When I was a younger man the Canadian Military put up a long and really involved advertisement during a hockey game. It showed all aspects of the Canadian military, Air Force, Army, Navy involved in what they did best and what they did most; Search and Rescue. That’s something that I’ve always been proud of my whole life as a Canadian, that we are peacekeepers. We fight not for territory or to vanquish enemies, but to preserve life. I remember something else from when I was younger. After Stephen Harper and the Conservatives took power, he followed the US fully into the war on Terror… and rolled back our involvement in the UN and in peacekeeping operations around the world. And then an article was written by a travel blogger. This article went viral in our neck of the woods because all international travelers — regardless of nationality — have been advised for years to wear a Canadian flag on their packs or jackets to avoid harassment… but the opposite was true for this woman. She was accosted by a stranger “that flag used to mean something” was the gist.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but this was the start of a paradigm shift in Canada, and that is no more prevalent than witnessing the shit storm around Motion 103. Motion 103 offers further protections for ALL religions according to the text, but specifically mentions anti-Muslim sentiment around the country. Ignoring the fact that anti-Muslim sentiment is getting so bad in Canada that we now have to deploy RCMP and local police at every arrival of immigrants to prevent the assault of people fleeing chemical warfare… One of the concerns here is the petition raising concerns against the law specifically lists how important it is that we be allowed to criticize Islam.
When did it become more Canadian to worry about being allowed to criticize a group of people, than it is to worry about how we can help people the world over? When did we as a country make that shift? During every major humanitarian crisis Canada has always done more than it’s fair share, and that’s always something we’ve been so proud of… But now we’re concerned that we can’t tell Muslims how awful their religion is?
Is that really what’s important to us right now as Canadians? How sad is that? That a country once known the world over for her tireless efforts to preserving life and peace, is know more actively concerned that our right to spread false news stories about a group of people who have lost everything, and who worship at a different temple than us?
I realize I’m repeating myself, but I want to make it understood; we went from school nice guy to school bully. From offering a hand up, to shouting profanities at people we don’t even know. From loving, to hating.
What saddens me the most about this is it’s not even the usual hateful people. I’ve got people on my Facebook who spew nothing but hate… but I’m getting this stuff from people whom I always thought had an unending capacity for love.
We’re changing. I’m seeing so many Canadians changing… and now I’m wondering… Am I Canadian?
PS: In the interest full disclosure I need to tell you all something. I don’t believe in hate crime laws. Hate crime laws are far too broad and far too vague. As an example, if you were to find a watermelon smashed on the car of a black man… that would be a crime that’s racially motivated and that person would very easily be convicted of a hate crime…
But in spite of my misgivings regarding hate crime laws, my concern remains; why are we more worried about our right to hate, than our capacity to love?