Monday, July 03, 2006

Conservative Voice has blogged an over-the top encomium to Canada to which I take exception. Here is the link and my reply.

Don’t thank us for what we ought to be doing. The war is not half a world away, it is the heartland of Canada; in Toronto, Al Qaeda cells fester. I saw them in the weeks approaching 9/11 on the sidewalks half a block from me, going to and from the Islamic Centre in Parkdale, increasingly haughty, increasingly arrogant. “Who the hell do they think they are?” I remember muttering to myself. They knew, I tell you. They knew. And when it was done they rejoiced, not as in Gaza with guns, but quietly, like a miser who has scored a windfall but doesn’t want his neighbours to know. Any nation who refuses to fight such a callous and disgusting enemy with every weapon at its disposal is not worthy of the name.

Canada is not a loyal ally of the US and did not go anywhere, much less Afghanistan, without fanfare. With great bitchiness, I remember the prime minister (Jean Chretién) complaining that George Bush didn’t mention Canada in his speech but only England and Australia. Canada came late to the table because it wanted Americans first to fawn over us for opening up our airports to your stranded planes, and our homes to the passengers. Since when is common decency something to be lauded? What a world! What was the alternative? Let the planes fall to earth? Let people starve at the airport? Sure, Newfoundlanders are the best. Salt of this earth, man, I tell you. But all you gotta be for them to love you is human. It was nothing special. They’re always like that and that’s why it’s an insult to praise them for just being themselves, for being daysant (=decent in Newfie).

Canada (at the time of which we speak—there have been undeniable signs of hope since the Conservative minority government under Stephen Harper took over) has been more like a bitchy auntie than an uncle — the crazy one who lives in the basement and complains about the smells and every coming and going — mostly about being left alone and ignored. But who shuts her up in her room? She herself. She could have a life but she doesn’t. Instead she sits in the moral centre of the universe and contemplates “what makes us us,” to quote a line from an Air Miles commercial that expresses the shallowness, the narcissism of this nation. Did I say nation? Country, rather: a country without a song that sends shivers up your spine, without a God, without an army worth speaking of (admittedly that is improving, thank God). We were real players once, with the 4th largest army in the world and an unblemished record of courage, boldness, fearlessness and honour. I weep with rage and frustration to think of it! Once she lived. Now she passes judgement and rots.

Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate your sentiment; I appreciate that you mention our fallen soldiers but other than that, dammit, you soil our honour with your praise!

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