by Charles Adler
I wasn't going to talk about Brigitte DePape today. Didn't want to generate any more publicity for the Parliament Hill protesting page for her so-called courageous act. But the response to her Friday photo op forces me to discuss my loathing for some of the privileged. The privileged are those people who have Canadian citizenship – more than 30 thousand. They are free people, free to protest virtually anywhere in this country including Parliament Hill, including Parliament itself apparently. She won't be charged for violating any law. Indeed if she were charged or even fined there would be a mountain of bull dung heaped on Harper from the usual bull dung suspects in media and elsewhere. Yes, I know she lost her low paying job as page over the protest. But gainful employment is not something she will be missing out on. Several organizations will be only too happy to attach themselves to her cause. She is not a spoiled brat who took advantage of her privileged position that many young people really, really want to have because they love their country and honor her democratic institutions. No, she is not a spoiled brat. She is hailed as a democratic activist. From a so-called progressive blog known as the Mark. I know this blog because the guy who puts it together hates my show and lets me know it. Not all who hate this show love the Protesting Page. But I am not surprised that there is a connection. Since I am not a Harper Hater and have turned the rhetorical lamp a time or two on those who are, it’s not surprising that this blogger writes the following today:
The young woman responsible for the only interesting thing to have happened in a Throne Speech since forever has won some new allies.
Brigitte DePape might have been fired by her Senate overlords for her “Stop Harper” protest during Friday's Throne Speech, but she's already got one job offer lined up – from American filmmaker Michael Moore. The left-wing activist director said he thought DePape's protest was "powerful" and "iconic" and would want her to work for him. Her former coworkers and other Parliament Hill types have been all too keen to criticize DePape for her protest, claiming it showed no respect to the institution, easily forgetting that not three months ago the government itself was found to be in contempt of Parliament. But her hand-made stop sign, and the photos of her being escorted from the red chamber, have reverberated across the country, with a handful of pro-DePape groups popping up on Facebook and a “Stop Harper” rally planned in Ottawa for June 10.
And the very first post on this blog reads this way.
What she did was absolutely fantastic, and highly effective! Bravo! I hope we don't soon forget it and I wish more of us were like her — she's a real Canadian Heroine! She spoke for more than half the country, which is more than what 1/2 the country could actually do. A true inspiration!
Considering the responses to her heroic act, it's pretty clear that the majority of the people agree with what she did, which goes to show a majority of Canadians do not agree with our government, meaning our government is out of touch with the people of Canada. Her act has shown that there is a fire burning strong in the hearts of Canadians – the need to re-form this government from a money and power loving one, into a truer and more sensible people loving one.
Our government has become distant, frail, and corrupt from its unhealthy concerns for money and power. The Canadian citizens may soon be required to take a strong hand with the government, to strengthen it's closeness with the people, and loosen its bonds with corporations. In order to create a government that serves the people more than it does today.
Hopefully soon we will see the needed change to our government, the change that the future generations will be thankful for.
Question: Does anyone honestly think that Brigitte DePaper is the role model that young people have been waiting for? This is the profile of courage when it comes to Democratic action? Is this an insult to young people or are some young simply guilty of insulting themselves?
This country needs an Arab spring she said, referencing the democratic street protests that have taken place, in the Arab world-Tunisia, Libya Yemen, Bahrain, Egypt, and Syria.
Would anyone mind if I focused on Syria for just a moment. And I say this because there are indeed young people taking real risks with real courage who are paying a real price. Hamza al-Khateeb would be one such person…When I tell you about this thirteen-year-old Syrian child you may agree that he paid a slightly higher price for his courage than the Parliament Hill Page.
From the Associated Press writing about the pudgy cheeked little boy and others like him in Syria.
The images grow no less shocking with time — a gaping wound on a tiny skull, the hair matted with blood; a gunshot that pierced the skin of a small torso and went straight toward the kidney; and finally, the broken neck and severed penis of a 13-year-old boy, his mangled body contorted on a plastic sheet.
The images of children activists say were killed in a government crackdown on protests are circulating widely among Syrians on YouTube and Al-Jazeera, Facebook and opposition websites. And they are stoking even more fury against a regime the opposition says has lost all legitimacy.
Syria's government tried to blunt the anger with promises Wednesday to investigate the killing of 13-year-old Hamza al-Khatib, whose tortured and mutilated body turned him into a symbol of the Syrian uprising. But protesters deride that and other government concessions, including an amnesty that freed political prisoners on Wednesday and a committee to prepare for national dialogue, as nothing more than a ploy to buy time for President Basher Assad. They say at least 25 children are among more than 1,000 dead, with government crackdowns that increase the toll almost daily.
The deaths of two girls — a 12-year-old killed Saturday when her school bus came under fire, and an 11-year-old shot to death Tuesday while her town was being shelled — appeared certain to inflame tensions. Already, a Syrian opposition page refers to the older girl, Hajar Tayseer al-Khatib, as "the flower of Syria's martyrs."
Leading Facebook page The Syrian Revolution 2011 addressed the regime directly in a posting: "Why do you hate our children. They are the symbol of our revolution. They are our freedom and the future of our country."
State television aired an interview with Dr. Akram Shaar, who examined al-Khatib's body. He said the cause of the death was shooting, and three bullets had hit the boy's body. He added that what appeared to be bruises and signs of torture were the result of natural decomposition since the boy died on April 29. His body was handed over to his family on May 21, state TV said.
The station also aired a recorded interview with al-Khatib's father who said he was received by Assad this week. The father added that the president considers "Hamza as his son and was touched" by the death.
On April 22, two boys whose ages were 7 and 10 were shot dead by security forces in the southern village of Izraa. A video aired then showed a man ran carrying the body of a young boy, whose hair was matted with blood from a gaping head wound.
Zuhair Awad al-Amar, 8, died after he was shot near the kidney on May 21 in the southern village of Nimr. A YouTube video showed his injury as a narrator said "these are the reforms of Bashar Assad."
These children are being killed by Syria's so-called Security Forces. Security forces in the Arab spring means security for the dictator and massive insecurity for the people who are desperate for a measure of dignity.
Could there be anything less dignified in our approach to what's going on over there than allowing a young parliamentary page to be puking up words about how Canada needs an Arab Spring to Stop Harper. Stop Harper from what? How did the Harper regime respond to the Parliamentary Page Protest?
Was she tortured, mutilated, made to disappear? Was a single hair on her head ruffled? Did she endure the pounding of Harper government goons?
What is the message that a Canadian brat sends to the children of Syria. "We think you're just characters on a TV show and you're making it difficult for us to watch? It's so much easier for us to watch someone who looks like she was cast to play the little girl in a sequel of the Adams family than to see torsos of young people tortured and murdered by the thugs of the Arab spring.
Let's bring it home now shall we, to Canada's spring where all sorts of deep penetrating analysis is blooming around the incident on Parliament Hill, the clarion call to Stop Harper.
The leading Stop Harper news organization is the venerable Toronto Star. They tried Stopping Harper with an avalanche news stories revolving around his "Contempt for Parliament" Contempt for Democracy which should be translated as Contempt for the Toronto Star's view of the Natural Order. The Toronto Star which has been for the Liberal party what Anthony Weiner's Twitter Page has been for him. The lead organ. The Toronto Star after propping up Liberal after Liberal gave up the ghost during the campaign, gave up on Michael Ignatieff and endorsed Jack Layton. They thought voting for Layton would be the best way to prevent Harper from getting a majority. And I guess all those readers the Toronto Star has in Chicoutimi and Rimouski and St Georges de Beauce were taking their inspiration from the Toronto Star and voting to Stop Harper.
Ok, so the Toronto Star had zero impact on Toronto and Ontario and Harper's Thugs won the day.
Just as theToronto Star had zero impact in Stopping Rob Ford and Ford's Thugs won anyway.
It's frustrating to be told you're an impact player but every time you take to the ice you're either checked into the boards, or someone skates around you or you are laughed at. Pretty soon you start to write like Heather Mallick the Toronto Star's role player, their number one paper tiger thug.
