Thu, Aug
25
2005

Patriotism Really is the Last Refuge of the Scoundrel

Thu, Aug 25, 2005

When you rip away the unproven allegations that Governor General nominee Michaelle Jean was associated with the FLQ and other separatists, the excuses being made as to why she’s such a bad nominee would be funny if they didn’t bely something darker.

I’m only talking about a small subset of complaints, here. Questions over whether Jean is qualified for the job are fair, although I have to ask, just what is it that qualifies one to be a Governor General? How difficult is it to keep your head in a (rare) constitutional crisis, and be a dignified and non-partisan head of state for Canada? If allegations of FLQ connections can be proven (and the silence is growing, here), then I think Paul Martin has some explaining to do, but beyond that, a number of critics are taking aim at Jean’s French/Canadian dual citizenship.

My wife is about to become a dual citizen (Canada/U.S.). So is my yet-to-be-born daughter. How exactly does that make them unfit to eventually assume the post of Vice Regal in this country? Some commentators have said that this controversy isn’t being given the attention it deserves because Jean’s dual citizenship is with France. Here’s what Ron Freedman, co-founder of The Impact Group, a Toronto global consulting firm had to say:

Though the governor general position is “above politics,” it is indirectly involved in them, he says. So, for Jean’s allegiance to be in no doubt, she should renounce the French citizenship she took up upon her marriage in 1990.

Freedman is surprised there hasn’t been as much comment on Jean’s dual status as on her alleged-and-denied Quebec separatist sympathies. It’s only because the second country is France, he speculates.

“But what if a future governor-general is a dual citizen with North Korea or Zimbabwe or the U.S.? Imagine the outcry.”

Well, maybe there would be such an outcry. It would still be wrong. (Hat tip to Brent for the link)

I understand the need for a distinction between landed immigrants and citizens in this country. Citizenship should take some time and effort to receive. But once achieved, that should be it: a Canadian citizen should be the equal of any other Canadian citizen regardless of whether or not that citizen was born in Canada, or in the United States, or elsewhere.

The suggestions, by such people as Wild Rose MP Myron Thompson (himself an American-born Canadian), that both the Governor General and the Prime Minister be natural born Canadians raises the spectre of creating a special class of Canadians and excluding a large number on the basis of what is essentially a whim. It is a statement that, in this nation of immigrants, those who work hard to come here, and believe in Canada enough to take citizenship, aren’t Canadian enough.

And the baldfaced political motivations of these statements — the fact that they’d never have been made unless some people saw the opportunity to embarrass Paul Martin — makes them all the worse.

The first Canadian-born Governor General didn’t take office until 1952 (Vincent Massey). Most of us come from away, or have parents or grandparents who come from away. Even today, 691,000 of us hold citizenships with another country, but are committed Canadian citizens. How dare anybody question our commitment to this nation?


Klingon Fairy Tales

“Goldilocks Dies With Honor at the Hands of the Three Bears”

“Snow White and the Six Dwarves She Killed With Her Bare Hands and the Seventh Dwarf She Let Get Away as a Warning to Others”

“There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe With a Big Spike on It”

Definitely worth reading (hat tip to John Gushue)


Woah

Ever wonder what it looks like when a road washes out?

washout.jpg

What’s even more interesting is the nine other photographs that show the washout in progress, found here.

This photograph comes courtesy of Spacing Magazine’s The Wire, which is now going on my must-read list…


On This Day

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