Saturday, July 05, 2008

Garth Turner Is Wrong

I don't consider myself a patriot in the traditional sense. Though I think Canada is the greatest country to live in, I cannot say it will always be so. I understand that things can change, and greatness can be lost. A country can maintain its name, but not its reputation. A country can stay a superpower, but lose its morality. It is because of this that I cannot be certain Canada will always be my ideal. What I do know is that those principles that we have stood for and continue to stand for today will forever be the foundations of a great nation. It is democracy, reason, and justice that make me love Canada, that make me a patriot.


On June 3rd Garth Turner, a Liberal MP for Halton Ontario made the suggestion that sovereigntists were losers, that those Canadians who did not wish to be Canadians any longer were losers. From his blog:

As for Dion, he will move from Calgary to Edmonton, where he’s to have an open, Town Hall meeting on his climate change plan. You might not agree with everything the man says, but you have to admire this about him. He stood up once to the self-aggrandizing, hostile, me-first, greedy, macho, selfish and balkanizing separatist losers in Quebec. I guess he can do it again in Alberta.
Now some Canadians have supported his statement, echoing the sentiment that anyone who wants to divide Canada is an enemy of our country. This position is taken by those who love Canada and see sovereigntists as attacking it. Other Canadians have rebuked Garth, labeling his own comments as divisive and vulgar. This position is taken by those that see Garth as reopening wounds or attacking a large number of Quebecois. I take a different position, I see Garth's comments as a misguided attempt to protect Canada that in the end actually hurts it.

Canada is the greatest country to live in because of our democratic institutions, the reason that pervades our laws, and the justice that runs through our halls. It is on those principles that four provinces united in the effort to pursue a common desire that is Canada, six others have joined since. And it is because of those principles that we have one of the largest and most successful nations on the face of this earth.

Now sovereigntists do intend to separate from Canada, but they do so emboldened by the very Canadian principles we value. If a majority of Quebec want to separate, it is our democratic imperative to negotiate their withdrawal. If we did not, our democracy, our federation would be a sham. We would remain united but at the cost of ignoring our principles. And so the country would keep a province but it would surely lose at least one citizen.

Garth as an elected representative of the people, in labeling sovereigntists as losers, is suggesting that those Canadians who act on Canadian values are not worthy of respect. That those Canadians that act within their rights are losers. Though I disagree with sovereigntists I recognize they share the great Canadian values of democracy, reason, and justice. No one should disrespect anyone because they differ in opinion, that is democracy.

Now I do not believe Garth Turner, Member of Parliament for Halton, truly meant what he said. I feel his career as a journalist has made him prone to making sensationalist statements and those that pander to the majority. So I do not believe Garth was motivated by aggression. I do believe however that no Canadian, elected or not, should show contempt for another just because they disagree with their goals. Our principles demand that we must not.

And in the end, a united Canada is worth nothing if we abandon the very principles that make it great.


anna elizabeth said...

One cannot get around it, as there are separatists in Alberta, and many have said they would separate. Harper himself, said would put a wall around Alberta

Anonymous said...

If a majority in any province want to separate, we must negotiate their withdrawal.

We can disagree and argue for unity, but name calling or anything worse does not help out the situation it hurts it.


Anonymous said...

as a person from the Gaspe'coast I agree with Garth Turner...I lived there and I believe all French people either bloc supporters or federalists are snobby to the rest of canada...they think being french is superior as do the people of France...they are not with us...they are better than we are..and although I have never been out west...I think from what I've seen in the HOC...they think the same.

Anonymous said...

Well its wrong to stereotype ALL bloc supporters and even more wrong to suggest ALL French people are snobs. By what your comment indicates, you are prejudicial and I must say ignorant in that regard.

Anonymous said...

There seems to be something people haven't noticed about the BLOC. How many in their caucus are from other countries - who came to Canada for a new life - paid for (immigration dept and staff) by "Canadian" taxpayers and then join a group to break up the country that gave them a new life.

This doesn't pass the smell test. Perhaps immigration rules should include a ruling - when you become a NEW citizen of this country you are not to involve yourself in breaking this country up.

Or, perhaps the BLOC should reimburse Canadians the funds spent giving these people a chance in "Canada"

Vivian Barbot is one I know was not born in Canada.

Anonymous said...

When people become Canadian citizens they can do whatever is legal and permissible. Trying to break up our country is permissible when done democratically.

Democracy is a wonderful thing, but we have to take the good with the bad. If a majority of Canadians in any province want to separate, we have to do what is right and negotiate their withdrawal.

rabbit said...

I don't understand Garth's characterization of separatists as greedy and selfish.

Surely a province stays in confederation because it is in its best interests to do so - because the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

And if a province were to feel that confederation is a burden to its people, it should separate. Staying as an act of blind patriotism is foolish.

And this attitude is a good thing. It keeps pressure on federal politicians to ensure that no one part of the country is grossly exploited to the benefit of the rest. It keeps politicians trying to find ways to ensure that confederation is a good deal for all.

One should not threaten separatism at a drop of a hat, but there are always limits as to how much a province should tolerate being taken advantage of. I'm a patriot, but not a patriot at any cost.

Is this greedy? Well, I am constantly amazed at how often people who are trying to take other people's money use that word.

Anonymous said...

I think that is a good point rabbit. In Garth's defense, again I think he was just being sensational. But regardless he was still wrong.

And very funny last comment there. That's quite the observation...It's sad how true it is.


Anonymous said...

You try to defend Garth by saying that you do not think he meant what he said, but that gets shot down if you read his follow up post. He offers no real apology and goes into tough guy mode by saying he will not roll over.

Sorry but his actions have placed the party in a bad light and he has failed to retract anything he wrote; putting what Mr.Dion said on Friday into question.

Anonymous said...

Sorry I disagree. You are trying to make this Partisan by your suggestion it hurts the whole of the Liberal Party, I don't care if it does or does not. My opinion is and it is not negated by his follow-up posts, that he is a sensationalist. He makes things polarized. I said he was wrong, and he was.

Mr.Dion can say whatever he wants to, but unless he says Quebecois are losers, its not really under this topic.


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