Let’s clean up our own house first

There are times when I find myself returning to old conclusions.

There are times when I find myself returning to old conclusions.

One important one, from my personal point of view, is that Canada, as a country, too often bites off more that it can chew.

We should try to mind our own business more.

For two reasons, first because there are too many crises on so many fronts in Canada alone that it is a fulltime and overwhelming challenge to get our own house in order.

Secondly, our record of success in establishing equality, fighting child poverty and the pursuit of commonsense human rights is not in all cases an example to the world.

That is not to say that we should not keep a watchful eye on the rest of the world, based on the need to protect our own best interests. But this should be done with limitations.

Among these limitations I would place recent controversial efforts by Canada in to put millions into issues of religious freedoms in foreign lands.

That’s not in our interests. The Crusades were pre-Canada, in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries, demonstrating that 300 years at war achieved zip.

This is the 21st Century.

We do not have the resources and should not have the empire-building will to mould other cultures to our own way of thinking.

Where other cultures, such as radical Islam, intrude directly or indirectly into our way of life, yes, we need to have some strong perspectives and prepared responses, particularly if this intrusion is aggressive and violent.

I want Canada out of war in Afghanistan. Period.

I’m not alone in this – but I know I’m bucking a solid argument that this could blind us to the long term impacts of the spread of radical Islamic mores.

To me its like owning a boat – hole in the water and money and all that. You can’t rebuild Afghanistan. Too many people have tried.

While I acknowledge our preferred presence in international affairs should be in the United Nations, I doubt the ability of a divisive  United Nations to act to bring peace to the many hot spots of the world.

We need to pick our spots on where we will focus in our United Nations role. We are not required to be role models in all areas – or top-five funders in all areas.

We cannot resolve all disaster situations with cash donations -along with more matched cash from the same source, the taxpayer.

Thus, when I hear for the umpteenth time that first nations communities see the United Nations as a preferred alternative to achieve their objectives in Canada, again I despair.

If they expect meaningful  recognition of their legitimate human rights and action from members states of the UN human rights community such as Iran, Bangladesh, Angola, North Korea, Cuba, Sudan and the Syrian Arab Republic, I fear that they are barking up the wrong tree.

Relations between federal aboriginal affairs regulators and their provincial counterparts are now mired in broken promises, political and local corruption and especially the short-sighted brick wall of posturing that has left the Canadian public totally divided about how to achieve some form of justice and decency for the down-trodden on our reservations, while facing the bills with no means of control.

The young and the elderly are being hurt, and the blame has to be shared by first nations band leadership and management, all levels of government and mostly by the historical positions taken and held by both in the ongoing horribly endless form of trench-warfare where the “mustard gas” is taxpayers money and its use and control keeps us divided.

Media says it’s not a blame game – but that’s not what I see.

Life goes on. The same issues arise time and again, then slip into obscurity only to arise again, worse than before. The public has a limited say, despite the thousands who occupy, protest, cause damage, even riot as they struggle to make a point against the might of big business and government.

Government tends to say, “we’re listening” but their actions rarely suggest this is true.

There is no doubt the current Conservative majority government has an agenda and a timetable to implement that agenda through legislation.

Half of Canadians will cheer and the rest will jeer. I’d cheer more if the bulk of our government’s agenda was directed to home-based Canadian issues, accompanied by rational argument that excludes dogma and bias – but that may be expecting too much, too quickly.

We are part of a bigger world, but our beliefs on how countries should be run would be much stronger is we could point to real achievements in our own country, achievements that are a result of minding our own business first!

 

ahewitson@telus.net

 

 

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