Wednesday, November 6, 2013
My Dear Canada,
The days have been dark of late. Your leaders have lost their purpose. Your institutions have betrayed your values. And your name, my dearest friend, has been dragged through the mud of politics and personal gain yet again for far too long.
I am writing to you to say sorry. To ask for forgiveness. Words cannot express how shameful I feel, how guilty I am. I have let you down and, at times, I must confess, feel powerless to aid you.
To start off, I must apologize on behalf of my Prime Minister. Last weekend, at his convention in Calgary, he accused the guardians of your Constitution, your courts, of being “obstacles.” Please, dear Canada, my home, my love, understand that my leader speaks in his name and not in the name of all. I would imagine that most Canadians are aware of the value you have vested in the judiciary, and agree with your decision to do so. As you well know, my Prime Minister is living through very difficult times on the Hill. I am afraid that he may be confused, stressed and even scared or unsure of his future as your leader. I am not trying to defend him or justify his blasphemy, but I am begging you to see that power has completely possessed him and emptied him of all reasonableness, openness and humanity.
Your Senate, the institution that was originally meant to protect regions and minority interests in Canada, has now been engulfed by scandal and sadness. I know that my politicians have called to abolish it, deeming it a waste of your resources and money. They, and the media, have taken the darkest, most disdainful, colors of the upper chamber and, with these colors of greed, deceit, and revenge, have painted the entire institution in shadows of grey and black. All this, while those who do fight in the Senate for regionalism and for the interests of your most vulnerable and voiceless citizens have been purposefully ignored. What’s more, I must regret, the Senate for far too long has been enslaved by partisan agendas and political rhetoric. This was best illustrated this week, as three of your senators have been removed, with no due process, at the demand of your Prime Minister’s office. Again, I believe he has done so as a result of his overwhelming fear and worry. In the past, he has already been held in contempt of Parliament, and is now desperately trying to escape from yet another fragile issue. These three senators’ past actions are agreeably concerning, yet they should have been entitled to the laws of your fundamental, natural, justice. Unfortunately, they are bound by the decisions of the institution to which they belong, the latter having become a stage for puppets strung by the PMO. It is doubtful that the nature of your parliamentary system will allow your guardians to act, in spite of the blatant and obvious abuse of power.
The current leadership only views you through the eyes of numbers, economic gain and money. They see you solely as a resource for exploitation and enrichment. You have been stripped of your dignity, criticized for your values, and condemned for your constitution. Your scientists have been silenced. Your environment has been de-prioritized. Your reputation abroad has been hurt. And your beauty and quality have been damaged. You have indeed been stung with the human poison of ethical poverty and indifference that for the past while has slowly filled the veins of your once healthy body.
I am sorry. Why me, you may ask? Because I am Canadian and I am part of you. What happens to you, to your people, to your land, to your soul, is also my responsibility. I cannot wash my hands clean. Nor can I allot blame to one individual or one group. And I cannot say that I do not play a part in what my fellow citizens do. Opining otherwise accomplishes nothing and leads to absurdity. For that reason, my most cherished and eternal companion, I am sincerely sorry.
That said, I urge you to hang in there. Be as strong as you can. While you may be young, I know that the pillars on which you were built were designed to handle disasters worse than the ones you face today. Your foundation was also intended to weather greater storms than the ones who currently overshadow you. And, the determination and faith of your people were also intended to survive for much, much longer. I have no doubt that your principles of federalism, democracy, constitutionalism and the protection of minorities will also endure, in spite of the menace, betrayal and test they face within the highest echelons of your government.
Politics and tragedy aside, I am looking forward to the Holiday Season, during which time your whiteness glitters in multicoloured beauty, your trees shine with small stars attached to their frozen branches, and your people are reminded of the virtues of generosity, peace and kindness, all of which, in my opinion, reflect your true self.
Write soon, love always, et à bientôt,
Photo courtesy of Mike on Flickr
Stéphane Erickson holds a Bilingual Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Alberta and is currently a J.D. and LL.L. candidate in the Programme de droit canadien at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law.