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Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Maturity, Coloured Glasses, and Blinders

The following article by Guidy Mamann, "Time to take off 9/11-coloured glasses", reminded me of something that happened to me when I was young. When I was in Grade 8, my friends and I were basically divided into two camps. One group was basically planning on going to one yeshiva (Jewish high school) for the following year while the other was planning on going to another. Of course, there were some overlaps and undecideds. When the time came, each yeshiva gave a preliminary entrance exam to those who were interested. Some people, including a friend of mine, wanted to keep their options open and took exams at both. I, however, was not planning on attending one of them so I didn't bother taking the exam. When I told my friend that I was not planning on taking the exam, he told me something to the effect, "Oh, you are just doing whatever your parents tell you to do! Why don't you stand up for yourself?" I didn't answer him, but to my 13 year old mind it was a little perplexing. Yes, I was following what my parents wanted. But at the same time, it was what I wanted. I had never seriously entertained going to the other yeshiva nor did I want to. I happened to be in perfect agreement with my parents and it had nothing to do with them "telling me what to do". In other words, as everyone who was once a teen knows, maturity is not simply being independant and doing everything the opposite of what their parents want. It is the ability of making one's own mature (and hopefully correct) decisions which in many cases, may be the same as one's parents. The reason I bring this up is because the sense I get from the article (and other sources as well) is that there is a perception that Canada is the "child" to the USA, the "parent". As Mr. Mamann writes:
Unfortunately, since Sept. 11, 2001, our federal government has acted as if we were “guilty as charged.” To appease our American friends, we have adopted every idiotic airline security measure asked of us...
In other words, we are the "child" who is doing what our "parent" is telling us to do regarding post 9-11 security. But like my friend along time ago, he doesn't understand. Canada is not doing "America's bidding". Canada can and does make its own independant decisions. As 9-11 made abundantly clear, the security measures that were in place before were inadequate. As Mr. Mamann himself says:
The fact is that the 9/11 hijackers were admitted to the U.S. by U.S. border officials. Not by ours. While sympathy is due, we bear absolutely no culpability for these events.
If that is true, then security needed to be upgraded and it has been upgraded. What that also means is that not only does it make sense for the Americans to do so, it also makes sense for Canada to do so. Because while the 9-11 hijackers did not come from Canada into the US, there is nothing to make us believe that terrorists and their supporters would not try to do so at all in the future. That being the case, I think someone else needs to take off their blinders and realize that Canada does not just simply bow to the wishes of the US but that, believe it or not, the Americans may actually be right. Mr. Mamann followed this same logic last year when I commented about his article on the Jeremy Hinzman case. His belief there as to why no politician would make any statement of public policy on US soldier "refugee" claimants was simply due to them not wanted to "anger our friends to the south" and in failing to do so have not made "public policy that defines who we are as a people".


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