Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Canada-haters, honest critics, and separatists

Over at BlogsCanada, Jim Elve calls on the right to quash Canada-haters, pointing to the collection of comments collected by Peace, Order, and Good Government. The discussion continues, and several commentators point out that many of the anti-Canada posts are not anti-Canada per se, but critical of various aspects of our character and polity, an act that need not be interpreted as anti-patriotic.

The 'smoking (shot)-gun' for the charges of Canada-haters come from comments to several entries in the Western Standard's blog (here and here). I choose several examples that I think illustrate different attitudes. First,
"In short, a Canadian Liberal is a liar, a thief, a bigot, and narcissist, but accuse others of the same. A Canadian conservative is an honest, hardworking person who just wants to make a living and provide for their family."
This post gives us no grounds to complain about anti-Canadianism. This is merely a piece of partisan polemic asserting the virtue of its political soul-mates and the vices of its opponents. This is not anti-Canada, but anti-Liberal. Compare this to
"I'm ashamed to be Canadian. Ashamed of our refusal to assist others, whether it be in the fight against terrorism or our fake committments to the tsunami relief. Our refusal to reform the UN but to instead be an intimate part of its corruption. I'm ashamed of our consistent smug superiority, our condescension to others and our utter ignorance of the hard realities of the world."
Again, I don't think this is necessarily the post of a Canada-hater. Instead, it is someone who is disappointed in a series of political decisions that Canada's government has made over the last decade or so. My third case, however, is something different.
"No one can detest Canada more than I. It's racism, fascism and apartheid are all too obvious. The sooner Alberta leaves this putrid dictatorship, the better off our people will be."
Here, of course, is a Canada-hater: he self-identifies. Nothing could be clearer.

The calls made by Jim Elve, POGGE, and (I'm sure) others that conservative bloggers to quash anti-Canadianism misses the mark. The problem is not so much anti-Canadianism but separatism, and a tendency of conservative commentators to try to use the rise of separatism for their own political ends.

[Edited and revised]

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