Last week, Canadians were presented with yet another example as to why offensiveness is not a fair or reliable criterion for restricting speech in politics.
At a Justice Committee hearing on May 28, Faisal Khan Suri of the Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council deliberatively chose to lump “conservative” commentators in with “anti-immigrant and alt-right commentators” and “mass murderers.”
Predictably, and for good measure, he also included Donald Trump among those inspiring the shooter who murdered Muslims in their own house of worship in Quebec City.
In the context of Committee hearings into online hate, Mr. Suri’s attack on conservatism as being akin to racism and violence was blunt.
Many books have been written on the subject of conservatism, and multiple definitions abound. Wikipedia likely hits the target by describing conservatism as “a political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions in the context of culture and civilization” of which the central tenets include tradition, human imperfection, organic society and property rights.
In the same way that liberals, socialists, libertarians and others would object strenuously to being lumped in together with racists and murderers, conservatives, unsurprisingly, also take strong exception to this kind of smear.
In Europe, nationalist and so-called alt-right parties despise conservatives as much as they detest left-wing parties. Nationalists reject liberalism and conservatism, and have much in common with social justice warriors who leverage identity politics in order to advance their causes of equity, diversity and inclusion.
Statists of the Left and Right do not value the dignity of each human being regardless of the traits that a person is born with. Authoritarians of all stripes do not respect the individual, who is endowed with the freedoms of conscience, speech, religion, and association, and the right to own and enjoy private property.
Conservative MP Michael Cooper immediately confronted Mr. Suri’s unjustified slur, stating “… I take great umbrage with your defamatory comments to try to link conservatism with violent extremist attacks. They have no foundation, they’re defamatory, and they diminish your credibility as a witness.”
Had Mr. Cooper left it at that, it’s likely that no major brouhaha would have resulted. But Mr. Cooper went further, using a factual but inflammatory reference to the accused Christchurch mosque shooter’s manifesto.
Through his manifesto, which cannot easily be located on the internet and which I have not read, the mass-murderer apparently expressed his contempt for conservatism.
Mr. Suri (as well as most MPs on the Justice Committee) were no doubt deeply offended by Mr. Cooper making reference to a vile and genuinely Islamophobic document.
Who was more offended?
Mr. Cooper and conservatives, for being compared to mass-murders? Or Mr. Suri and Muslims, for having heard a contextual quote from a murderer-inspired, anti-Muslim document?
Nobody knows, and nobody can know. Feelings of offence are experienced personally and there is no objective measurement.
One can only guess as to the exact level of pain that various comments inflict on different individuals.
This is the point at which identity politics and the progressive doctrine of group oppression conflate. As most progressives tend to see it, society is perpetually in a state of group warfare because men oppress women, whites oppress non-whites, straights oppress gays, the rich oppress the poor, radical feminists oppress transwomen, and so on.
Lost in this reductionist vision is the fact that individuals lie, cheat, steal and kill, and that these behaviours are often inflicted on people of the same race, gender, or sexual orientation. Likewise, acts of kindness are often directed at those who have a different skin colour, religion or annual income.
This is not to deny the existence of racism, sexism, or other forms of group oppression, but rather to point out that a good world depends more on the practice of virtue and morality by individuals in their day-to-day lives than it does on Class A finally crushing and defeating Class B. Seeing people first and foremost as members of a race, class or other group (based on traits they were born with) exaggerates differences among unique persons, which is destructive to the idea that we all belong to the same human family.
The group warfare ideology cannot acknowledge that Mr. Cooper and Mr. Suri were deeply offended by each other’s comments, and thereafter leave matters alone. Mr. Suri would no doubt score higher in the so-called “oppression Olympics” than Mr. Cooper. Therefore, in a world where identity politics prevail, Mr. Cooper is made to apologize (and is removed from participation in the Committee) because his feelings of offence are deemed to be weaker or less important than Mr. Suri’s feelings of offence. This is ridiculous because nobody can judge who felt more offended.
Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Truth, evidence, facts and logic should be the sole standards used to evaluate public debate, not feelings of offence. If we love truth, we must support and protect the free expression and debate of ideas, in the House of Commons and elsewhere.
Lawyer John Carpay is president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF.ca).
Don Cherry was trying to make a point about patriotism, loving our country, and honouring those who sacrificed everything so we could be free.
Cherry had clearly seen a lot of people not wearing poppies, and as the public figure who has perhaps done more than any other to show support for our troops and encourage respect for Veterans, Cherry was obviously pissed off.
In remarks that—if people weren’t afraid of offending the cancel culture cops—most Canadians would admit to agreeing with, Cherry said that people who enjoy the freedom of coming here and living in Canada (enjoying freedom not enjoyed in many other nations) should at the very least wear a poppy to show respect for Canadians who fell in war.
