is going to be before they are in service.
“There is also the very, very nagging problem of insecure communications. The Americans almost asked us to go home in Kosovo because of the problem. The Americans don’t want Iraq listening to our communications. It will be 2007 before we have secure communications. That alone, in my view, disqualifies the air force from service.”
(26 November 02) Canada…is a country in which it is a very serious offence for a farmer to sell butter or eggs without permission or for a radio station to play the songs its listeners most want to hear. Canada is a country in which the governments decided which medical treatments will be provided, and where, and when—and in which it is a serious offence for a doctor to provide treatments other than those offered by the state.
It’s illegal for a wheat farmer to sell his wheat to the highest bidder, for a landlord in Toronto and other major cities to charge the market price for his apartments, or (in many provinces) for anyone other than the government to sell liquor or wine, and illegal for American Airlines to fly passengers from Toronto to Vancouver.
It is illegal for a nonCanadian to open a bookstore in this country or buy ownership of a newspaper. It is almost impossible for a Canadian to watch Fox News or HBO or MTV without breaking the law. It is illegal for an 18-year old actress to appear in a beer commercial, illegal for a cigarette company to put a picture of its product anywhere at all, illegal for a yineyard to put up a billboard with the truthful message: “Wine in moderation has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease: Enjoy a glass with dinner tonight.” (David Frum)
(3 December 02) A Liberal caucus task force on Canada-U.S. relations has ground to a halt and missed its deadline for reporting to the Prime Minister because it did not receive the funding promised when it was launched last spring, its chairman says.
Jean Chrétien announced the Task Force on Canada-United States Relations with great fanfare last May and gave it a mandate to advise him on how to “strengthen co-operation and resolve disagreements through dialogue.”
But members say their request for a $400,000 budget was never approved by the Prime Minister’s Office. The money is needed so the task force can hold hearings with American legislators on how to strengthen political and economic ties between the two nations, the task force’s chairman said yesterday.
(December 02) Canadians have been kept in the dark about the skyrocketing costs of the government’s $1-billion gun registration system, which has run to hundreds of times the initial estimate of $2 million, Sheila Fraser, the Auditor-General, reported yesterday.
(20 January 03) At least five Pakistani nuclear scientists, who have since emigrated and who could be developing nuclear weapons in what the United States deems rogue states, were trained by Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. and worked on reactors in this country.
(4 February 03) As reported in last Wednesday’s Post, Canadian aid officials met secretly last March to discuss whether some of their overseas projects put them in violation of Ottawa’s new Anti-terrorism Act, which makes it a crime to fund terrorist groups. They are right to worry. Whether directly or indirectly, Ottawa has likely been funding terrorists for years. Federal aid departments, particularly the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), have time and again failed to adequately scrutinize the group they collaborate with in world hotspots, especially the Middle East.
Recently disclosed evidence shows that for almost a decade CIDA sent money to a charity run by Ahmed Khadr, an al-Qaeda agent implicated in the 1995 bombing of the Egyptian embassy in Pakistan. (editorial)
(10 February 03) [Philadelphia-based scholar and historian Daniel Pipes, describing his treatment in advance of giving a speech at Toronto’s York University arguing that Middle East peace depends on Arab acceptance of Israel, as related by columnist George Jonas] “Several bodyguards took me through a back entrance to the gym and sequestered me in a holding room until I entered the gym,” he wrote in this newspaper. “But surely the most memorable aspect of this talk was the briefing by James Hogan, a detective in the Hate Crime Unit of the Toronto Police Service, to make sure I was aware that Canada’s Criminal Code makes a variety of public statements actionable, including advocating genocide and promoting hatred of a specific group.”
The sheer audacity of this takes one’s breath away. Cops lecturing a scholar on the law against hate crimes before letting him into an auditorium is like cops lecturing a shopper on the law against shoplifting before letting him into a department store. It would be mind-boggling even if it were done as a matter of routine—but what makes it worse is that it’s done selectively. Such a demeaning, officious insult is offered these days only to a speaker perceived to be on Israel’s side in the Mideast conflict. By subjecting Dr. Pipes to Det. Hogan’s briefing, for no other conceivable reason than that he’s a scholar of Jewish background with pro-Israeli views, it was the Toronto Police that came closest to committing a hate crime that day.