Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Our shifting 'moderate centre'

Babble on.

Kate at The Last Amazon has brought attention to a Jerusalem Post article that shows just how 'centrist' Canada, the moderate and balanced voice of reason, the honest broker, has performed on the world's most divisive issue on the world's biggest stage. The truth is that we have performed abysmally:

Let's begin with the United Nations. Here Israel's friend, Canada, has voted against Israel 78 times, abstained 38 times, and voted in support of Israel, by its own admission, only once – although a phone call to Israel's UN delegation in New York was unable to confirm even that.
And if all the above was not sordid enough, how is this:

Canada's porous refugee and immigration laws have allowed PFLP terrorist Mahmoud Mohammed Issa Mohammed, convicted in the hijacking of an El AL plane and subsequent killing of one person at Athens Airport in 1968, to live comfortably in Brantford, Ontario, while enjoying refugee status.

Mahmoud Issa is a convicted terrorist and murderer, he lied his way into Canada in 1987. Thirty appeals later and he is still here and running a candy store in Ontario. According to this Stephen Brown article it has cost the Canadian taxpayer $3 million and counting.

I've only recently embraced the clumsy and inadequate label of 'right-winger'. For years I resisted, preferring to think of myself as a centrist. But I finally realized the centre of political thought in Canada has shifted away from me, away from Canadian traditional values, away from historical allies, and away from principled leadership.

The other Kate, of small dead animals, points today to a story on the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), and their threats of legal action for libel against David Frum and the National Post.

Until recently, [CAIR] has had considerable success winning acceptance in the United States and Canada as something close to an official spokesman for local Muslim communities. CAIR has been influential in advocating for a sharia court to arbitrate divorces and other family-law matters in the province of Ontario. CAIR's strong criticisms of Canada's anti-terror legislation have won respectful hearing in Ottawa.
Over the past 10 years, CAIR has grown rapidly. It now claims a total of 29 affiliates, including CAIR Canada. CAIR's media savvy won it much official attention after 9/11. With that attention, however, also came a higher degree of scrutiny.

Since 9/11, three CAIR associates in the U.S. have been indicted on terrorism-related charges.

That an organization like this has become 'mainstream' in our proud country speaks volumes about how rudderless we have become.

I don't want Canada to be 'balanced', I want us to be 'fair'. I don't want our government to be 'centrist', I want it to be 'principled'. I don't want our leaders to give equal weight to every opinion when not every opinion is equally sound. I want our country to stand for something again.

That's why I fly both the Red Ensign and the Maple Leaf on this site: to remind us all not only that we have a past, but also that that past would undoubtedly be instructive in how we should chart our future, if only we would study it and respect the lessons it teaches.

Thousands of years ago, Solomon threatened to cut a baby in half, and taught us that simpleminded compromise and the illusion of evenhandedness is no substitute for sound judgement. It's long past time we remember that wisdom.

Babble off.


At 3:19 p.m., Blogger Greg said...

I am with you on the studying of Canadian history B, but we have to study all of it. Not just the glorious bits like Vimy and Ortona, but also The On To Ottawa Trek; The Oshawa GM Strike of 1937; The Residential Schools; The Christie Pits Riots; The Head Tax on Asian Immigrants; all of it. The whole glorious stinking mess of it. We have a lot to learn from our past. One thing is for sure it was not boring.

At 4:06 p.m., Blogger Babbling Brooks said...

Greg, it goes without saying that an incomplete study leads to shaky conclusions.

At 8:41 p.m., Blogger treehugger said...

"I've only recently embraced the clumsy and inadequate label of 'right-winger'. For years I resisted, preferring to think of myself as a centrist. But I finally realized the centre of political thought in Canada has shifted away from me, away from Canadian traditional values, away from historical allies, and away from principled leadership."

Nicely stated. However there is no crime in subscribing to "centrism" if such an ideology even exists. You can still be principaled on issues without diving into one extreme side of the spectrum or another. The political spectrum is not simply black or white. While many consider those who gravitate to the center as wishy washy, it does not have to be the case. People do avoid one defined label over another simply due to the absolute intolerance and blatant blind rhetoric that consumes so much space in political discussion today - especially in the blogosphere. I consider myself a "centrist". I am support free trade and fiscal responsibility as a matter of faith. I also, however, support drastic environmental reform. Unfortunately, I don't fit into the cookie cutter mold of left or right. And being a "centrist" does not preclude leadership on any given issue. The lack of leadership is in Ottawa, in most of the available choices simply because they won't take clear stands on issues. You can prefer to be in the middle and still accomplish that.

At 1:24 p.m., Blogger Mike said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 1:32 p.m., Blogger Mike said...

Canada's voting record on Israel is extremely principled. Israel has done, and is doing, Very Bad Things to the Palestinians. Israel wants to treat Palestinians in much the same way as South Africa treated blacks under apartheid. Witness the so-called security wall. I'm proud of Canada's record in opposing these kinds of actions, and I hope we continue to uphold the principles of justice and freedom that our veterans fought and died for.

At 8:28 p.m., Blogger John the Mad said...

The Israelis may, or may not, be the good guys in the Middle East, but one cannot reasonably equate the "wall" with South African Apartheid. The wall is a rather desperate attempt to prevent suicide bombers from blowing innocent civilians to shreds.

At 2:54 p.m., Blogger Mike said...

Well, let's see. In Israel you're required to carry an identity card. ID cards list "nationality", which can be Jewish, Arab, Druze, Circassian, Samaritan, Kara'ite, or foreign.
There's also this interesting new marriage law that applies only to Palestinians. The law forbids Palestinians who marry Israeli citizens from obtaining Israeli citizenship or permits to live with their spouses and children in Israel. This forces them to live in the occupied territories.
Sounds very much like discrimination on the basis of ethnic origin, dunnit? Forcing people to live in "townships"?

On the issue of the wall, the International Court of Justice in the Hague has found (by a vote of 14 to 1) that it's illegal under international law. It's not just an innocent security measure. You can read the decision yourself if you google "israel international court justice" and click on the first link returned.


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