Perhaps I’ve been wrong. For many years, I supported Canada having very generous, welcoming policies towards refugees and immigrants.
They have enriched our economy, literally; they have expanded our cultural diversity; and, have to admit it, I enjoy a LOT of the foods they’ve introduced … maybe too much; and, MOST turn out to be pretty good citizens.
BUT I believe too many have brought with them some unwelcome baggage: old country hates, prejudices, intolerances and lately, increasing acceptance of intimidation, vandalism and VIOLENCE as a legitimate means of protest.
That has no place in Canada. Period.
Yes, Canada has seen fights, brawls, property damage, even riots on Canadian streets as part of our history too, clashes between various earlier immigrant groups (English, French, Irish, Germans, Italians etc.), as well as political and labour protests, even hockey fan riots in Montreal and Vancouver.
But Canada had never seen anything like the Air India bombing in 1985.
The Montreal-London-Delhi Boeing 747 was blown up at 31,000, almost 190 kilometres west of Ireland, by a bomb planted by Canadian Sikh separatists supporting an independent Khalistan.
Among the 329 dead: 268 Canadian citizens, 27 British citizens and 24 Indian citizens.
” The bombing of Air India Flight 182 is the largest mass killing in Canadian history, the deadliest aviation incident in the history of Air India and was the deadliest act of aviation terrorism until the September 11 attacks in 2001″, according to Wikipedia.
That introduced a whole new level of old-country hatred and conflict brought to our country by immigrants and, yes, even refugees to whom we had opened our hearts and doors.
And I believe since then, while most of us are getting along better, are more accepting of others with different backgrounds and cultures … the huge increase in immigration and refugees has also brought with it some unwelcome baggage: a narrowing of tolerance and respect for other “tribes”.
And more recently, violence, vandalism and victimization of innocents, just on the basis of race and religion, have become commonplace in several Canadian cities.
How did this happen?
Perhaps another mistake I supported is responsible: policies promoting multi-culturalism … instead of a melting pot Canada … thus encouraging the separation, maintenance of “old-country” cultures by immigrants, rather than one-country, one-people assimilation.
Slowly but surely over the past 20 years, ethnic, cultural and even intellectual censorship has reared its ugly head: especially visible on Canadian college/university campuses; where students, faculty, even members of College/University boards have been pressured, culturally intimidated and where too many places of “higher learning” have become paralyzed by activist stifling of free thought in favour of mob political correctness.
In the wider community, public reaction has led to xenophobic hate/fears and increasingly open violence against innocent Asian residents just walking on city streets, shopping or riding transit.
The Center for the Study of Racism and Extremism now ranks Vancouver as worst city in North America for reported anti-Asian hate crimes. Shameful!
And anti-Semitic attacks, vandalism, and intimidation have now reached what should be alarming levels for Canada.
” Over the past week, B’nai Brith Canada’s Anti-Hate Hotline has been ringing off the hook with reports of harassment, vandalism and online bullying from Jews across the country,” A Press Release from the Jewish organization stated Friday.
“Most shockingly, the number of anti-semitic assaults recorded so far in May of 2021 easily surpasses the total for all of 2020, ” it added.
Protests are fine: an important right that ALL Canadians should be able to practice … and respect.
BUT smearing buckets of red paint on the front of an Israeli consulate is vandalism; attacking an old man with a stick or pole is assault; and bringing a weapon (a knife) to a demonstration is unacceptable, as is biting a police officer … but that ALL happened at pro-Palestine demonstrations in Toronto just over the past week.
In Montreal, there was also violence.
“Several hundred demonstrators, draped in Israeli flags, had gathered in a central Montreal square to express solidarity with the Jewish state. Although the protest started peacefully, tensions ratcheted up with the arrival of pro-Palestinian demonstrators and clashes soon broke out, ” according to the publication the Arab News.
“Montreal’s city police force, declared the protests illegal, and squads of riot police intervened, using tear gas to separate and disperse the two groups, according to an AFP journalist at the scene. The police spent much of the afternoon in pursuit of the pro-Palestinian protesters, who spread out and regrouped in commercial streets in the city center,” the Arab journal continued.
“Following the clashes, Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante said on Twitter that “protesting is a right,” but that “intolerance, violence and anti-Semitism have no place here.”
We have witnessed the erosion of Canada’s proud standing as a society where tolerance is the RULE, not the exception; where dialogue is ENCOURAGED, not met with violence; where ethnic, religious and cultural institutions are SAFE from vandalism and destruction … and where people should be able to walk down ANY street without FEAR that their hijab, turban or skullcap will attract derision or physical attack.
I believe when the sociological history of this time period in Canada is written, the large number of immigrants and refugees from Third World nations, bringing with them old-country prejudices and failing to teach their children the new values of their new home will play a role in explaining Canada’s slip from overwhelming tolerance/grace.
We MUST act to get it back!
Police, politicians, prosecutors and every level of government have to GET TOUGH with those who are trying to make violence and vandalism an increasingly legitimate form of action and reaction in Canada.
Throw the book at them!
Too few violent protestors/vandals get arrested or charged, even when they’re caught red-handed damaging property or pummeling opponents; or, the few charges against the worst of them end up being reduced, stayed or dismissed.
This MUST change: enforcement of Canada’s anti-hate laws MUST be stepped up.
And if the culprits are not Canadian citizens, but landed immigrants or refugees, who have imported and now are manifesting their old-world hatreds, intimidation. violence on our streets or campuses, they should be DEPORTED if convicted.
Send them … and their barbaric behaviours … packing.
Canada has enough of problems of intolerance amongst our own, without accommodating violent hate-mongers and vandals from abroad.
They must not be allowed to further pollute our communities with the enmities and brutality from where they came.
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