Of course, any hint of patriotism or nationalism makes the elites go absolutely crazy, and that’s what happened.
The outrage mobs and cancel culture cops went into overdrive, and Sportsnet (a company that is apparently fine with letting communist China-controlled Huawei sponsor Hockey Night in Canada) fired Cherry.
And they fired him on Remembrance Day of all days, which is a huge insult and totally disrespectful to Cherry considering how much he has fought to stand up for Veterans and those who lost their lives for Canada.
By giving in to the outrage mobs, Sportsnet has disgraced themselves.
Cherry’s colleague Ron MacLean also threw Cherry under the bus, after nodding along with Cherry and giving a thumbs up to his remarks, he then acted like he didn’t really get Cherry’s comments.
Peter Mansbridge also wrote an article for CBC with the subheading, “The notion that Canada’s veterans were all white is dangerously wrong and an insult to thousands.”
Yeah, bro, that would be “wrong” and “offensive,” if Cherry had actually brought up race.
But he didn’t.
Cherry didn’t mention race at all.
So CBC pushes an article by Mansbridge that skews the facts to make it look like Cherry was talking about race?
Also, how about the loyalty of CBC throwing Cherry under the bus after all he’s done for them – including the millions of Canadians who only watched CBC for Hockey Night in Canada?
So now, this is where Canada is:
The Prime Minister wore blackface so many times he can’t even remember how often, and he’s still in power (after getting a big assist from the media), while Don Cherry—a man who does everything he can to bring attention to our veterans and honour our troops—gets fired for saying people should wear poppies.
It’s total hypocrisy, as the examples below make clear:
“Kellie Leitch: “Values Test”
Quebec Government: “Values Test”
Cherry: “Wear Poppies”
Elites: REMOVE HIM!!”
What the hell is going on?
This is a disgrace, and it shows once again why the establishment media and political elites need to be defeated. Their priorities and judgement are broken beyond repair.
The grandson of a British World War II veteran who died on the beach in Dunkirk in 1940 during the evacuation of Allied forces is going back to where his grandfather made the ultimate sacrifice.
Thomas Michael McDonald, who himself never met his grandfather, had a love of Canada instilled in him by his father, just as his own father instilled it in him.
Shane McDonald, father of Thomas, says his father described Canada as a “wondrous mystical far off place” by his father before he fought in the war, moving to Canada to raise his young family in a new, booming young country.
With that in mind, the McDonald’s made the journey to the beaches of Dunkirk to pay tribute to where the patriarch made his sacrifice.
McDonald says it was overwhelmingly emotional to be on the beaches where his grandfather waited in the sand for a rescue that never came.
Shane was also able to locate his grandfather’s name on the memorial nearby, and attended the Remembrance Day ceremonies in Dunkirk.
Shane was also noticed by French locals at the ceremony, having conversations with others in attendance.
“I don’t know whose English or French was worse … but the actual meaning behind the conversation was one hundred percent understood,” said Shane McDonald.
“Part of his posthumous legacy, I truly believe, is I am a Canadian citizen,” said Shane. “He gave me one of the greatest gifts any parent or grandparent can give.”
Conservative leader Andrew Scheer is calling PM Trudeau to recall Parliament just five days after Trudeau is expected to announce his cabinet.
According to the CBC, Scheer made the demand a day before the two leaders were supposed to meet.
Simon Jefferies, the spokesperson for Andrew Scheer, said Parliament should reconvene to address growing divisions in the country coupled with an economic downturn in the energy sector.
“Trudeau can’t keep running scared from testing the confidence of the House,” said Jefferies. “We need to roll up our sleeves and get to work on behalf of Canadians.”
Jefferies said Scheer would try to convince Trudeau for certain priorities to be included in his throne speech. They’ll be based on the Conservatives’ priorities for the new Parliament.
Priorities include “keeping Canada united and strong,” “helping Canadians get ahead,” “restoring ethics and accountability in government,” and “getting the energy sector back to work.”
The Liberals won 157 seats this election, enough to form a minority government; the Conservatives came second with 121 MPs.
Trudeau has said he will reveal his new cabinet on November 20 but hasn’t announced when he plans to recall Parliament.
Environment Canada is warning of freezing rain across sections of British Columbia. Icy conditions on numerous highways are expected.
According to the Canadian Press, Arctic air combined with a warm Pacific front throwing moist air will create icy conditions. These conditions will lead to icy rain.
The freezing rain could be mixed with snow near Prince George, Williams Lake, Quesnel, and Stuart-Nechako.
Residents are warned of slippery conditions.
Environment Canada proclaims freezing rain and ice pellets may further spread south late Monday. The direction is toward the South Thompson region and southwest Interior highways, including the Coquihalla and Okanagan Connector.
A special weather statement for the Peace Region has also been issued. The frontal system is expected to produce a “wintry mix” of weather through to Tuesday.