Get Off My Lawn

I can't tell if he's laughing or crying.

ISIS and Canada’s Embarrassing Response

I think we can all agree that ISIS is without doubt an evil, vile, and terrifying organization that has committed atrocities from mass executions of religious minorities to the beheading of Western aid workers. The oilfields they have captured, coupled with the American military hardware procured from surrendering Iraqi and Syrian troops, has made ISIS well funded and well equipped. The core of their belief is simple enough: believe what we tell you to believe or be killed. This is a sentiment so wrong, so completely dangerous, I’m not even going to begin to argue this and just assume that anyone reading this more or less agrees that ISIS is horrible and they need to be stopped.

So a myriad of countries have formed a coalition and each has pledged a certain amount of military aid to fight ISIS, to stop them from perpetrating hate on the world. This would seem to be a no-brainer. I mean, even other Islamic countries have ponied up fighter jets, and some Islamic leaders have publicly denounced ISIS. This almost never happens and goes a long way to demonstrating how vile ISIS is. Canada is a nation that has participated in the two great wars and fought well above our weight defending democracy and freedom and just doing the right thing when and where the world has needed us. When our friends have asked us to help, we helped (this might be stretching it a little with regards to WWI but I’m not going to get into a history lesson of the relationship between Great Britain and Canada at that time). Canada has been asked to give help, military help, to at the very least aid those poor brave bastards, the Kurds, by giving air support, training, and guidance. This is an easy decision to make, right? Of course we will lend our military to a cause as noble as this. Right?

Maybe not. Politics enters the picture and we have a bit of a mess. For my American and international friends I will give a quick and dirty synopsis of the political landscape in Canada. We do not have political parties that are anywhere near as polarizing or binary as Republicans and Democrats in America. We have a Conservative, Liberal, and, New Democratic Party (NDP). They are all more or less the same in that all three could fit nicely with varying degrees into the Democratic party of the U.S. All three leaders of the parties are in their own way perfectly nice, and I do believe that they have sincere intentions of wanting to serve the country and make it a better place.

It is comedic to me to see elements on the far left who claim that our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, and the Conservative party he leads are attempting to install some sort of Fascism at worst, and at best are turning Canada into the United States of America. Yes, to my great shame this antiquated notion of America as a great devil, and a horrible place, is still bandied about and is one of the last bastions of prejudice some Canadians will still participate in. And to call Stephen Harper a Fascist is an insult to Fascists. In that company I’ve no doubt the man would be considered a lightweight. But please don’t mistake this analysis for approval. The Conservatives have been involved in more than a few shenanigans, and I find many of their practices repugnant, but no more or less than those of the other parties.

Stephen Harper: Likes beer and hockey. Not a fascist.

Stephen Harper: Likes beer and hockey. Not a fascist.

The Liberal party is led by a young man named Justin Trudeau. He is largely unqualified to run a country as his job before being elected was as a substitute drama teacher. A fine and honourable profession, but not what I consider the best training to manage, say, a complex foreign policy, or our vast natural resources. But I do believe at his core he is a good and decent person who genuinely wants to do good for the country. And he has great hair, which doesn’t hurt with the ladies. If he were elected I don’t think he’d do the damage that the more right wing elements claim: All businesses will leave Canada, prison doors will be flung open, everyone will go on welfare, abortions will be mandatory (for men and women), and cats will lie with dogs.

Justin Trudeau: Don't hate me because I'm beautiful.

Justin Trudeau: Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.

I pay little attention to the NDP as does the rest of Canada. Their leader, Thomas Mulcair, is foul-tempered and has a thousand-yard stare which inspires ghost stories in all provinces and territories of this nation. Because they will never be elected they can promise outrageous things like free university for everyone, knowing they would never have to actually implement any of these policies. Collectively, though, the country gives the NDP a friendly nudge with an elbow to the stomach, winks, and says, oh, c’mon now, we know you’d pretty much run the country the way it is now if you were elected. Perhaps some social programs would get a boost in funding but not much else would be different. The most offensive thing about the NDP is that they are popular in Quebec, and the rest of Canada pretty much wants Quebec to just shut the hell up and move out already.

