Various things tick me off. I usually recover quickly and never get around to writing about them. Anyway, it doesn’t do me any good to whine about things I can’t change. However, four things have annoyed me recently, so I’ll sound off before cooling down and forgetting them.
Thing number one has to do with proroguing or suspending parliament. As you all know, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has again suspended parliament for a couple of months. That doesn’t upset me, because under our parliamentary system he has the right to do so. The reaction of the opposition to the suspension does concern me, especially when they attempt to impute improper motives or imply Harper has done something illegal. Certainly, the Liberals have a good reason for getting upset; they never thought to do the same thing when they held power. I find it amusing that although Harper’s detractors try to paint him as an ineffective leader, he manages to outmanoeuvre them and stay in power in circumstances where others failed.
Thing number two relates to the ongoing discussion about Canadian troops turning over prisoners in circumstances where Afghan authorities subsequently tortured them. Hey folks, haven’t you noticed, our troops are involved in a war? Truth becomes the first casualty of any war, so no one will ever get to the bottom of this issue. Instead of trying to make it a political matter, our leaders should accept it as an operational problem. They must realize the errors, if any, have occurred on the field. The insurgents have succeeded in killing our troops at a disturbing rate and regularly thwart their attempts at nation building. So let’s not add an additional burden on our military personnel by accusing them of breaking the rules of the Geneva convention. The answer is simple: if it has happened, make sure it doesn’t occur again and then shut up.
We don’t need ill-informed politicians telling the world we have involved ourselves in a dirty war. And therein lies a real political issue. If we can’t trust the Afghan government and gain support from its people, why have we chosen to stay in the war?
Thing number three deals with protesters. I don’t have any problem with people protesting something with which they disagree. But why must their dissension spill over into areas in no way related to the protest? Why should people not connected to the issue suffer? And why must those who believe in anarchy instead of our established system of democracy and law and order get so much free publicity?
The protesters rarely expect to influence public decision making; most want to see their names in print, some want publicity for their own agendas and can’t find a more appropriate way to do it.
Thing number four has to do with … There you go, I have arrived at the end of the column and have already forgotten thing number four.
As an afterthought, do you want to know one of the most effective ways to protest anything in our culture? Write a letter to the editor. It costs nothing, while an ad of the same size might cost hundreds of dollars. And you likely won’t get hit with a rotten tomato or come face to face with a cop.