Thursday, 27 August 2009

Regretting my own cowardice

I took this post down a few days ago, simply because I was afraid of suffering professionally for stating the obvious about Canadian politics and Canada's relationship to the United States. I also thought some people might not see be able to understand that some aspects of this letter to Mr. Harper are tongue in cheek. I regret that. The day we give in to bullies is the day we give up. So I'm reposting:

I am appalled at federal government's willingness to go along with hearsay and to allow any Canadian to be tried in the American media. Further, I am appalled the government's demonstrated willingness, in several instances, to turn Canadians over to torture in other countries, simply to pursue a 'friendship' that is more wishful thinking that reality. Countries have interests that sometimes align with other national communites. They do not have friends.

Monday, 24 August, 2009

Right Honourable Stephen Harper, MP
Prime Minister of Canada
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
K1A 0A2

Dear Right Honourable Mr. Prime Minister:

Did a little on line research that I think might help prepare you for your next trip to Washington. I wanted to know if America really is our 'best friend,' like you've told us.

If Americans like us, it just doesn't make sense that I keep hearing stories about Fox News having to apologise for threatening invasion and insulting our Armed Forces. And I wondered why the MLB forgot to find someone to sing our national anthem at a Major League Baseball game a few weeks ago. And why did Dr. Phil sneer when David Foster talked about Canada and Celine Dion. (No, I will not make a Celine joke.)

So, I decided, to take a look at American websites, like CNN and TMZ, which of course, is actually TMZed in Canada and pretty much everywhere else proper English is spoken.

Some of the 'news' sites seemed to think we aren't allowed to make an appointment with a doctor and that Canada kills its elderly and disabled people. (That must be why most of my relatives die when they reach their late 80's or early nineties? I want this practice stopped immediately. No one should be dying in Canada.)

But my favourite site was TMZed. It had the most stuff about what Americans think about Canada on it.

TMZed was following the Jenkins' manhunt. (It's the case where an unfortunate American realtor/pin-up girl was murdered when she decided to go visit her ex-current boyfirend in Las Vegas; and her Canadian boyfriend/husband realtor/reality star reported her missing then became a suspect in her killing after he escaped from the US Coast Guard and walked across a road to Canada.) I know it's enough to make your head spin. Apparently, life is real complicated in the States. No wonder they think we're boring.

Here`s what I learned on TMZed, following the Jenkin's search. Americans don't know that Canadians are their 'best friends.' More interesting stuff, I never knew about Americans:

Americans who comment on TMZed, by and large, do not believe that a person is innocent until proven guilty. They believe that it is ok to harass parents of people charged with crimes at their place of work (Eg. One individual posted Mr. Jenkins' father's website and told people to email him hate mail.) Guess the 18th century 'rebellion' really was just a bunch of colonists not paying their taxes and wanting to move on to Indian Territories without treaties. Sad.

They appear to believe that a person`s right to live is determined by their looks and lifestyle and that sex trade workers deserve to die. (A lot them thought the young woman in this case deserved her fate because she was a quote: 'skank'.

They believe that is it ok to rape and torture prisoners in jails (against international law.) In fact, some commenters were hoping to have Mr. Jenkins' raped and tortured by the other inmates, even though he had not been found guilty of anything. (I'm sure the American Ambassador and Obama don't think it's ok to rape and torture prisoners, do they? And you don't either, do you? I certainly hope not. Otherwise, I will not vote for any Conservative candidate as long as you are leader.)

Comments like 'Canadians are stupid, are pretty common' on TMZed. Somebody commenting on the site even said that no one should ever date a Canadian man because they are, apparently, all sociopaths. (I'm married to a Canadian man and he seems ok. I'm sure there are no sociopaths sitting in the House of Commons, either. Right?)

They also think that most of us are pining away to get a green cards. I'm not. Are you?

Many Americans believe that when a suspect has died, that no other possiblities should be pursued, even though the suspect was known to have a serious gambling addiction and to be involved with loan sharks. And the parents of the suspect do not believe he committed the crime. (I guess the concept of proven 'beyond a shadow of a doubt' doesn't matter anymore to most Americans.)

They also appear to think that it's ok to council people to commit suicide.(This morning there were comments on TMZed by individuals who hoped that threats of prison rape and torture were read by Mr. Jenkins. They also hoped those comments provoked him to kill himself. This is most perplexing for a nation that claims to believe in 'innocent until proven guilty' and promises to give fair trials to everyone, including Canadians.

Neither TMZed or its bloggers seem to be aware of recent court rulings that make anonymous slander of individuals on the internet something that can be prosecuted. (You may want to mention these observations to Obama, when you next see him. Ask him about the 'friend' thing too. He needs to come clean on this.)

A couple more requests: Please pull our troops out of Afganistan immediately. We should not be helping people that think torturing inmates is ok, treat our citizens with disrespect, and can't figure out if our national police force is called 'mounty', 'mountain', or 'mountain.'

Oh yes, I know you think that this is not a U.S. war because our NATO and Commonwealth partners are participating. You think the war is protecting our own security. I used to think that, too. But I started doubting it when Afghanistan passed a law that allows men to starve their wives for having too many 'headaches' at bedtime. And, I really don't think we should be siding with people that think it's ok to rape prisoners and drive suspects to suicide before they get a fair trial.

Another thing, when you head to Washington to meet Obama this fall (assuming you are not in the middle of a general election campaign) can you please refrain from calling America our, 'best friend.' It's kind of embarassing because you, Mr. Brown and Mr. Rudd all insist your countries are America's 'best' friend. (Maybe you should take your rightful leadership role as the Prime Minister of the largest Commonwealth Realm. Just pull the Aussie and Brit PM's aside at the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, and demand that the three of you sort the thing out, once and for all. You cannot ALL be the Obama's best friend.)

You might also ask Brown why he hogged the Queen in the photos at last G-20 meeting. Oh, right, you probably don't want to bring up the photo shoots in London. Darned BBC, can't even respect a PM's need for a mini-break.

How about you get your speech writer to come up with something polite & positive, but more honest? Perhaps we could call the Americans our 'closest geographical neighbour whom we trade stuff with.' Or maybe this: 'The owners of that lovely White House we admire so much that we have not lit it on fire in nearly 200 years.' Awkward, I know. Work on it.

When you go to Washington, be nice, but don't act like you really need a "friend." (And try to get out of that oil clause in NAFTA. Or at least demand that they refine the stuff here. If they balk, remind them about the Softwood Lumber thing.) Stand up and make us proud. Tuck your shirt in, but don't buy a new suit. The Americans won't be watching and we already know what you look like.

Thank you for you reading my letter.


Jane Harris Zsovan
An actual Canadian who will vote in the Next General Election
I really think we owe 'real Americans' on TMZed and the other websites I visited a thank you for their honesty. It's good to know how they really feel about Canada, their largest trading partner.

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