Little Fish in a Giant pond

Friday, August 04, 2006

Canada's collective sneeze

Well, after a prolonged absence, I am back to the blogging world by popular demand! (by which I mean, two or three people have suggested that they were slightly less than indifferent about whether or not I wished to continue blogging). At any rate, I'm back.

I have been meaning to start up again for a little while now, and found myself somewhat uninspired, since most of the important subjects are already being discussed on other blogs, but something caught my ear the other day that I found just a little disturbing.

I was watching the news and caught the tail end of a speach made by Prime Minister Steven Harper, it contained the usual rantings of a Prime Minister who is so used to being in the opposition that he did little more than attack the Liberals, but this isn't what vexed me. As he finished off his speech, the prime minister chose to look directly at the camera and say "God bless Canada".

Right off the bat, let's get a one thing straight. I have no problem with Canada being blessed by God, Visnu, Zoroastre, or Don Cherry for that matter.

What makes me just a little bit nervous is that our prime minister is our head of government, and he is supposed to be separate from the church. This kind of talk might mean a lot to the Sunday morning crowd, and any Canadian who happened to have been sneezing at the moment of the PM's speech, but what kind of message is he sending to Canadians that don't believe in the God whose blessing he is dispensing? Or to those who believe in no God at all? Was he only addressing a certain crowd of Canadians?

If he was any other person this would not have bothered me in the slightest. But this is our prime minister, and I don't think it's appropriate for him to be uttering blessings that mean something to one group of Canadians and nothing to others. If Mr. Harper wants to practice his own religion, he has every right to do so, as long as it does not interfere with his prime ministerial duties.

I'm not sure of whether or not Liberal PMs have done the same thing (though I'm sure if you go back far enough, it won't be hard to find), but if they have, I would still consider this to be inappropriate, particularly if it were to have occured within the modern setting.

I realize "Steve" seems to think that whatever happens down south, should be considered the ideal way of persuing democracy, but frankly I think the PM needs to take a step back and realize that he just does not quite have the spiritual muscle of a man that calls himself "dubya".


  • Oh G-Dub!

    See I think Hedonist might have a problem with your posting Fish my man! Haha!

    Your history is a little off thought, our national anthem is more religious than the American one! We have a strong connection to the Christian faith in the foundation of our government. But nonetheless I agree with you Fishy!

    The Prime Minister should be representing all Canadians...but we all know this Prime Minister and the Conservative Party only cares about certain demographics and only those who vote for them, no one else... (yes I am trying to shit disturb hahahah) - We should be doing this we are now in Opposition.

    Harper also needs to get off the campaign trail. He has a government to run. He does not know how to "govern" a country - he thinks he can just cater to certain ethnic groups.

    Good to have you back in the Blogosphere! It is also nice to see the policy director finally doing his job! HAHAHA - Just razzing ya!

    By Blogger UofOLiberal, at 10:12 PM  

  • I'm not part of "young liberals" but I agree with Bri ! Harper shouldn't be mixing religion and politics, mainly because Canada has a "long" tradition of seperating those fields. I would personally not have particularly noticed if Harper said that in a speech, nor do i listen to his speeches in the summer.

    Saddly, i'd rather spend my time fishing (limit caught in 2 hours or less) and blueberry picking (and they are delicious!). Thought i'd make you a little bit jealous Fish! May the great Indian Spirit bless Northern Ontario!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:02 AM  

  • lol

    Thanks for the blessing Mel! I'm am so jealous of your angling fortunes!

    Mac, who said anything about our national anthem? I was actually referring to the habit of most American presidents for ending their speeches with the words "God bless America".

    By Blogger Fish, at 7:45 AM  

  • Fishy boy...I know what you were referring to! I was simply demonstrating the deep connection historically between the Christian faith and government in Canada. Now if Harper wants to dwell in the 19th Century - like all Conservatives - that is his perogative. Canadian government and more recently as a result of precedence, the Prime Minister should be representing all Canadians not just one constituency. Now granted, the Westminster Parliamentary System "allows" for such a stance, but just because you are allowed to do something doesn't make it right.

    Long and the short of it is...I agree with you Bri, so take it ease! hahahahaha See ya soon when you are back in town. We will disagree to agree over a pint soon enough!

    By Blogger UofOLiberal, at 7:53 AM  

  • It's all good buddy! Just be careful about accusing history grad of being off on his history!

    I'm looking forward to that pint!

    By Blogger Fish, at 8:12 AM  

  • Hahaha but you are in law now...can we really trust what you are telling us?? hahahahah - had to, couldnt resist!

    Take care good sir, see you in a few weeks.

    By Blogger UofOLiberal, at 2:49 PM  

  • Fish... What'd you expect man... I totally agree with you on this one. Nonetheless, if we (the liberals) would bring this up to Harper, changes are he would use this to paint us as anti-christian and anti-tradition, while he could give another boost to his christian-right wing backers.

    Let the non-christians find that out for themselves so they can see the Conservatives for what they truly are.

    By Blogger Léo Bourdon, at 3:45 PM  

  • Out of all the issues going on in the world today, the last one on my mind is that the Prime Minister wants to "bless" this country. I'm an atheist, and I'm not in the least offended. I'm actually flattered. The same as I would be if it would be an Iraqi-Canadian as head of government asking Allah to bless this country.

    Canada is a free country. And that includes everyone, including Stephen Harper. He is free to have his own religion and his own beliefs. He doesn't have to become a neutral blob with no opinions on anything (ref: our last prime minister). I'm glad our prime minister has some convictions.

    Now if he was a satanist and telling all Canadians to go to hell, then that would be different.. except if he was just telling the liberals.. :) just kidding

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:18 PM  

  • It's about bloody ass time you get this blog up and running. What good are as a blog link if you're not blogging!

    Back to topic,

    I will simply roll my eyes at Harper. If he wants to imitate Bush Jr, he can go right ahead, all the better for us in the long run.

    By Blogger Vicky, at 2:26 AM  

  • I understand your point Brian, but I don't think its that big a deal...and who cares if the US does it. Are we so childish in Canada, that whatever the US does, we have to do the opposite " just because"?

    I doubt he is trying to deliberately insult or make people unconfortable, its his style, big deal. All PMs had their own particular way of communciating, and Harper decides to go with the "God Bless Canada" at the end of his speechs. *shrug* Big deal.

    PS: nice to have you back writing again my friend :)

    By Blogger Marc-André Mongeon, at 5:58 AM  

  • MA and anonymous (Meshelle?) are correct to point out that this is a very unimportant issue, but since most other blogs are discussing all of the important stuff, I thought a small thing like this might be a nice little injection of variety.

    That's the beauty of blogs, everybody gets to voice their two cents for all the world to hear!LOL

    Oh, and thanks MA, it's nice to be back.

    By Blogger Fish, at 5:36 PM  

  • Hey Brian, i doubt Meshell is the 'anonymous one'... if she has something to say, you can bet she'll want people to know it was her who wrote LOL.

    Indeed the beauty of blogs, where our 0.02 ( like Kent Brockman) is available for all to read is what makes it interesting. At least your blog doesn't spit venom like a certain blogger that you mentionned to me...;)

    By Blogger Marc-André Mongeon, at 5:53 AM  

  • If it bothers you so much that Harper says God Bless Canada at the end of his speeches, why doesn't it bother you that Liberal MP's of the Sikh faith wear their turban inside the House of Commons. Aren't they supposed to respresent ALL their constituents? Surely, not all of them are Sikhs.

    Since when is the PM supposed to cater to every single canadian? That's quite simply impossible whether it be in matters of religion or any other public policy.

    Finally, there is no such thing as seperation between Church and State in Canada. Our constitution explicitly states that Canada is founded under principles that "recognize the supremacy of God". That's hardly equivalent to the american's 1st amendement.

    It's always funny to see how Liberals who are so eager to distance themselves from everything that is american, embrace their constitution as if it were ours.

    By Blogger Luc Schulz, at 4:28 AM  

  • Easy does it Luc, the only person who appears to be really bothered by the issue here, is you. I clearly stated in the comments preceding yours, that it was not really a big deal, so take a deep breath.

    Secondly, I don't recall ever having invoqued the constitution (of any country), in my posting as a reason for my concern.

    I happen to think that God's name has no place in the constitution of a multicultural society such as Canada. But it's not really had any consequences that I'm aware of, so I see no need to go through all the nightmares of a constitutional amendment over that minor detail.

    As for the Sikh members of parliament wearing turbans, I certainly do not object to that, in the same way that I would not object to Stephen Harper wearing a crucifix in public.

    I would however, be just as urked (which is to say, only slightly), if a Sikh prime minister of Canada were to utter a blessing from his own faith during a speech to the nation.

    By Blogger Fish, at 7:02 PM  

  • Fair enough.

    By Blogger Luc Schulz, at 9:18 PM  

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