Thomas Mulcair: I've seen some things. Terrible things.

Thomas Mulcair: I’ve seen some things. Terrible things.

This is a system that more or less works well. It does breed some complacency but I see complacency as a symptom of a country running well. If there is an active and enthusiastic movement underway, it is usually because the shit has either hit the fan or is about to. But the odd time a leader will very much miscalculate, when disagreeing for the sake of disagreeing can backfire–or at the very least make him look foolish, and that’s what’s happening to Justin Trudeau.

When Prime Minister Stephen Harper suggested that Canada would indeed be helping out militarily to fight ISIS, Trudeau immediately opposed the suggestion. This was a mistake. I understand that the system is set up in such a way that he is obligated to oppose anything the Conservatives propose, whether he agrees or not, in order to differentiate his party and their policies from the Prime Minister and his party’s policies. The proposal was for Canada to contribute some air power in the form of CF-18 fighter jets for six months. In my opinion this is a laughably small contribution and barely qualifies as helping out. Trudeau in a cringe-worthy statement said, “Why aren’t we talking more about the kind of humanitarian aid that Canada can and must be engaged in, rather than trying to whip out our CF-18’s and show them how big they are? It just doesn’t work like that in Canada.”

Sigh. Oh boy.

I really hope that this is just posturing for maybe some of the more fringe, radically left members of his base. I can tell you that wanting this scourge wiped from the planet has nothing to do with wanting to demonstrate the size of Canada’s penis and has everything to do with wanting a world where women can be educated, homosexuals can love who they want, and people can practice whatever religion they want, or practice no religion at all, and the more these ideals are practiced in  the world, the better the world will be. And if a source of batshit crazy decides none of these things should ever exist, and they will kill anyone who opposes them, then violence must be met with violence. What Trudeau has done in a somewhat subtle way is draw on an outdated, yet still present in some circles, anti-American sentiment that had been formed in the days when we received a lot of our information about America from the CBC, university professors, and Margaret Atwood–that America is a brutish, insecure, dumb, testosterone-driven teenager looking to get in a fight and then maybe get laid. But at this time I think enough Canadians have given up this antiquated notion of America and are focusing on the problem of today.

At this moment, right now, the brave few souls fighting ISIS need more than humanitarian aid. They need help physically stopping the progression of ISIS. Help holding a bridge or taking back a dam. To reduce my desire to see our military fight for a cause so clearly as just as this one to merely a symptom of insecure masculinity is insulting and stupid. And for Trudeau to be unable at this time to separate the idea of military aid from the man proposing military aid demonstrates to me a limited intellect and an inability to know when playing politics is just part of the game and to know when playing politics is going to cost people their lives. It is maybe understandable that in the Canadian political system there are really so few ways for a political party to differentiate itself from the others that opportunities must be embraced when they come along, but this is an instance that is so much more important than the scoring of political points.

And humanitarian aid is also being given. We can, and will, do both. They are not mutually exclusive actions.

What we need to also keep in mind in Canada, and what we take for granted, is that we may someday need our friends to help us. I would say a good motivator for that would be that when presented with an opportunity to fight evil and help our friends, we take it. I think one of the better side effects of globalization, the internet, social media, and even blogging is that it’s getting harder for politicians like Trudeau to manufacture a boogeyman like the evil empire of the United States of America because now the information, and how we know each other, comes first hand. I know people, and people know me, and when this happens it becomes nearly impossible to demonize, to manufacture the Other, and men like Trudeau sound old timey and silly and likely will find that the world is passing them by.






Categories: Politics

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29 replies

  1. Very interesting to learn about Canada’s political system. I don’t know much about it. Though I lived there as a child, politics obviously wasn’t my forte back then. I do, however, remember being frequently mocked as an American. It got to the point where I never mentioned I was from the US, though most people knew. Tough stuff for a fourth grader.

