Sunday, June 23, 2019

This Government's Apology Fetish Is Getting Old.

Justin Trudeau apologizes - a lot. He may be the most apologetic prime minister in Canadian history. His dad, or as I like to call him the "real Trudeau," wasn't into apologies for historical wrongs.

Next stop for Justin's apologia train are Canada's Italian community. In today's Globe and Mail, Patrick Luciani says "no thanks."

Today, political apologies are another way of always having to say you’re sorry. In 1990, then-prime minister Brian Mulroney gave a full apology to Canadians of Italian descent for the internment of Italians during the Second World War. That apology was repeated in 2005 when then-prime minister Paul Martin planned to pass a bill and $2.5-million to educate Canadians about the federal government’s wartime measures against Italians. That bill was never passed with the election of Stephen Harper in 2006. Now Justin Trudeau wants to make it a hat trick with another apology similar to the one given to Japanese and Ukrainian Canadians.
Mr. Trudeau’s motives are so apparent to be almost risible. His Liberal Party of Canada has always counted on the loyalty of Italian Canadians; now the Prime Minister needs to lock down their support in October’s coming election. 
But apologizing to our community – I count myself a member, being a first-generation Italian-Canadian – is wrong for two reasons. 
The first is that Canada was not wrong or malicious in its intention to protect the country in a time of war. To have done otherwise would have shown an extraordinary dereliction of duty to Canada and its people.
...Second, politically-motivated apologies only infantilize a people with the status of victimization. Our modern political culture is perpetually searching for victims and programs to compensate them with pandering sympathy and false reconciliation. Too often we look to the state to correct the ills of the past by acknowledging that the sins of our ancestors have to be made right so that we can “move on” or find some undefined “closure” for the suffering of past generations. 
That kind of apology isn’t worth having; it distorts history and weakens the bonds between past immigrants and their country. Our generation is not responsible for what our Canadian ancestors did or didn’t do. Judging the past with the eyes of the present will never let us truly understand our history. Asking Canadians today to apologize for the judgments of their grandparents, and yes, we are talking predominately about Anglo-Saxons, is an insult to their children and those immigrants who willingly came to this country for a better life.
...Do Italian-Canadians really want to join the line of those demanding an apology after everything this country has given them? Do we Italian-Canadians just want a psychic handout to salve our wounded pride? And how can we as Italian-Canadians ask for an apology when 5,000 Canadian men and boys are buried in cemeteries throughout Italy who died to rid “our” ancestral home of fascism and Nazism.


rumleyfips said...

Bullshit: a great big wheelbarrow full. Italians came to Canada because they wanted to be Canadians. Their loyalty, in the 1940's as now, was to Canada . I remember Italians being disparaged in the 1950's, by conservative asshats and treated as second class citizens by the governing, legal and commercial elites. This was racism pure and simple. Should we be ashamed ? Yes.

By the way , my surname is McManus.

The Mound of Sound said...

McManus, well that explains a lot. Ha,ha. You'll always be Rumley to me.

Anonymous said...

Such a simplistic argument. And the basis for conservative thought: "I didn't do it, my grandfather did. So don't try your whining out on me. You're a street beggar, is that my fault? Get a job." And other expressions of complete disinterest in anyone but themselves in the moment, the rugged self-reliant individual of Conservative myth.

But when it comes to inheritance of wealth, who's first at the trough for a spot of deep feeding? The relatives. They had nothing to do with the wealth accumulation from generations ago but feel it's their right to benefit today. Why? It's an established intergenerational meme, perhaps a basic human trait even if it's economically inefficient. "Sure I'll take my grandpappy's money, but his behaviour, nothing to do with ME! Sure he dug mines and ruined the land with reckless practices, treated employees like dirt, paid them bugger all, broke contracts and lied like a trooper, but that was HIS choice, not mine. I shall enjoy my non-earned wealth as a right with no attachments on the way I use it."

Look at the way we have treated First Nations like disposable dirt who we still disown at street level to this day, all efforts to reform the public mind being dashed in reality on deaf ears, especially Conservative Senators. No charity there. People love to judge others as inferior when it suits, especially if it might involve shelling out money from their own pockets in remediation. A perfect societal attribute to exploit when government/elites plot their course of running things to their advantage.

And of course, "enemy aliens" are a prime source for a spot of righteous bigotry when their original home country is at war with Canada. Blame the immigrant naturalized citizens for the sins of their place of origin and lock 'em up when they weren't or aren't directly responsible, it just feels so damn good assigning local blame. Hurl epithets, call them disloyal, shame them publicly, make 'em work at sewing flags for nothing to atone for THEIR sin of being born in the "wrong" place. The wolf pack in full cry like Bush ruining not-involved Afghanistan for 9/11.

