Canada in the Middle (East)

It’s hard to know where to begin. It’s hard to know where this began.

Last night, watching Canada’s bungled evacuation attempt on TV was frustrating. Despite what Peter MacKay says, we’ve done a much worse job of evacuating our citizens than other countries. To be fair, that doesn’t make anything about this easy, and I could almost give our government the benefit of the doubt if it weren’t for reports today that “Sandra Buckler, Director of Communications in the Prime Minister’s Office, is said to have issued an edict ordering that the Lebanon crisis be kept under wraps.”

Maybe these guys should have looked up transparency and accountability in a dictionary before building a whole campaign around those words.

Even more objectionable, for me, is Harper’s departure from traditional Canadian neutrality, towards something that resembles the American position. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time to take sides. During elections, for example. But let’s keep our eyes on the prize; the objective here is peace. And the best way for Canada to help advance that goal is to act as a voice of mediation. Taking sides is a bad strategy because it removes that possibility, hurting our ability to reach the objective.

Unfortunately, the editorial in today’s Globe And Mail supported Harper, mostly because they were bored and wanted to hear something different (“Mr. Harper did something unusual and refreshing”) , and because Hezbollah started it (“Hezbollah was primarily responsible for starting the fighting and must be primarily responsible for ending it”). This amounts to schoolyard “he hit me first” politics. If only it were that simple. And if only anyone could decisively say who “started it.”

If only we knew where the violence began. If only we knew where peace will begin.

Where the editorial went next really surprised me. “There is a world of difference,” the Globe And Mail continued, “between those who deliberately kill to make mischief and those who kill in response.”

Really? Last I checked, you’re dead either way. And I don’t know of any Canadian law that makes a distinction between “mischief killing” and “response killing.” I wonder if the Globe would apply the same logic to the streets of Toronto. I wonder if they teach their children that “two wrongs make a right.”

Tags: , , ,

3 thoughts on “Canada in the Middle (East)

  1. Greetings and salutations Chris!

    I just wanted to offer praise for your thoughtful comments on this unfolding tragedy and for the increasingly embarassing response from the government of Canada.

    Many of us thought we would never see the day that peace would come to Northern Ireland. For all those who despair of progress in the Middle East, please remember that fallible human beings created this disaster and fallible human beings can solve it.

    We need all people to focus on peace and promoting dialogue at every turn. This means sitting down with bitter enemies and encouraging them to move beyond their hardened positions.

    I am afraid our current government is not up this task, intellectually and diplomatically.

    Yours truly,

    Chris Alders
    Kentville, Nova Scotia

  2. If there is no Canadian law that makes a distinction between “mischief killing” and “response killing” then I suggest we take the guns away from the police.

  3. Hi Anonymous,

    Interesting idea. If our police ever start killing large numbers of innocent civilians, or if they start intentionally killing suspects, I’ll agree without hesitation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *