Friday, July 01, 2005

Oh Canada!

Today is my first Canada Day in Canada! Compared to the independence day of it's southern neighbour (new spelling, eh?), Canada Day is a much more muted affair. Of course it stands to reason when you think about how it took Americans a whole war to do what the Canadians did by signing a few papers. One has to wonder if violence as a problem-solving strategy hasn't been entrenched in the American psyche since the very beginning of its existence.

This difference was apparent even in a casual conversation I had today with a local. We were discussing the prison release of Karla Homalka, who helped her husband rape and murder several young women. She is asking the Canadian government to make her release date private. I immediately jumped to the conclusion that she was fearing a vigilante execution as soon as she stepped out of prison (ie Jack Ruby vrs. Lee Harvey Oswald). However, my Canadian companion denied that this is a foregone conclusion here. Apparently despite hard-feelings, no Canadian feels their lives are worth giving up just to off a criminal like Homalka. In the States, there would be no shortage of volunteers.

On a completely unrelated note, I'd like to thank those in the Canadian House of Commons for putting their political careers at risk to approve a bill extending marriage to same-sex couples. When this bill passes the Senate, Canada will join Belgium, Netherlands and Spain in giving full benefits and privileges to all, regardless of who they love (And no, I don't believe this opens the door to polygamy or legalized pedophilla and bestiality. People who throw this argument on the table are just grasping for straws.).

I find it humbling that people care about something that only affects a small minority. Issues like education and health care have much more wide reaching benefits. However when Prime Minister Paul Martin made the following comment, it struck me: the rights of a minority should be the concern of everyone.
"The Charter was enshrined to ensure that the rights of minorities are not subjected, are never subjected, to the will of the majority. The rights of Canadians who belong to a minority group must always be protected by virtue of their status as citizens, regardless of their numbers. These rights must never be left vulnerable to the impulses of the majority."

So on this day of celebration I would like to say thank you Paul Martin. Thank you Parliment members. Thank you Canada!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm just afraid that I'm going to come visit you in your beloved Canada and you will have a maple leaf tattooed on your butt. I'm also afraid you will never come home. Mostly I'm happy for you, and a little sad for me.