Listen Up! Telling It Like It Is
Have you ever noticed how strangled we have become in our ability to speak bluntly and tell it like it is, in our now politically correct world? I certainly have and sometimes I find the constraint overwhelming. I am tired of having to whisper around real issues and carefully craft my words so they don’t offend anyone. When I do not, I risk being labeled a racist, a bigot, a misogynist or whatever, by those who find these labels easy to throw around, especially when their views differ from mine.
I am thinking about this especially because as I write this we are marking the 15th anniversary of the attack on the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York that killed thousands of people. It was a terrorist attack. It was rooted in radical Islam by people who want to impose their will on western society. It was a declaration of war. Plain and simple as that.
If that was a wake up call it didn’t last long. Since 9/11 radical Islamic terrorism has spread its ugly tentacles around the world. It has been felt in Europe, the United States and indeed in Canada. And we have let it happen. We have been more concerned about the ‘root cause’ of terrorism than of stopping it dead in its tracks.
In Canada we have resisted giving Police and Intelligence agencies the tools they need to root out terrorism whether it be domestic or foreign. We have pulled back from allowing our armed forces the ability to help wipe out the terrorists on their home turf. We have put more weight on individual rights than we have on our collective right to be safe in our own communities. Terrorist attacks in Eastern Canada, on Parliament Hill, and a recent near miss in Ontario (for which we had to rely on U.S. Intelligence) are treated as isolated instances. We puff out our chests and say we will not be intimidated into changing the way we live. It all sounds very nice but it doesn’t work that way. The world has changed dramatically in the past 15 years and whether we like it or not, our part of the world has changed with it. We are demonstratively less safe and doing precious little about it.
It was in this context that I was somewhat bemused watching the antics and media buzz around a question posed by Kellie Leitch, a candidate for the leadership of the Federal Conservative Party. She is a former Cabinet Minister and a highly respected children’s orthopedic surgeon. She is not my choice for leader of the Conservatives but I do believe the question she asked is a fair one. What she wants to know is whether Canadians believe that immigrants to Canada should be screened to determine their attitude on such issues as intolerance toward other religions, cultures, sexual orientation or reluctance to embrace Canadian freedoms. What, may I ask, is wrong with that? Why would we allow people who want to challenge our values as Canadians or change the way we live, to come into this country?
Surprise, surprise, 67 per cent of Canadians surveyed in a Forum Research Poll commissioned by the Toronto Star, agreed with Kellie Leitch that screening of potential immigrants to determine their support of Canadian values is appropriate. And even if you are skeptical of polls, the results of this one were not likely what the Toronto Star wanted to see, so it must be accurate! I am not surprised that our Liberal Government would react unfavourably to the matter raised by Kellie Leitch. What did shock the hell out of me however, was the way in which senior Conservatives tripped over each other to distance themselves from Leitch. (To the best of my knowledge our M.P., Tony Clement was not one of them.) Perhaps it was an addiction to political correctness but if so it is political correctness gone too far and they should learn that from the Star poll.
Canada is a nation that welcomes immigrants and that is how it should be. But we have a right to know that people who ask to come here to live, will share our core Canadian values and not try to change them. All too often we see signs of this slowly but inevitably happening; to wit: the relatively recent front page picture of Muslim children being allowed to worship in a Toronto public school when Christian or Jewish children are not. We can encourage diversity but surely we must insist on equality.
Canada is a great country, highly respected world wide, and well beyond our pay grade in terms of population or economic impact. I believe this is because of our core values as Canadians. And in this changing world, I believe we have the right and the responsibility to stand up and defend them in whatever manner and with whatever strength is necessary. If that is politically incorrect, too damn bad.
Image – huffingtonpost.ca
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