Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A bad day for Canada

In fact, a day of shame.

The freshly released video of CSIS interrogating the then-16-year-old Omar Khadr in Guantanamo raises more questions about Canada's complicity in allowing a Canadian -- and an underage one at that -- to spend so many years in an unsanctioned prison.

As if the release of that video wasn't enough cause for shame, today was also the day Canada deported Robin Long, one of the 200 or so American soldiers who have come to Canada because they disagree with Bush's war on Iraq.

The most fitting comment on these events seems to be a section from Keith Maillard's "The Intervention of the Duke" (a piece from his book, Dementia Americana, Ronsdale Press, 1994 which also appears in Crossing Lines, an anthology from Seraphim Editions, 2008). The brilliant leader referred to in the poem is none other than Pierre Elliott Trudeau, a Canadian prime minister who was unafraid to stand up on behalf of Canada and the country's code of honour.


He doesn't look half bad twenty years later --
the only statesman in the western world
who would allow himself to be photographed
upside down above a trampoline. He said no
you may not inquire of any young man arriving at the border
as to his status in the armed forces
of the United States of America.
We thought Canada meant peace.
My eyes filled with tears when I crossed
into Quebec and saw the Maple Leaf flying.
As soon as I could, I became a citizen.
For all my jokes about maple syrup, I was proud.
Now it makes me sick to see my country play the yapping cur,
chasing the tail of the American dog gone barking into war.
- -

O, Stephen Harper, if only you could take a page from the annals of your predecessor. What a great country we might once again be.

No comments: