First, let us honour Canadian steadfastness in the defense of freedom. Homage to courage and valour is not yet entirely out of style on either side of the 49th parallel – Carolyn Parrish as Lord Haw-Haw to Paul Martin’s Neville Chamberlain notwithstanding.
Sadly, even that unflattering analogy is stretched in once-and-future-
Prime-Minister Martin’s case; because he has neither the skill nor the courage of Chamberlain. We dare not even mention honesty.
Martin’s character stands in marked contrast to that of Seaforth Highlander Sergeant Ernest “Smokey” Smith.
On Oct. 21 and 22, 1944, at the Savio River in Italy, Sergeant Smith gave the Germans much more than they could handle. For his heroism he received the highest military honor Canada could bestow; the Victoria Cross. Sergeant Smith just died at the age of 91. He was the last holder of the VC in Canada.
To get the flavor of this man’s individual grit this article from the National Post is worth reading, but most certainly you should know Smith’s comments:
…”even Germans do not like to be shot.” … he explained 60 years after the Savio River fight, “I don’t take prisoners. Period. I’m not prepared to take prisoners. I’m paid to kill them. That’s the way it is.”
The National Post entitled their article Thank you, Smokey.
An understatement, to be sure, and in keeping with the modesty of Smokey’s generation. Check out Flags of Our Fathers for further examples.
Second, and on the other hand, we have a poll showing that a significant number of Canadians would be likely to buy private health insurance, if they were allowed to have a non-socialist health-care market. Ottawa’s centralized command-and-control is here most evident.
…Overall employment grew by 1.4 per cent in the first seven months of the reporting year – well below the 2.1 per cent growth in Alberta and 1.7 per cent growth in Manitoba, but above the national average of 1.1 per cent.
Dig a little deeper into the numbers and you find that private sector employment grew by 1.7 per cent, while government employment grew nearly twice as fast. In fact, there are 5,000 more government employees today then there were back in 2002 – a staggering statistic given Saskatchewan’s stagnant population growth. What’s worse is that almost all of the new job growth is taken by people 55 years or older, which means we’re not attracting or keeping any young people in Saskatchewan.
I have contended that we can learn much from Canada. These are examples. Draw your own conclusions.
Here are mine.
I start with a question: Where will the next Canadian winner of the Victoria Cross come from?
That the era of clear positive examples of Canadian dynamism is many years past, tells us something about why Western Canadians find separatism ever more attractive.
It’s about time they did. Whatever happened to the bumper sticker sentiment of the early 70’s: “Let the Eastern Bastards Freeze in the Dark!”?
Western Canada has absorbed more punishment and disdain, including taxation without any actual representation, (how do Albertans justify paying for 5,000 new government employees in Saskatchewan?) than had the American colonies at the time of the Boston Tea Party.
So what connects “Smokey” Smith with today’s Canada?
That’s what’s so sad. Canada, as recently as the early 70’s, was an important country with Western Capitalist values and a backbone. This no longer is a given.
It’s been sad to watch, and it should change.
Separation might do that.