And she writes:
The skylark in question is that bright-eyed and braided young page, Brigette DePape, 21, whose mother is proud of her, as am I, as are thousands of Canadian young people who put idealism before an intern-type job that leads to fancy well-paid things if you’re willing to shut up.
It is a country, DePape said, that needs “an Arab spring.”
I have never heard the Harper-managed Canadian slide into backwater status put more eloquently. Well played, Brigette. She’s bright, she’s brave, she made her stand. If that makes her elitist — Harper’s favourite pejorative — so be it.
Unusually for me, I have been reading online commentary nationwide, written by people who lack the courage to use their own names. I was shocked. DePape is being given her due. “A courageous and peaceful example of protest,” one emailer wrote. “I’m surprised she wasn’t Tasered.”
The words of Heather Mallick of the Toronto Star, who would not have written them if the Parliamentary Page had held a sign saying, “Jack Layton Stop Supporting Separatism,” or “Bob Rae Stop Supporting the NDP.”
Had a Page scrawled that chicken scratch on her little placard Heather Mallick would not have called her courageous and if she had written it, the Toronto Star would not have published it.
Courage has been defined as spitting in the faces of millions of Canadians who voted to stop minority governments from wasting time and money, to stop the constant talk about and spending hundreds of millions of dollars on elections. Canadians voted to stop election addiction. And theToronto Star calls that anti-democratic and the Page compares that to regimes which shoot eight year olds and saw the penises off thirteen year olds.
A young Canadian, more than five years younger than the young Page who is a poster child for Toronto Star/CBC Canadians. Another young Canadian wrote this about this very important day in world history when Canadians engaged in real fight for Democracy. It wasn't about Stopping Harper. It was about Stopping Hitler.
On June 6th, 67 years ago, the Canadian forces, alongside the British and American forces, were part of the greatest invasion in history. 130, 000 Allied soldiers and the largest naval fleet in history gathered to work towards a common goal, the defeat of German defences on the Normandy beaches. The soldiers prepared to storm the Normandy Beaches and gain a foothold in occupied Europe required to recapture France from German control and eventually try to win the war from the Western front. It seemed like suicide but Allied soldiers fought valiantly and brought down the German defences, entering Germany into a 3 front war and a likely loss. At the D-Day Landings, Canada was the first to achieve the objectives that it was assigned to after landing at its assigned beach, Juno Beach. Canada was the only one besides British and American forcesto receive its own beach to invade, code-named Juno Beach, a huge responsibility in itself. Allied forces depended on the successful invasion of Juno Beach to carry on fighting in occupied Europe and establish a secure and safe beachhead for troops and supplies to land. Canada had played an essential and strong contribution to the D-Day Landings, as it was in charge of invading Juno Beach, and did it successfully.
Canada achieved its objectives for the D-Day Landings and had massive success compared to other Allied divisions with a force of 14, 000 soldiers taking in the fact of the huge amount of fortifications at Juno Beach, it was a huge accomplishment. After only 3 hours of the initial landings, the Atlantic Wall at Juno Beach had been shattered allowing forces to push past the beach and sea wall to launch attacks into occupied Europe. By the day's end the Canadian forces had achieved an enormous task, much more than what had been expected of them. The 3rd Canadian Division had pushed farther into France than any other Allied Division – 8 kilometres inland (Landry 48). The next day also held promise for theCanadian forces, which had managed to link up with British forces that had landed at Sword Beach. This was important tobe able to secure a beachhead in Normandy allowing for further forces to land and push inward into occupied Europe (Roy 13). By July 9th, Caen had been captured by the Allied forces, with huge contributions from the Canadian forces that had fought against the Schutzstaffeln, one of Hitler's elite units. Caen, an important strategic location had been captured, "thanks in large part to the persistent efforts of the 3rd Canadian Division, Caen was at last in Allied hands (Veterans Affairs Canada). The capture of Caen dealt a crucial blow to the German defences in France, allowing the Allies to put firm foothold in occupied Europe from which they could launch attacks to take back France. Canada achieved its objectives at the D-Day Landings and the important objectives afterwards.
