"Cause I don’t feel like having to shoot people…"

The Trudeau government will alter Canada’s harsh tone on international affairs to emphasize conflict resolution and peacekeeping. The Prime Minister said when deploying our men and women in uniform, the case must be made openly and transparently and “there must be a clear mission and a clear role for Canada.”

That was not the previous government’s approach. In early October 2014, Stephen Harper told the House of Commons the middle east deployment of aircraft would last six months. In March 2015, his government extended and expanded the military action despite having no plan of how or when it would end.

October 3, 2014

Canadians old enough to remember Lester Pearson are proud of the 1957 Nobel Peace Prize awarded him for resolution of the Suez Crisis. The award recognized Canada’s enthusiastic role as an honest broker of international conflicts. According to the Toronto Star:

Canada was often the single biggest contributor to UN peacekeeping missions between 1956 and 1992, but the numbers began to decline at the turn of the century and increased sharply in 2005 with onset of the combat mission in Kandahar.Canada had sent about 80,000 soldiers to UN operations — about 10 per cent of the total…

In 1995, Canada ranked 6th out of 84 countries in the world in terms of its contributions to peacekeeping missions, with 2,204 soldiers deployed, according to UN statistics.

That rank is now 62 out of 126 countries. Most of the 88 personnel — 54 — are police officers assigned to mentoring law enforcement in troubled countries such as Haiti. The rest are soldiers, who usually fulfil a headquarters or staff function…

1eb94-pearson_postcard2b1001Re-prioritizing peacekeeping and humanitarian considerations under a new foreign policy is a change that many Canadians welcome. However, significant numbers of our population disagree and are reluctant to welcome stateless people from the middle east. These individuals ignore our history; excepting the indigenous, this country has been populated by immigrants and their offspring.

A person in Fort St. John started a petition calling for a ban on Syrian refugees. That found a collection of bigots who offered support and comments explaining why they did not want displaced persons arriving here.

Comments included these:

  • Cause I don’t feel like having to shoot people.. But it is what it is!
  • These people come to Canada and then demand us to assimilate to THEM, they are ungrateful people.
  • They won’t fight for their own County (sic) so they won’t fight for ours except to take it over…
  • I do not agree with forcing the people of this area let alone this country to accept those that have already shown themselves worldwide to be unsafe.

Bob Zimmer, the MP for the region indicated support for the petition when he asked the federal government to end the current plan to welcome 25,000 Syrians by year end. Zimmer is a Conservative who’s previously demonstrated insensitivity toward disadvantaged people. Last month he told an all-candidates meeting:

One of the major drivers of missing and murdered aboriginal women is the lack of economic activity, or simply put, the lack of a job. … Ultimately, when people have a job, they’re not in despair. They can stay on reserve, and that’s where we want them to be.

Thankfully, there are now fewer bigots in Canada’s parliament and they don’t form government today. Recently, I was reading about a movie classic and realized its message remains valid today. This is how Roger Ebert described the work:

In 1938, the world’s most famous movie star began to prepare a film about the monster of the 20th century. Charlie Chaplin looked a little like Adolf Hitler, in part because Hitler had chosen the same toothbrush moustache as the Little Tramp. Exploiting that resemblance, Chaplin devised a satire in which the dictator and a Jewish barber from the ghetto would be mistaken for each other. The result, released in 1940, was “The Great Dictator,” Chaplin’s first talking picture and the highest-grossing of his career, although it would cause him great difficulties and indirectly lead to his long exile from the United States.

This is from the Great Dictator’s speech:

…I should like to help everyone – if possible – Jew, Gentile – black man – white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness – not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost….

3 replies »

  1. It is a great speech, unfortunately too many remain deaf to its lessons. Instead many worship money and even the Christian religion now has sects which places money above god and it is no wonder in this age, with so many in want and so few, rich beyond ones ken that we have terrorism. I despair.


  2. We have failed the lessons of history…and are doomed to repeat the lessons no matter how grim they are..we are living in a fools paradise..and continue to learn nothing. This economic reality is degenerating into a society of indentured servitude, where a very few own everything and possess most if not all of the planets wealth, whereas the rest will end up living in varying degrees of poverty. All the while exploiting the planets resources and destroying our environment at the same time.
    We sure are pretty smart eh?


  3. if the petition weren't so sad, it would be funny. Unless you are First Nations, all of us and our ancestors, were refugees from something when we/they came to Canada. Just because you're doing all right jack doesn't mean you get to shut the door behind you.

    Prior to WW II, Canada, the U.S.A. refused to take Jewish refugees. A ship with Jewish refugees sailed to the U.S.A. only to be turned back. They went to the concentration camps. England took only a minimal number of Jews. We never learn. When you read what people say about Syrian/Muslim refugees, just substitute the word Jew. Nothing has changed in over 75 yrs.

    If “terrorists” really wanted to do a number on Canada, they can just come as tourists. People need to get a grip.


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