The last word

I can scarcely apologize for the content of this issue of Canscene. It voices many personal worries and discontents concerning the future of humankind. But discontents are materials to build on: for good or ill.

On a recent re-reading of Canadian historian Margaret Macmillan’s magnificent Paris, 1919 which described the fateful Versailles Peace Conference after the ending of The First World War, I marvelled at the number of land swaps that were made, creating the seeds of present discontent.

But the greatest tragedy of all was that future superpower America, through its legislators, threw away President Wilson’s dream of his country’s participation in a League of Nations the organization of which was his idea.

One year remains to George W. Bush’s lame duck presidency after which we must fervently hope that with China, Russia and India in the ascendancy as superpowers, the United States may find the kind of leadership enabling its people to see themselves in a global perspective.

And may Canadian leaders find the courage to speak up for our country as a moral superpower facing issues not just good for Canada, but for the peoples of the world.

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3 Responses to “The last word”

  1. Manuel Escott Says:

    To the Editor: I read with interest your Canscene item on Margaret Macmillan’s book on the fateful 1919 Versailles Conference in which you hoped our leaders would speak up for us as a moral superpower. However, the idea of anyone speaking for Canada in that sense strikes me as somewhat hollow.

    Would this be the same nation that robbed aboriginal peoples of their land and then tried to rob them of their language, culture and spirituality? The same nation that produced the ongoing horror of the church-run residential schools for aboriginal children? I say “ongoing” since according to the Globe and Mail recently the RCMP has been asked to probe criminal deaths at these schools. This of course is the same RCMP that rounded up these kids to take them there, that relentlessly pursued any confused and unhappy runaway.

    The same RCMP which so botched the Air India bombing investigation, whose officer shot dead a kid in a Prince George during a struggle, whose officers tasered to death a Polish immigrant in a tragic incident at Vancouver airport: the rap sheet against the force is a long one.

    And one wonders about the morality of Prime Minister Mackenzie King, a rabid anti-Semite, whose government turned away a ship laden with Jewish refugees attempting to escape Hitler(as did the U.S.). “One is too many,” was a comment made by him or one of his colleagues.

    On the credit side, Canada played a vital role in the Underground Railroad and our role in U.N. peacekeeping operations. It’s enough to barely avoid accusations of hypocrisy when we hear the words”moral superpower.”

    Yours truly, Manuel Escott.

  2. Ben Says:

    Thank you, Manny for your views.

    Of course, I acknowledge past ills, but I was looking to the future. The Canadian present is far from perfect but the thought I had in mind was the hope that we can build on the reputation we now have for such qualities as Canadian multiculturalism, our peacekeeping record and a growing but modest sense of nationalism. Our shortcomings include the federal government’s double sense of values where human rights and the environment are concerned.

  3. gina valle Says:

    Dear Editor: It is with great anticipation that I await a shift in the USA’s role as a superpower. Of course, they will not share that power and it will only subside when it is taken away from them. You mention China, India, Russia – a tad worrisome for us westerners, but a truth to reckon with nonetheless. Thank you for your Canscene persepctive and newsletter.

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