Thursday, July 6, 2017

Worth Reading - July 6, 2017

This week's Worth Reading is a bit brief, I spent most of the last week out of town. I hope this sample still offers something interesting. 

This article from Maclean's takes a look at political extremism and meme culture on the internet. It expresses some ideas I've been rolling around in my head lately. I find its implications interesting and distressing.

Andrew Coyne calls Prime Minister Trudeau's tone-deaf approach and missteps in government

On a related note, Chantal Hebert writes that Trudeau's popularity among Canadians may have more to do with the small standing of his first minister peers

Paul Wells interviews our illustrious Prime Minister on Canada Day

John Michael McGrath argues that the political interference with Metrolinx means that the institution has no purpose


Anonymous said...

The Macleans article references the curious incident I have just read about, a protest and counter protest in Halifax involving aboriginals and so-called ‘Proud Boys’. My first impressions are of a very Father Ted-esque light-hearted demonstration and counter-demonstration.

And also quintessentially Canadian: both sides seemed extremely polite, no voices raised; a curiously standoffish slightly awkward meeting; but odd because normally the confrontation sides are reversed with aboriginals doing the protesting.

But that wasn’t the incident reported/interpreted by the likes of the CBC or the Toronto Star. To them, it was right wing extremists interrupting a native ceremony. Showing disrespect to a native woman from BC shaving off her hair in protest at Cornwallis’s ‘scalp order’ from 250+ years ago? CBC Radio has picked it up with a barely credible piece on the Proud Boys organisation, talking about strange initiation ceremonies and unusual sexual proclivities. Wow, has CBC’s current affairs and comedy departments been combined? As a serious piece of investigative journalism, it never even left the starting blocks.

Now, I have honestly never heard of this group before and, as a rule, I am minded not to like protesters that all dress alike – even black polo shirts are still pushing it and too much of a ‘uniform’ to me. I do have some reservation with their actions:
a. Their use of the Canadian Ensign: do not bring our historic flags or emblems into disrepute at a political protest. Full stop.
b. If you are in the military you are here to defend democracy, not practice it. If you cannot accept limitations on your private life, then it is not the career for you.

My few thought on the broader implications of this incident.
1. The media referred to the aboriginal meeting at the statue as a ceremony, but was it not really a political protest? (Hint: upside down and defaced Canadian flag). If so, then is it not legitimate for a counter protest to take place? The key divider is non-violence: peaceful disagreement is the foundation of our society.

2. Most of the usual suspects in the media immediately started a hatchet job on the credibility of the protesters’ group. Is this to be the standard response when left-wing niceties are transgressed? If it was the IODE holding a ceremony at the Cornwallis statue, for instance, how would the media have viewed an aboriginal counter-protest? Is there an implicit hierarchy of grievance that the left wing media recognises?

The Washington Post ran a thoughtful article that articulated the increasing divide of left and right in our society. The question is not that it isn’t happening; it is how do we deal with it?

3. Is this the start of what some call ‘blow back’ against aboriginal activism? Many believe we are now seeing the rise (from many groups) of financially incentivised historic grievance. How do we legitimately disagree with this policy? Am I any less a Canadian citizen for not being aboriginal? In some respects, is Canada not becoming an upside down apartheid society - hierarchy of grievance?

Anonymous said...

4. Can anyone really be upset over an event that took place 250+ years ago? If I were to protest outside the Italian Embassy because my ancestors got screwed over by the Romans, is that legitimate? Or is our history being cynically manipulated to suit contemporary political ends? The actions of several centuries ago were in the context of their age, and cannot be rightly judged by early 21st Century standards. Who in the media will say this……(cue tumbleweed)…

That aboriginals were displaced and suffered over centuries is beyond doubt. But this was part a larger historic process that saw, from the early 18th Century, a British (then American) society that was moving rapidly into the modern industrial age encountering peoples that were several millennia behind in development. Was it not historically inevitable that inequalities and disputes would arise?

The result of this 'clash', simply put, is not my fault, it is not your fault and it is not our government’s fault. If there are problems with aboriginal societies, it is we subsidise by keeping many in economically marginal reserves – can full integration into our mainstream society be the solution? Whatever, I suspect money is not the answer.

Who will say that although Canada has some issues, compared to just about every other country in the world, it is probably the best place in which to live? I hazard that an aboriginal in Canada has a significant better standard of living than their counterparts in, say, Russia, Brazil or Papua New Guinea.

5. What are the larger implications of these disagreements for Canada as a cohesive society? We are continually told that diversity is our strength, but how do we deal with issues that diversity gives rise to? Ignoring the problem or delegitimising those expressing views counter to the (left wing) establishment is not a good solution.

Orange Tory – we face challenges, how do we meet them and stay as a happy, cohesive society with justice for all?