Sunday, 25 November 2012

Pallister disrespects what our veterans fought for

Manitoba CON leader and Fort Whyte
MLA Brian Pallister.

Gave his "rebuke" of the Province's rarely
used policy of allowing students to Opt-Out of
Remembrance Day ceremonies.

Image Source: Alyssa McDonald/Metro Winnipeg 
The Portage Daily Graphic has an article out about the Opt-Out Gate manufactroversy, replete with talking points from various CON politicians expressing "outrage" and "offence" at the rarely used policy.

Manitoba Opposition Leader Brian Pallister rebuked the provincial government on Tuesday as there is no requirement for students attend Remembrance Day ceremonies at schools.

Pallister said the move shows a lack of respect for veterans as he pledged to stand by veterans who "bravely stood up for us."

“These are men and women who left family and friends to put themselves in harm’s way. Many made the ultimate sacrifice. Asking Manitoba students to spend an hour of their time is a small price to pay for the freedoms too many take for granted,” said Pallister in a statement.

“It is our duty as citizens to show our respect to those who’ve given us the priceless gifts we enjoy today. Life, liberty and freedom are ours because young men and women were prepared to give up their lives to fight for those principles."

("PCs rebuke NDP stance on student attending services". Jordan Maxwell (Nov. 13, 2012). Portage Daily Graphic.)

So, because veterans died fighting in the name of liberty and freedom it makes perfect sense to deprive people with unconventional views the liberty and freedom to Opt-Out of Remembrance ceremonies?  Yeah, that sounds about right...

...or not.

The Pallister CONs have issued a press release. Perhaps that will clarify matters.

The premier’s misguided assertion in the media that this is a case of religious freedom misses the point. The PC Party is here for Manitoba’s veterans and will stand up for those who bravely stood up for us.

“These are men and women who left family and friends to put themselves in harm’s way. Many made the ultimate sacrifice. Asking Manitoba students to spend an hour of their time is a small price to pay for the freedoms too many take for granted,” says Pallister.

“It is our duty as citizens to show our respect to those who’ve given us the priceless gifts we enjoy today. Life, liberty and freedom are ours because young men and women were prepared to give up their lives to fight for those principles,” adds Pallister.

("NDP Disrespects Veterans". Manitoba PC Press release (Nov. 13, 2012))
"Missing the point"? How, Brian Pallister? In case your party hasn't gotten this, allowing the rare religious or political objector to Remembrance ceremonies (perhaps a radical secular pacifist or more fundamentalist Mennonite Brethren member) to "Opt-Out" is about honouring liberty, even when we don't like the choices people are making. The Premier isn't commending the decision, he's allowing it. Failing to see the difference is the trait of an illiberal mindset utterly inconsistent with the liberties our veterans fought in the name of.

Pallister's really disrespecting veterans. He's disrespecting them by advancing a policy driven by (rightwing) authoritarian urges. The same urges that drove some of the worst men in history, who our veterans gallantly fought against (particularly in World War II). He's embraced a demagogically driven manufactroversy rather than seriously consider the issues affecting veterans. Where is Pallister's indignation when it comes to his former colleagues' disgraceful treatment of our disabled veterans?

Flesh and blood human beings, it seems, are less important to the Manitoba CON leader than symbols.

How else could he get so invested in Opt-Out Gate without holding back due to the significant risk it posses to some children?

A 40 year Legion member noted the risk that Opt-Out Gate demagoguery would provoke bullying. Afterwards, a commenter on this blog, likely stirred up by the frenzy over Opt-Out Gate, considered systematic punching of kids in the nose if they opted out of Remembrance ceremonies.

If a (supposed) adult is talking about punching kids in the nose, imagine what other children would do.

Ignoring bullying is a Harper CONs trait it seems the Pallister CONs share.As is a preference for symbols over real, flesh and blood human beings and liberty.

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4 comments:

  1. I accept your intentions are good but please don't take it upon yourself to prescribe what people fought for. Read Barry Broadfoot's "Six War Years" and you'll find a good many of them joined up for diverse reasons that were anything but altruistic. One of the most effective ways we have of avoiding the mayhem and carnage is to imbue warfighting with spurious nobility.

    I write this as the son of a horribly wounded WWII infantry officer, nephew of an equally messed up bomber gunner and two other artillery types. I too served in Canada's armed forces. From that perspective I can say that we owe it to these people not to make them wear our beliefs, not to exploit their experience to enhance our own.

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    1. Point taken. I should've been more nuanced in describing the complexity, contradictions, & diversity in soldiers motivations to enlist.

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  2. Remembrance Day has nothing to do w/ religion.

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    1. Even if Remembrance Day is not inherently religious, it has deep implications for followers of radically pacifists religions. Sun media & it's die-hard fans, evidently, don't seem to be getting this.

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