I am The Consensus

The Consensus has spoken

We have a reputation to maintain

When I’m traveling outside of my country and I speak to people, they quickly hear the accent and ask “Are you Toronto, CanadaAmerican?” and I quickly respond “No I’m from Canada“. The reaction is almost always warm and welcoming then. “Great country” or “Oh I love Canada” are common responses. They quickly recognize the fact that Canada is one of the “good” countries. A country that opposes war, believes in peace-keeping, sending aid, and is a fair arbiter of justice.

We’ve built this reputation over the years. With open arms we took in thousands of Americans that opposed the Vietnam war due to conscientious reasons in the 60’s and 70’s that wanted no part in it. We have all the civil liberties and rights that Americans have (plus perhaps more) without the massive military arsenal.

We’d rather our government spend our tax dollars on universal healthcare than on building up our national muscle. We tend to (for the most part) mind our own business and take a moral and neutral stance on issues, and strongly believe in keeping peace rather than waging wars. That is Canada’s history and that’s the reputation we’ve built for ourselves. Peace-keeping has become Canada’s symbol. A neutral nation in a world of chaos. So it’s really no surprise to me when I’m greeted warmly by a foreigner when I tell him I’m Canadian.

I must confess, I do say it with a sense of pride and think to myself “Ok, now praise my country”, and that’s what usually follows… Praise.

However, I can’t help but feel that this great reputation that we have built for ourselves is in jeopardy. The current government of Canada has started building quite a notorious name for itself.

There are various reasons why this great country’s reputation can and is being tarnished under this administration in the international arena. I’m just going to mention a few recent ones that should still be fresh in our minds.

In doing so, my aim is make the general Canadian public realize what we were and what we are today, and where we’re headed.  This is not the Canadian Identity.

Recent actions (or inaction) from the minority conservative government that should make us sit up and re-think…

(1) Refusal to take part in the recent UN conference on Racism in Geneva.

(2) Banning British MP George Galloway from speaking and entering Canada. An outright attack on our civil liberties. Even the US allows Galloway to travel and speak freely within, and in the UK Mr. Galloway serves as an MP.

(3) Refusal to let the Iraq war resisters stay in Canada. US troops that were opposed to Iraq war due to conscientious reasons fled up here to escape a jail sentence in the US, and Mr. Harper is having them deported back to the US where they face not only persecution but a jail sentence along with a criminal record. This runs completely contrary to how we had acted in the 60’s and 70’s when we let the Vietnam war resisters stay. The Canadian House of Commons passed a motion recently, urging the minority conservative government of Stephen Harper to immediately cease these deportations and to allow these war resisters to stay. 64% of Canadians want the war resisters to be allowed to stay. These deportations are undemocratic. Take Action…

(4) Refusal to seek extradition or repatriation of Canadian Omar Khadr, who has been held in Guantanamo for the past 6 years. Despite Amnesty International, UNICEF, and many other renowned organizations’ pleas for repatriation, the Harper government has maintained its stance and been completely passive on the issue. Earlier this month, the Federal Court of Canada has ruled that it is obligatory for the government to immediately demand Khadr’s return under Internation Law.

(5) Refusal to condemn Israel’s military attack on Gaza. Canada was the only nation, out of 47 on the United Nations human rights panel that refused to condemn Israel’s assault on Gaza earlier this year which resulted 1,400 deaths and even more injuries. Canada opposed the motion which called for both sides to show restraint and that investigation into human rights violations by Israeli forces be followed. Canada has mostly sided with Israel and the US on the Israel/Palestine conflict, but this support has become even more pronounced under the Harper government.

Seeing as how Canada in the past has acted to protect civilians in conflict zones, it is quite shocking that we refused to call for an immediate ceasefire this time around when 900 people (at that time) had been killed and the battle was still waging on.

I think that’s all for now… This list is by no means exhaustive.

But my point was that this current government is beginning to push Canada to act more like a bully than the peace-loving, fair-minded, neutral country that we have been and ought to be.

It is time for Canada to step out of this imperialist shadow and once again lead the world and regain our title as the peace-keepers! If not for us, then at least have sympathy for the poor American that’s living or traveling abroad and tells people he is Canadian in order to avoid persecution when confronted about his nationality. Are we going to take that away from him too?

April 29, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment