It seems that at this time of the year, it is very difficult for me to keep to a regular schedule. I love doing my commentary on Monday mornings because I’ve had the weekend to think about the past week’s activities and what is going on in our world. With this fall’s harvest being one from hell and so many events happening all at once, it’s tough to stay on track.
This Monday morning I was off bright and early to get a candidate squared away for the Lloydminster by-election. Most of you are probably aware that our Premier changed his mind from a late February-early March 2015 date for a by-election to calling one a week and a half ago for November 13, 2014. The Premier made some flimsy excuse about getting a member elected while the fall session was on but the real reason is probably the dramatic fall in oil prices and the fact that he has to produce a financial statement sometime in November.
The Premier doesn’t care about new members in the Legislature as he is off on a trade mission to India and other destinations while our Legislative session is on. He should be here at home answering questions about the mess at SaskPower and the ongoing “lean” implementation in our health care system. The “lean” controversy seems to be collecting more casualties by the day - the latest being the CEO of the Saskatoon Health Region Maura Davies. It appears Ms Davies was let go a year ahead of time because of some comments in an email criticizing the lean system. The government always told us Ms Davies was a big supporter of “lean” and very much in favour of the Black contract. So much for government propaganda!
The PC Party does not have a lot of resources in every corner of this province yet but with some very hard work and digging by Dale Burnay, we were able to come up with some folks in Lloydminster to help us out. We have a fine gentleman by the name of Randall Edge who has stepped up and offered his name as a candidate for the PC Party in the byelection. I was in Lloydminster Monday evening and Tuesday visiting with people, getting signatures and making sure all of the forms were properly looked after so that Randall and the PC message can get to that corner of the province. I really wanted to get a feel for what people were thinking about in the Lloydminster area and how the PC brand was still viewed. I was pleased with my mission.
Like many Canadians, I took a few minutes from my schedule in Lloydminster to watch some of the proceedings from Hamilton, Ontario where one of the members of our armed forces was being honoured with a full regimental funeral. Corporal Nathan Cirillo was the young man who gave his life last week at our nation’s war memorial in Ottawa. He was killed while on duty before the same gunman stormed into the Parliament of Canada. He was the second member of our armed forces killed on home ground by people affiliated with radical Islam. It is very easy for all of us to feel the hurt and the loss suffered by these brave men and their families because Canadians have always taken a great deal of pride in members of our armed services. It is also easy to react in a very negative way to members of Muslim faith who are also Canadians. We must be careful that we do not overreact.
I think it does raise issues with how our governments over the last 20 years have treated immigration and perhaps how we have been selling short the idea of Canadian citizenship. For the last 20 years we have seen governments – both federally and provincially – virtually selling Canadian citizenship for a sum of money with their various immigrant-investor plans. The government that I served in did it and it has continued to this day in Saskatchewan. In other words if you have enough money and the required skills, you can come to our country but still harbour some of the thoughts, grudges and religious bigotry you had in the old country and have misconceptions of what Canadian citizenship should be because you bought your way in.
We are a nation of immigrants but it was very seldom in the old days to have someone wanting to go back to what they left in the old country. If people had issues with their government about foreign policy, they pretty well kept it to themselves and concentrated on being good citizens. Maybe today because of the world that we live in, people should be told when they come to our country that if they are going to continue supporting their wars and feuds and radical practices from their homelands and abuse their new-found Canadian citizenship by doing so, they will be on the first plane out of here with no return ticket.
That may seem a harsh statement to some of you, but it is better than more funerals like the one we saw in Hamilton where a young 5 year old boy will have to grow up without his Dad simply because his Dad believed in defending his country. Muslim Canadians will be the ones that make sure that these radicalized individuals do not become a threat here at home. They will have to be the ones who raise their families as proud Canadians and who do not allow radical preachers and individuals in their mosques. And if they find young people amongst their communities who are feeling disenfranchised and lost, then they need to extend a helping hand and if necessary report these people to the proper authorities. The rest of us Canadians need to do everything we can to support those efforts by Canadian Muslims.
We do not want to see our multiculturalism become the wedge that drives Canadians into ideological and religious ghettos and the social trauma that will follow such a move.
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These issues must be debated for “The Right Reasons”.