How Dare you!
In the five years or so that I have been writing my weekly column Listen Up!, I have tried to deal with topics of interest, locally, nationally and internationally. I have expressed opinions on which I felt strongly, and I have not hesitated to be controversial when I thought it was called for and I always encourage vigorous and constructive debate. But I do not believe I have ever written in anger. Today I am angry.
Recently, The Commission on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, tabled its Final Report. The Chair of that Commission, in her report, said this.
“Canada has and continues to practice genocide as a continuous policy, with shifting expressed motives but an ultimately steady intention to destroy indigenous people, physically, biologically and as social units.”
Now, this is a statement with which I profoundly disagree, particularly when it deals with the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. But this is not what angers me. The Commission is entitled to its opinion, even if it is not based on legally substantiated evidence.
No, what really gets under my skin, is the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, responding to the Commission report in part, by saying this.
“We accept the findings of the Commission, that it was genocide.”
How dare he! If there is such a thing as a dirty word, genocide tops the list. It congers up visions of the Holocaust in Nazi Germany, the “ethnic cleansing that is currently taking place in Rwanda and the mass killings of Muslims in Bosnia. On this issue, the issue of Canada being guilty of genocide. Prime Minister Trudeau is not speaking for me nor I believe, he is speaking for the vast majority of Canadians. Furthermore, he is completely wrong.
Even the Toronto Star, with whom I seldom agree, is in lockstep on this one. The headline on their editorial on Friday, screamed this. “No, it’s not ‘genocide:” They went on to say: “Does Prime Minister Trudeau realize the consequences of endorsing the inquiry’s use of “genocide” to describe Canada’s conduct?”
Consequences indeed! Trudeau’s admission of Genocide, and make no mistake, that is what he did, has already prompted calls for an investigation by the Organization of American States. No doubt the United Nations will follow. Our reputation, world- wide, will be sullied as millions apply their interpretation of the word “genocide” to the assertion of Canada’s Prime Minister. And the legal suits against the Government, will come next, hundreds of them. It is a sad comment indeed, that Justin Trudeau voted against a motion in the House of Commons, which acknowledged that ISIS had committed genocide, yet so quickly embraced genocide as our treatment of missing and murdered indigenous women.
Furthermore, can you imagine what the Saudi’s will say to Canada next time we stand up for their ill treatment of women, or what China will say when we criticize them, for their lack of human rights? Vladimir Putin and the likes of him will also have a field day with it.
Words matter and they have meaning. Prime Minister Trudeau needs to think twice, or at least once, before he continually apologizes for the actions of Canadians and adapts words that are completely inappropriate. Personally, I am sick of it, especially when he is wrong.
None of this of course takes away from the serious nature of the extraordinary number of indigenous women who have gone missing or have been murdered in this country. Indeed, Canada has a less than perfect record when it comes to its indigenous citizens, but it is not a record of a “steady and continuing intention of destroying indigenous people physically, biologically and as social units”. It is not about genocide.
In my view, a much more meaningful observation of the Commission on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, would have been to recommend the establishment of a Special Police Force, with the specific mandate to hunt down the perpetrators, the murderers and the rapists and to bring them to justice. This is not genocide. This is murder. There is never an excuse for it. These women and girls were Canadian citizens. They deserve no less than Canadian justice.
Now that I think of it, I actually believe Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should apologize one more time and this time, to Canadians. He has tainted us with an acknowledgement of genocide. He is out of line on all fronts, under any circumstances. Perhaps it made for good television and social media. Perhaps it plays to a certain portion of his core support. But it has the potential of causing tremendous problems for our country and for our reputation.
That is just plain wrong.
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