In this 21st Century – on this Remembrance Day – Let’s Pledge To Define Canada’s Identity on the World Stage as an Uncompromising  Leader for Peace and for Fighting Climate Change

We Should Honour Those Who Fought For Our Rights And Freedoms by Using Them to fight for the Common Good

A Commentary by Doug Draper

Posted November 11th, 2018 on Niagara At Large

A Remembrance Day column, written by retired general and former chief of the defence staff for the Canadian Forces Rick Hillier and published this November 10th in The Globe and Mail, carries the headline; “Canada was forged in the trenches of the First World War,” and begins as follows –

“Life is busy in Canada and for that reason, there seems to be only a fleeting moment in November when any of us pay attention to our history. Nevertheless, Canadians need to remember because in the mud and horror of the First World War, our nation was forged.”

Veterans “Lest We Forget” Memorial and Canadian Flag, St. Catherines, Ontario

In a statement he sent home from 100th year Remembrance and Armistice Day ceremonies in Europe this November 11th, Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, echoed a similar sentiment.

During the final hundred days of the First World War,” said the Prime Minister, “Canadians spearheaded attacks that overcame the last lines of German defenses and paved the way to final victory. These soldiers were the face and strength of a young country that sacrificed beyond measure and never faltered in its duty.

“Their bravery garnered the respect and admiration of the world, and marked a turning point for Canada. We began to define ourselves as a country – a force on the world stage, confident, and in control of our own destiny.”

When will it ever end? A young Canadian is brought home from war-torn Afghanistan

The last thing I would ever want to question or take away from is the bravery and sacrifice those who served us during time of war have made in the name of our freedoms and democracy.

In fact we should all try to do a better job of honouring that bravery and sacrificed than by just wearing a poppy for a few days every November or by spending a buck or two on a “support our troops” decal to stick on the bumper of our car.

We could start by getting more engaged in the civic affairs of our communities and our country, and by actually going out and voting, which six out of every ten of us across Niagara did not bother to do in this past October 22nd municipal elections.

I often find it a little odd or sad when I describe someone in a column I write about as a “community activist” or, in the case of protecting our natural environment or stopping animal abuse as an “environmental activist” or an “animal rights activist.”

Out of respect for those who fought and died for our rights and freedoms, we should all  get more engaged in the affairs of our communities and country.  We should all be activists!

But getting back to the idea of Canada first defining itself or coming into its own as a nation through its sacrifice of young people in a horrific war most agree today should never have happened save for the power-grabbing and greed of a handful of autocrats and a series of catastrophic blunders, it is also sad to think that a relatively peaceful nation like ours came into its own as a nation of the world through war.

In this 21st Century, I think one of the most meaningful ways we can honour those who fought for our rights and freedoms – not just on Remembrance Day or for a few weeks each year – is to get more engaged in civic affairs and to work every day to define Canada as an uncompromising world leader in humanitarian and peace-making endeavours, and in fighting what a multitude of experts around the world is calling us the most urgent and dangerous crisis of our times, climate change.

 

 

 

 

 

A hundred years after a world war that claimed more than 60,000 Canadian lives and hundreds of thousands of others – a war that set the tone for the one of the bloodiest centuries in human history – those seem like some nation-defining goals that might do those who fought for our rights and freedoms proud.

I will leave you with one of my all-time favourite anti-war songs, written by Pete Seeger, and performed here by Peter, Paul & Mary – 

Here is the Remembrance Day statement from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau –

November 11, 2018
Ottawa, Ontario

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on Remembrance Day:

National War Memorial in Ottawa, Canada

“Today, we honour every Canadian who has served and sacrificed so we may live free. We fall silent to acknowledge a debt we can never repay. We remember.

“One hundred years ago today, the Armistice between Germany and the Allies ended the First World War. As we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armistice, we also mark Canada’s Hundred Days.

“During the ‘100 Days Offensive,’ Canadians spearheaded attacks that overcame the last lines of German defences and paved the way to final victory. These soldiers were the face and strength of a young country that sacrificed beyond measure and never faltered in its duty.

“Their bravery garnered the respect and admiration of the world, and marked a turning point for Canada. We began to define ourselves as a country – a force on the world stage, confident, and in control of our own destiny.

“Since then, every generation of Canadians has stepped forward to serve. Thousands have fought, and continue to fight, to defend the principles of peace, freedom, and democracy around the world.

“At 11:00 am, I call on all Canadians to observe the two minutes of silence. We remember every Canadian who has sacrificed their future for generations beyond their own. We stand today, free and at peace, because of them.

“Lest we forget.”

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space following the Bernie Sanders quote below.

A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who also share their first and last names.

For more news and commentary from Niagara At Large – an independent, alternative voice for our greater bi-national Niagara region – become a regular visitor and subscriber to NAL at www.niagaraatlarge.com .

 “A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders

Advertisements

2 responses to “In this 21st Century – on this Remembrance Day – Let’s Pledge To Define Canada’s Identity on the World Stage as an Uncompromising  Leader for Peace and for Fighting Climate Change

  1. Thank you for these thoughtful words and this wine admonition, Doug. Let us not forget that the victory of Vimy Ridge is recognized as having forged Canada as a nation because the significance of this battle to the outcome of the war, and the courage and sacrifice of our soldiers, meant that Canada was included as a signatory to the Treaty of Versailles that officially ended the war. That was the first occasion on which Canada signed an international treaty as a separate entity, rather than a colony. The sacrifice was followed by the Peace Treaty — a good way for a nation to come of age.

    Like

  2. In the 1960’s Canada became evident to me in contrast to the US; I’ve been amazed at the civility and maturity of your people and politics. Canada has the maturity that realizes values are worth sacrifice; with a sense of value for human life as each is a member of a valued community. Horrific war losses are always felt by the family and community yet I see Canadian people value each loss across all Provinces.
    This curious character of Canadians has been created by a people striving for a good life and valued leadership. Canadians know that there are others standing right beside them with the same hopes, feelings, loves and values. My family has prized the chances to learn from your character, reflected poignantly by Trudeau, and ignorantly by Trump.
    – Steve Rowan, Wolfe Island and Cape Cod.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s