    The thing with ISIS is, I don’t think any country is safe. They were threatening to behead Australians on the street and now they’re threatening the same in England. These extremists can be bred anywhere, including Canada. I think it behooves every country to step up. The problem is, how? War is ugly. The US has spent billions of dollars on events over there. We’re war weary. Perhaps one of the most effective things will be getting other Islamic nations to step up. It’s just as you said: “some Islamic leaders have publicly denounced ISIS. This almost never happens and goes a long way to demonstrating how vile ISIS is.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • As a Canadian I would like to apologize for your ill treatment.
      I think America has done so much of the heavy lifting it is important that other countries lend a hand. I think the first step is stopping the armed branch of ISIS and establishing some stability in the area. After that, I’m not sure. My feeling is that as long as religion and religious texts are used as the guiding principals and template for the construction of a society there will be no peace.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is really well-written and presented. Thanks for sharing it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So much to say to this. So little time.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I would really like to be able to believe that there is a country that exists in the world where the minority or opposition party has not gone completely off the deep end because they believe the only tactic available to them is to forcefully oppose anything and everything proposed by the majority party. There was a time when the opposition could oppose while still being loyal … you know, the loyal opposition. It seems more and more prevalent in the developed, democratic world that the opposition is more interested in destroying the country to regain power than addressing the country’s needs regardless of whether or not they are in power.

        As for Canada’s response to ISIS, as I think we’ve discussed before, I’m torn on this one and I understand hesitation as a result. ISIS is the most evil force we know of that currently operates in this world and I do believe “we” should do something about it. I’m just tired of it always being the U.S. I personally think the moderate Arab countries should be taking the lead on this with us in a supporting role rather than the reverse.

        Liked by 3 people

      • I completely agree with having the more moderate Arab countries helping out more but within their populations they have a large segment that, though they may find the methods ISIS uses a bit extreme, they kind of agree with them on principal. I think in this war the U.S. will be getting more help. And I do hope Canada contributes more. I think education is the key but this will take a long time.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I understand the limitations many of the moderate Arab countries have, but why can’t the leaders of those countries do things that are unpopular with their people when our leaders do it all the time. There comes a point when leaders are supposed to lead, not just stick their finger in the air to see which direction the wind is blowing in. This is the problem I have with most “moderate” Arab leaders — they are more concerned with self-preservation and maintaining power than with doing what is right and leading their nations and people out of this backward morass that defines so much of what goes on in that part of the world.

        Liked by 1 person

      • But when the extremists feel hard done by they blow things up. The worst we do is maybe write a grumpy blog post. Religion needs to be taken out of the equation, until that happens I don’t think peace will be achieved. I think it is the religious beliefs that allow the extremists to justify anything. Especially killing the unbelievers.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Completely agree, but I also don’t believe what a lot of conservatives want us to believe — that Islam itself is a violent religion. I don’t think it’s the religion itself, but is instead a combination of a number of things — including the lack of credible and responsive governing institutions that meet the needs of the people.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Saudi Arabia does more funding and sheltering of terrorists than any other country and they are beyond affluent. I think all religion to certain extent is a dangerous tool used to manipulate people. And all religions have comitted atrocities. But the problem is so much more complicated than just religion, like you said. The answer in the long run is going to have to come from the people in these countries, but in the short term ISIS needs to be stopped.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The problem with American conservatives is they are coming from a fundamentalist Christian position which makes them lack credibility.


      • Oh, there are a whole lot more problems with them than just that. 😉 Another comment I wanted to make was how it is conservatives in this country that attack Canada. As in, Obamacare is going to give us a health care system like Canada’s.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hahaha. I know! Geez. Our health care system has problems but I can tell you there have been more than a few times in my life where I’ve been very grateful for it. Most Canadians were pretty perplexed at the oppostion to Obamacare. But we have done our share of mudslinging, you just don’t see it on the news. The U.S. has bigger fish to fry. Now please fix your gun control problem.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sigh. Guns. Another thing that makes absolutely no sense. Probably the #1 reason I need to move to Canada.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. This must have taken you FOREVER to write.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Soooo educational!!! That idiot is beautiful!!! I hate him. I had no idea you were one of those Canadians i’ve heard about aboot

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha. Yes, I’m Canadian. How aboot that (and that is how it sounds from the mouths of most Canadians). Justin’s father was a very famous and controversial Prime Minister of Canada for many years. So not only is Justin very pretty, he has a famous daddy, and comes from wealth. But he’s nice enough I suppose, but kind of dumb.


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