Assertion, unsupported by fact, is nugatory. Surmise and general abuse, in however elegant language, ought not to pass for truth. Junius


More Seeing Red

A commenter (or perhaps I should say the commenter) to my last post suggested I should look at this page as a manifesto for the Red Ensign Bloggers. I did, and post the relevant parts here for your perusal. Please note I have resisted the extremely strong temptation to annotate.

We had an aircraft carrier. Imagine that. Now we have metric and the CBC. It was a bad trade. I am proud to say this is one of a handful of countries in the whole world where you can arrive, work hard and send your kids to school in the hope of a better life. No matter your accent or appearance you will be Canadian. Try moving to France and see if you could do the same. It is true that Canada used to be a profoundly nativist country with some repellent ideas about race. It is also true the history of this country might be told as one of conquest and exploitation. Also, we had no cable television. We were far from perfect. Nobody sensible wants anything like that again.

But Canada has also been about exploration and entrepreneurialism and optimism. Half this country is made up of Hudson's Bay territory itself granted in a charter to the oldest corporation in the world. It was trade that drove the voyageurs to find the next river or the next lake. It was trade that inspired the search for the elusive northwest passage (soon to be a reality if global warming finally pays off).

This country has also been a force for liberty. The third largest navy in the world fed Britain through the dark days of the Blitz and Hitler's north Atlantic wolf packs. This is the country that took Vimy Ridge and that stormed Juno Beach. Let's bring back that Canada.

Update: December 4, 2004

I intended this post to be a kind of meeting place for people who hoped for Canada to remember its duty to democracy at home and around the world. Many people shared that vision and linked to this post. A community sprang up from those links - one I never intended but one I was pleased to see take shape. My place in that conversation has now ended but I wish many of those people luck and continue to link to them through my personal blogroll on the main page of this weblog.

Unfortunately, many who wish to continue Canada's racist policy of isolationism and disregard for the rights of people still living under dictatorships and theocracies around the world found it threatening for some bloggers to remember our responsibilities as Canadians. They chose to smeer me and my friends with racism by linking to this post despite our opposition to racism, the fact many of us belong to religious or ethnic minorities ourselves and that this post explicitly rejects racism. It has come to my attention that bigoted morons are linking to this piece as part of a crusade to link the Red Ensign to a racist agenda. I am a child of immigrants and I am Canadian and I will not have it. Nobody can take that history away from me. I am therefore providing the following readers guide to this post.

When I say I oppose racialist ideas in Canadian history it means I am opposed to racism. That is as true for contemporary racism as it is for its manifestations in history. When I say I support the memory of the men who fought and died to defeat the Nazis at Juno Beach it means I am opposed to contemporary Nazis spouting the same race-hatred by whatever name. Anyone using the Red Ensign as a mark of a racist agenda shows they have no idea what that symbol meant or continues to mean to Canada's veterans. But then, if they had any knowledge of history or compassion for humanity they would not be racists in the first place.

And I do not think much of attention seeking useful idiots who accept the racists have a claim to the Red Ensign either. While I share their opposition to racism and bogus "heritage" groups they should be careful lest they unwittingly do the racists' work for them. My advice to the well-meaning useful idiots: Don't wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig enjoys it (and all links to the fool in question have now been removed... let there be no traffic oxygen for people who link to racist websites).


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