Crazy season arrived in Canada officially on November 4th, 2015 when the newly elected Liberal Prime Minister (Justin Trudeau) was sworn in. Amid all the flowery speeches about the re-arrival of Laurier’s term, “sunny ways” a sinister thing took place at Rideau Hall on November 4th, 2015. I note that, though Justin made artsy use of Laurier’s term, he had apparently not bothered to understand Laurier’s context in applying the term to a (then) “hot topic” ironically also pertaining to religion and schools. The origin of the very phrase (“sunny ways”) purloined by newly minted Prime Minister (PM), shortly after he swore allegiance to her majesty and all her “HAIRS” was first used by another (Liberal PM) during his election campaign (1895) pertaining to the Manitoba School Crisis.
The Manitoba School Crisis
Manitoba formally joined the Confederation of Canada on July 15th, 1870. At the time of entering into the Confederation, Manitoba; the newest province was unique in that it was bilingual. Its main advocate and earliest leader was Aboriginal – a Metis named, Louis David Riel who was hung for TREASON on November 16, 1885. I take great pride in openly admitting that Louis Riel is distant kin – a distant cousin oft removed. Canada was a small (population) country at the time.
It was out of the North West Rebellion when Riel had championed Metis land rights that anti-French language hatred began to ferment in the territory that became Manitoba. Riel was convicted for treason and hung in 1885
By 2011, the Canadian House of Commons voted to “reverse the conviction of Louis Riel for high treason and recognize and commemorate his role in the advancement of Canadian Confederation and the rights and interests of the Métis people and the people of Western Canada.”
That motion was brought into parliament by New Democrat, Pat Martin (the Member of Parliament for Winnipeg Centre) and resulted in an emotional and sensitive public apology (on behalf of Canada) by Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
It was especially noteworthy that the parliamentary motion was far beyond a pardon (or forgiveness for wrong doing). The 2011 Act of Parliament pertaining to Louis Riel actually reversed the conviction against him that resulted in his death. (as an aside, there was no $10.5 million payout to the Riel estate as there was recently with Omar Khadr though being hung would be much worse than spending 10 years in jail.)
The school crisis in Manitoba took place in the same time frame that Riel was being hung for treason. The English speaking (about 54%) part of Manitoba had somehow managed to create legislation to ban the use of French as well to cut off funding for Roman Catholic Schools in the 15 year old province (1885) at ironically the same time that Louis Riel walked the thirteen gallows steps.
Though Laurier actually used the term “sunny ways”, the context and history of the term somehow “escaped” Justin Trudeau. I wonder what type of teacher preparation Mr. Trudeau undertook prior to entering a classroom and actually teaching kids. If that preparation was as sketchy as his speech preparation, the parents of his former students have every right to be concerned.
In context, Laurier’s “sunny ways” speech said that it was his plan to apply logic and reason to the school crisis in Manitoba rather than the “blustery ways” of confrontation.
None-the-less, there were certainly no “sunny ways” for Louis Riel who was hung in Regina during the same year that Laurier was preaching “sunny ways”.
To Fail to Learn from History is Tragic
Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) was a prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps.
Niemöller is perhaps best remembered for the quotation:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Mississauga School Board gets it VERY Wrong
At the heart of Kevin J. Johnston’s grievance with the Peel District School Board (the Board) over actions of religious bias by the Board wherein it decided to promote Islamic worship in secular public schools in the Region of Peel. It is not lost on many of us that a scant five years ago, the use of the “Lord’s Prayer” was removed from opening exercises in classrooms throughout the Board’s schools. Similarly, social justice advocating (and well intentioned) teachers in the Board made a point of banning Christmas trees and carols in the schools for fear of being offensive. Most recently the distribution of Valentines cards has become the latest step towards political correctness.
What upset Mr. Johnston was a recent decision by the Peel District School Board to set aside building space and school hours to enable the practice of “salah” (islamic religious events)
Most would agree with Johnston in his complaint that any religious practice has no place in a secular (non religious) school. For his outspokenness, Kevin Johnston was first demonized by the “Board” as a “hater” and subsequently charged the “willful promotion of hatred” (most likely Section 319 (2) of the Criminal Code).
I have reason to believe that the actual performance of “salah” in a Public School is not only wrong because it has no rightful place in a secular school BUT also because parts of the salah and the “sermons” ought not to become alternative education in any school in Canada.
I have grave problems with the terminology used in this ritual itself as it seems to actually represent precisely the “willful promotion of hatred” ascribed to Johnston. In each performance of this “salah”, the celebrant openly states, “Guide us to the Straight Way – The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger (such as the Jews), nor of those who went astray (such as the Christians).”
Moreover, the content (spoken in Arabic) as well as the accompanying sermons and proselytizing in each session are delivered without review and prior scrutiny of the Board.
In Mississauga, Ontario the public should be aware that within the past month, Revenue Canada announced that it had revoked the “charitable status” of the Mississauga based, ISNA Development Foundation after learning it had been funding known terrorist groups in Pakistan aimed at overthrowing the Indian government and seizing control of the Indian state of Kashmere. It was learning that money was flowing to known terrorist groups: Hizbula and Mujahideen had originated from charitable collection s sourced from a Mississauga mosque. The leader of Hizbul Mujahideen, Syed Salahuddin, was placed on the U.S. State Department’s list of designated terrorists.
There is valid reason to insist that even if this prayer practice is permitted (it should be banned) in Peel District Board run schools, that any and all sermons accompanying the actual prayer component should be vetted and reviewed prior to being delivered to students.
I have a “very uneasy” feeling knowing that imam Ibrahim Hindy of Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Centre in Mississauga, (who helped to develop the current policy at the Peel District School Board) went to great lengths to explain to the school board about what beating your wife really means in Islam. The minutes (of Board meetings)indicated that he deftly substituted the word “beat” with “tap.” I would suggest yet another word: Taqiya (or the less polite English term; Lying)
What Can and Should Happen?
I doubt that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will intervene and invoke the spirit of Laurier’s “sunny ways”. We know how that worked out for Louis Riel. Trudeau probably won’t oppose the decision of Ontario’s Attorney General (Pakistani born, Muslim Yasir Naqvi) who (according to the police report) had sanctioned with phony charge against Johnston.
The Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA) is reported (Jason Spencer, Mississauga News, July 31, 2017) to have already spoken out on Johnston’s behalf. Go ahead, and contact your local MP or MPP although Liberals have a bad habit of not listening to grievances.
Along the way, legal costs will determine justice and Johnston will need great legal help despite simply telling the truth. I urge my readers to form a FUND ME charity to help out.
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