Rationalize it all later by saying, oh society's changed, yes it was awful, but nothing to do with me, not my fault, I absolve myself completely! Live with it. We moderns affect blamelessness even as we accept old tainted money. Look at the way a lot of people want to set up Muslim landed immigrants and naturalized citizens for just this sort of future treatment.

Your arguments against even a mere heartfelt apology for our country's past sins on apparently only nominal citizens living precariously on a cliff's edge without knowing it, are specious. And highly disappointing. Any citizen is at risk from such nonsense, citizenship then being a mere chimera granted on sufferance from the big boys in charge, and worth nothing, not a goddam cent if it can be disowned on a whim and an order-in-council.

Unless we today appreciate what dolts we have been as a society to fellow citizens in the past and offer even token apology, learn our history with its mistakes as well as accomplishments, we're doomed to pull the same sort of horse manure all over again on some group of undeserving unfortunates. We can always excuse our behaviour later or cavalierly dismiss it because society's changed dontcha know, and there's just too many damn whiners on too many issues crawling out of the woodwork it boggles the old mind - that's the logic you're approving, even if you may reject it being pointed out in thunderous tones of denial and feel insulted at the suggestion because that just isn't YOU in your perception of your own character, your heart of hearts.

I assume this advocacy for denying generational responsibility as a society is just a blindspot in your logic that needs more self-reflection. And that's me being charitable for what it's worth - you blindsided me with this post.

Bill Malcolm

the salamander said...

.. sigh ..
Should I flaunt my distant black Irish roots..
both maternal and paternal.. Donegal, leprechauns etc ?
I don't celebrate St Patrick's Day.. so maybe I won't
'we' were here long before the potato famine

Our house in Toronto was built by Scots..
My son is half Scot half Irish heritage
Yes I married a lovely girl of Scottish heritage
she remarried later - a guy from Haiti
My sister married an Italian

If my son has given any of that a deep thought.. i doubt it
His lovely wife is of some Asian and mainly Peruvian heritage
he has two half sisters, one married an Iranian
Dylan & Kat have 3 adopted dogs who don't give a shit re their doggy heritage
but revel in living by the beach, on a Great Lake.. in Canada eh

My neighbors are elderly Greeks or from Afghanistan .. or Pakistan
Old stock Old snot .. Its to laugh
Religious factionalism or fanaticism does not exist in my family
hell, we're all lapsed Catholics or faux something or other..
I go with the gawd with the spaghetti strainer on her head
plus a dash of Buddism & a gigantic trust in the great turtle
who chewed some mud n spat out Canada eh..
and moved to Turtle Island
works for me .. better than a burning bush
or an immaculate deception

My dad came home from North Africa and Italy
a place called France & another named Germany
fired a lotta big cal artillery.. after lying bout his age
Losing his big bro Edmund the pilot sucked the wind outta his sails
Ed went in with his sub hunter bomber and all his crew
My parents received 'gratitude' for such service & dedicated sacrifice
no apologies..

I never met a black man till University & basketball
returning to Toronto I was trained as a waiter & bartender
half the staff was gay.. thus I met my first gay people
they were a hoot, a fun bunch.. a great passel
I worked with and for Mennonites in farm country
Swiss & Austrians & Northern Italians in big mountain country

Canada is a melting pot.. cook for one generation
add more ingredients, cook some more.. there ya go

I have little or no time for evangelical political animals
clinging to their too tight underwear, Scheer, Kenney, Harper, Clement
the pomp & ceremony of apologies uber alles..
where is the apology for snots like Doug Ford
& his rude loutpack piss the hell outta me
In my view politicians have forgotten they're OUR EMPLOYEES
Scheer is a great example.. He's a carpetbagger, elected in Saskatchewan
he is not a vestal kristian oracle on Canadian values or law
he's run amuk, drunk with his free ride - on OUR DIME
suddenly a millionaire - some 9 MILLION in his bank account
Where does his 'job description' as an MP say..
he can tell us what we think, how we should behave
how he and his war room get to attempt to tell us
about their shoddy warped comprehension of CLIMATE CHANGE ?
Or gay marriage? Kenney intends to reinvent surgical protocols
Dropout Doug Ford will DICKTATE HIS policy re sex ed in primary school curriculums
I don't recall any of this in their job descriptions or scope of required performance
Where is rhe apology for these whiny losers infesting government

We're now in the era of political polls, trend lines, war rooms, lobbyism, neoliberalism
corrupted political parties, ludicrous liars & Alberta creeps like Michael Cooper
spouting to mainstream media and US about Judeo-Christian crapola..
I demand an APOLOGY !!