Canada had the monumental responsibility of invading a heavily fortified position, code-named Juno Beach, a huge responsibility that no other country besides the United States of America and Great Britain had. Canada was put to the responsibility of invading Juno Beach with 14, 00 soldiers, and 450 dropping behind enemy lines. 10, 000 sailors Royal Canadian Navy and its ships were among the invading naval forces, while Lancaster bombers and Spitfire fighters from the Royal Canadian Air Force joined the attack from the air (CBC). Taking Juno Beach was not an easy task but through hard work and dedication the Canadian invaders managed to overthrow the German defences and hand the German forces a stunning defeat. "Juno Beach was arguably the most heavily-fortified of the five invasion beaches" (Canada at War). The so called impenetrable Atlantic Wall had been penetrated and the Allies could now start landing additional troops and supplies. At night's end on June 6th the Canadian 3rd Division had fought the resistance from the determined German counter-attack and had achieved many of their objectives. Although the town of Caen was still not captured, this objective was overly optimistic (Roy 39) but the Allied forces with great contributions from the Canadian forces managedto capture this objective too. "Resistance was stiffening as they came closer to Caen but by nightfall the leading elements were over eight km inland" (Roy 26). Some of the soldiers had even reached Caen – Bayeux road – the 1st Hussars (Roy 26), a very close distance to the town of Caen. This meant that Canadian forces were the closest to the town of Caen, an important objective in the Normandy Landings. The Canadian forces had achieved the great task of invading from Juno Beach and had managed to push far inland.
The Canadian forces not only had to storm ashore from Juno Beach successfully but they also had to achieve many other objectives in occupied Europe. The Allies had made plans according to the successful Canadian assault and the successful fulfillment of the objectives afterwards. This meant that Canadian forces played a large role in the battle to come after D-Day and the Allied success also depended on the success of Canadian forces. After the invasion, Canada was given the task of liberating the Netherlands from German control (WarMuseum). After the initial attempt at break into the Netherlands had failed, the job was handed to Canadian forces, probably in respect to their successes at the D-Day Landings and afterwards. The Canadian forces met heavy resistance and determined German defenders but they managed to liberate the Netherlands. After the D-Day Landings, British and Canadian forces linked up to secure the beachhead and launch further offensives into France (Veterans Affairs Canada). Beach bombardment at the start of D-Day also included contributions from the Royal Canadian Air Force. Canadian bombers squadrons were composed of Lancaster bombers and Spitfire fighters and they weakened German industry and attacked strategic locations to decrease the resistance encountered by the invading soldiers (Reynoldson 38). The Allied forces depended on the success of all parts of the D-DayLandings and the Canadian forces did not fail to impress even if it came at a high cost.
Canada made massive contributions to the D-Day Landings and achieved many of their objectives, sooner than other Allied divisions. They instilled pride in the nation and had shown the power of Canada, as a great military power and as an ally. The 3rd Canadian Division had moved the farthest into France by nightfall and Canadian forces were the first to achieve their objectives after landing at their assigned beach. Canada was the only nation besides the United States of America and Great Britain that received its own beach to invade and had broken through the German defences at Juno Beach successfully. Allied forces also depended on the success of all parts of the invasion and Canadian forces did not let them down, achieving their objectives with great success. Canadian forces had created great pride for the nation with the tremendous success of the D-Day landings and had shown the world that Canada had the power to become a great military power in the future.
Our country took nearly a thousand casualties on D-Day and many times during the five year successful effort to Stop Fascism from having Global Dominion. I am not here today to bury Brigitte the Page. I am here to use her You Tube moment to make the point that 67 years ago thousands of Canadians, most of whom were her age or younger, were prepared to sacrifice themselves to preserve freedom and democracy and those journalists who covered it and analysed didn't need to create a fairy tale, didn't need to spin spin spin. Having met many of today's Canadian warriors who serve us in uniform, I am safe in saying that many young people in this country don't hold up signs for the cameras. They hold guns and they hold the lives of many other young people in the balance and we are proud of them. They are the descendants of those boys who became men on the beaches of Normandy 67 years ago. May they rest in peace and may we never forget the blood red line in the sand between valour and vulgar.