Canada Day 2013

Only in Canada!

I greet her most mornings with a kiss and a cup of coffee before checking my email. This Canada Day morning will be like most mornings, except that this Canada Day we will again have something to be thankful for in living in a country which could be so much more.

Eye surgery to redress a possible side effect of curing what I described in Canadian vs. American Health Care has actually improved her vision. No muss, no fuss, no cost. Thank you Tommy Douglas.

If only that was enough.

The kiss and coffee are usually followed by the same one-word question she has been asking for I don’t remember how long: “Anything?”

This morning’s “anything” was an article which I sent to the local papers about the national security implications and cost to the taxpayer of the then Minister of Foreign Affairs, John Baird, who has never been forthright with Canadians about his lifestyle choices, partying with friends over the Christmas holidays at the Canadian High Commission in London.

“No,” I replied.

“Maybe you should just give up,” she said, “you will never get their attention, it’s pointless.”

The last time she said I should move on, it didn’t turn out half bad. But we were much younger then.

“If I don’t get their attention then I have failed … in everything I have tried to do, I have failed.”

I expected the usual encouraging words, “no you have not”, “you should be proud of what you have accomplished” and so on and so forth, but not this morning.

She paused for a few seconds.

The following is, of course, my translation of remarks which were made in French.

“Only in Canada,” she said, “could someone uncover a bunch of thieves and the thieves get to keep the millions they stole, and their jobs, and you lose yours.”

“In any other country,” she said, “when you fought, on your own, because we could not afford a lawyer to try to get your job back, and the Supreme Court granted you a hearing, someone would have noticed.

“In any other country,” she said, “anyone who spent ten years of his life writing what may be one of the best, if not the best book on the Koran, the [mainstream] media would have at least mentioned it.”

The people who demanded an end to my career, and the diplomats who signed off on my firing – High Commissioner Robert Gordon Woolham, Ambassador John Thomas Boehm, Ambassador J. G. (Jim) Harris and Ambassador Raymond Chrétien who reluctantly set the process in motion after meeting with his boss Deputy Minister and future Liberal Minister of Treasury Board, Marcel Massé – were not your regular run-of-the-mill petty thieves.

As to media not believing that a layperson could write the definitive book on the Koran, I too would have found that hard to believe; but, I agree with her, the media had a responsibility to at least investigate the possibility, considering the importance of the Koran in the Islamic resurgence and the extreme violence which is its trademark.

Maybe the next Canada Day will be different, I will have gotten their attention, in the meantime, please enjoy this one.

Bernard Payeur