Tag Archives: Kellie Leitch

A Letter to Kellie Leitch On Her Proposal For A Canadian Values Test For Immigrants

Dear Kellie Leitch MD

From David Laing Dawson MD

In a paradoxical fashion, what you are suggesting does not conform with “Canadian Values”. It is, in fact, antithetical to Canadian values.

Besides, you are talking about the wrong thing. Some Canadians value money, others value freedom, love, generosity. Some value the opinions of old religious books. Some value the opinions of Justin Bieber or Oprah. Some value our diversity. Some like to eat the same meal every night. Some abhor meat. Others like to BBQ.

It is really our evolved social contract that you are addressing. Rightfully, you do not want to see it threatened. It is, quite clearly, more evolved and very superior to that of most societies. One can only find its equal in a few other countries.

Although, for each specific facet of our social contract we can usually find at least one other country more evolved. We can always learn something from Australia, The Netherlands, Norway, Denmark….

Importantly, that social contract is, to the extent it can safely be, without undermining the very rights and freedoms we value, codified in law. We can talk trash about one another, but we can’t promote hate. A fine distinction we leave to our very complex court system, our independent judiciary.

Certainly we don’t want to suddenly find ourselves with a situation of fifty-one percent of the population being newcomers who favor Sharia Law. Maybe not even 2%. I don’t want to hear the adoption of Sharia Law debated in my parliament. The concept of cultural relativity (understanding, not necessarily accepting, cultural practices within the context and history of that culture) should be confined to anthropological studies.

But. We need to have faith that our laws and courts will protect our social contract. We need to have faith that our evolved social contract is the envy of the world, and so obviously better than most others that it can resist a few outliers here and there, a few family patriarchs clinging to thirteenth century ideals.

The first generation of immigrants may stick with some outmoded ideas. Our laws prohibit the worst of these being enacted. (After many committee meetings over the years, a female participant would say to me, “Did you notice how Dr. (Indian name here) did not  once acknowledge my presence?” )

The next generation evolves quickly, providing they attend our public schools, sometimes becoming more Canadian than I am with my four and five generation lineage.

Kellie, have faith in our values, our social contract, our laws and our forms of governance. They will withstand a few immigrants with little education and some strange beliefs. Their children will attend our schools and become good Canadians.

Your ideas are potentially far more damaging (as are Trump’s) to our “Canadian Values” than any dozen immigrants appalled by same sex marriage, nudity, bare-headed women, and secular education.

All the nations of the world with evolved social contracts and liberal democracies are struggling with this. How do we protect all that we have achieved when a few of many arriving on our shores have very primitive beliefs about sexuality, women, girls, marriage, Gods and eternity?

We teach and we demonstrate. We do not exclude. We have faith that all will conclude, given time and shown acceptance, that it is far better to live this way, in this rich tapestry of safety, respect, kindness, and diversity, than that other way.

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Why We Need the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation More than Ever

By Dr David Laing Dawson

Hungary is swinging to the right, on the verge of fascism. Far right parties are gaining in much of Europe. Trump is the next president of the USA. The pendulum has been prodded in the direction of tribalism by a wave of migrants and, I would venture to guess, the Internet.

I wondered how it would appear in Canada. And it seems to have arrived in the form of Kellie Leitch with her proposed test for “Canadian Values”, and now her wish to dismantle the CBC.

The CBC. What timing. We have suddenly arrived in an age some are calling “post-truth”. False news can be disseminated as quickly and widely as real news. The New York Times is competing with a kid in Moldavia on his I Mac. And his news is always more interesting, more sensational. To compete with this kid, the National Enquirer, Fox and Breitbart, CNN had to give prodigious air time to Donald Trump and his surrogates.

Today, more than ever we need a news service that is not beholden to advertising, corporate interests, or ratings. We need a news service not afraid to bore us with details and background. We need a news service willing to fact check our politicians. All of them. Rigorously and fearlessly. We need a media service that will tell us all our stories. We need this news and discussion service watched by a substantial number of Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

We have just been taught a lesson. We need to pay attention to it. Without rigorous and fearless fact checking, a politician can, by repetition and exaggeration, convince a large chunk of the public to believe the most outrageous fictions. And in this digital world, with targeted and automated advertising, a splashy story about Hillary having a secret love-child with Bruce Willis will earn more money than a story about her work with the Children’s Defense Fund.

Our only defense against this is a News service that does not depend on advertising or ratings. A news service that does not need to sensationalize, that does not need to give equal time to outrageous opinion. A news service that can broadcast a documentary about evolution without feeling the need to give equal time to creationists, a news service that actually checks facts before airing them. The CBC does this. They check stats and they interview experts after reporting the words coming from a politician’s mouth. They jump on every stated, implied, or suggested bit of sexism, racism, inanity and stupidity. They provide in depth and civilized discussion of serious matters. They also go to great lengths to be inclusive.

CBC stands between us and a Donald Trump, a Marie LePen, a Mussolini, a Boris Johnson. It is a true Fourth Estate.

Now I must admit I tire at times of the CBC being so precious and politically correct. And I tire of them making me feel guilty at least once per week, reminding me of the head tax I put on Chinese Immigrants, the time I rounded up Japanese Canadians, the quota I imposed on Jewish Immigrants, my refusal to accept them when they were fleeing Germany, my breaking of treaties with first nations people, the shoddy housing I provide for them, the terrible idea of forced residential schools, how little I am doing to help addicts, and children living in poverty, how I’m contributing to global warming, running a nasty prison system, not fixing the plumbing in subsidized housing, eating too much, drinking too much, and exercising too little……

Little Mosque on the Prairie was too precious for my taste but certainly provided better life lessons than Criminal Minds or Breaking Bad.

I will suffer the guilt CBC imposes on me. In fact, it may be good for the soul. It is certainly good to be reminded of our history, and to have a healthy Fourth Estate beholden only to truth and the welfare of all.

This is absolutely the wrong time to consider privatizing the CBC.