The Fractured Nation Interviews

Boom-Boom Singh

Whose History Is It Anyway?

Fractured Nation InterviewsBoom-Boom: It was the teaching of Canadian history out of context. As explained previously, the teaching of history in the decades preceding The Fracture dwelt more and more on the real and imagined injustices done to the ancestors of new Canadians, the ancestral history of the new Canadians and less on the contributions to the building of Canada by the earlier settlers.

It was also a history that maintained that the greatest contribution to the building of Canada, not that it was not substantial, was made by immigrants coming to Canada after Mulroney opened the floodgates to cheap labour. It was this biased history that would be shamelessly used to rally gangs members, now the shock troops of the different movements seeking to lay claim to a piece of the rapidly disintegrating country.

Johnny: It was a biased history that Canadian politicians actively encouraged for their own ends wasn’t. I remember reading a book by that great Canadian philosopher Saul, whom his countrymen never fully appreciated – but then again that was also so typically Canadian – called Reflections of a Siamese Twin in which he writes about the 1995 referendum that almost led to an early fracture; about how politicians talked about Canada as if it had no history before 1985.

Boom-Boom: It was not only this fellow Saul that talked about it but also a guy, an historian called Granatstein, I think.

Johnny: Yes, I believe he is the author of a book called Who Killed Canadian History?

Boom-Boom: If it hadn’t been for your thoughtful explanation of early Canadian history, I would still be under the impression that, while Canada’s birth and early history was not as spectacular as that of Rome, it was a birth and a history that Canadians should have been proud of.

Johnny: Getting back to your answer, your answers to the question “What caused The Fracture?” If I understood you correctly, in your opinion, it was a combination of bad economic policy and an exaggeration of cultural and religious differences that was encouraged by the Canadian government with its multiculturalism policy.

Boom-Boom: Yes with emphasis on Canada’s policy of paying newcomers to build barriers between themselves and other ethnic, cultural and religious groups – its multiculturalism policy.

Johnny: A policy which you and other community leaders profited from. Am I correct?

Boom-Boom: Yes. But you must understand, I am not against multiculturalism as such and against taxpayers money being spent to promote multiculturalism. What I am against is the type of multiculturalism, the exaggerated, divisive multiculturalism that was promoted by the Canadian government for purely selfish reasons and which I maintain was a contributing factor in the fracture of Canada.

Johnny: You realize that your stand on multiculturalism puts you at odds with his Excellency Ayatollah Domeini who maintains it was not enough multiculturalism that led to The Fracture.

Boom-Boom: I will take that as an indication that I am right.

Johnny: What would your brand of multiculturalism have been like?

Boom-Boom: Multiculturalism should be like a treasure of good and bad memories. You should be allowed to keep those memories alive, if you want, but not encouraged to relive them.

Johnny: What specifically did you not like about Canadian multiculturalism?

Boom-Boom: First and foremost, multiculturalism became a vote buying exercise. That immediately corrupted the whole concept. The corrupted multiculturalism policy promoted everyone’s culture at the expense of a core Canadian identity. It became a policy that most in the immigrant community did not want to have anything to do with and would not have had anything to do with if it had not been forced on them.

Johnny: Why did you, as a community leader, take the money?

Boom-Boom: It was free money; it was like winning the lottery. What can I say? But seriously, we, I did not think that it would be used to manage and promote programs that accentuated cultural and religious differences that would lead to the end of Canada. Sorry, that is not quite right. I did not believe that these programs, which encouraged my fellow immigrants to live outside the mainstream of Canadian society, were a bad thing. Now that I look back on it, this money funded the rise of community and religious leaders, who would advocate, then carry out the dismemberment of Canada.

Money for the promotion of multiculturalism purchased the hammer that would be used to smash the Canadian mosaic to bits.

Johnny: That’s a powerful metaphor!

Boom-Boom: Canada did become what a short-term Prime Minister, a fellow called Joe Who, I think, wished for. Canada did, for a short time, become a community of communities. Then it started. Communities started to look to their community leaders for direction. The central authority, I guest the type of super community that this fellow “Who” predicted never materialized or never achieve legitimacy in the eyes of this hodgepodge of religious, cultural and ethnic based communities.

Johnny: You said that the overwhelming majority of immigrants were against the type of multiculturalism promoted by the Canadian government. Can you give our viewers an example?

Boom-Boom: Obviously not everybody in the immigrant community was against it. You had a small, vocal well-connected minority who saw multiculturalism as a means of creating exact replicas of the life they had left behind. The overwhelming majority who came to Canada after the Mulruney (sic) reform came to Canada to escape the life they left behind. It was the vote buying politicians and this small vocal well-connected minority, and I must admit I was one of them, who lived off multiculturalism money that claimed otherwise.

I believe ordinary Canadians understood that most immigrants came to Canada to seek the Canadian way of life which is why they became so vocal in their opposition to spending their tax payments on the promotion of multiculturalism.

Johnny: And the example, the proof of what you’re saying?

Boom-Boom: Yes, you did ask for an example. Even as a teenager I was interested in politics and public affairs which is why I watched a lot of public affairs programming on the Canadian Broadcasting System, CBS.

Johnny: Was it still the public broadcaster then?

Boom-Boom: Yes.

Johnny: Then it probably was the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the CBC. It easy to get confuse. The few remaining televisions station at the time of The Fracture were competing with an alphabet soup of American broadcasters who had gained much of their Canadian fans earlier on after rapidly switching to broadcasting their offerings in colour when the technology became available while Canadian broadcasters dallied for years before offering colour programming.

Boom-Boom: I never heard that explanation for Canadian’s addiction to American television.

Johnny: They would repeat the same mistake when digital broadcasting and its superior image came along. Americans again beat them to the punch by a number of years and gained another swat of the Canadian television audience. After Diefenbaker, except for a few short-lived exceptions, it is a myth that Canadians were quick to adopt new technologies especially if it was home-grown technologies.

Boom-Boom: Why am I not surprised. As I was saying, I was watching this public affairs program on the CBC. The CBC had invited members from two Muslim organizations to debate the imminent establishment of Islamic Tribunals and the enforcement of Islamic Law, what Muslims simply call the Sharia, in the then province of Ontario. The situation I am describing will not be new to your viewers who watched your interview with Domeini.

Johnny: Why did the CBC invite only Muslims to discuss the eminent arrival of the Sharia which Aljazeera praised in December of 2003 for bringing “Muslim Sharia law to a largely secular society?” A correct but premature prediction as was its prediction that eventually most of the provinces of Canada would accept Islamic Tribunals.

Boom-Boom: Johnny, Johnny … for a student of Canadian history you are somewhat unfamiliar with the socio-political climate of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. This was Canada. Nobody, but nobody dared question the practices, traditions, values of other cultures. This was taboo. All cultures, all traditions, all values were judged to be equal. You questioned this orthodoxy and you were accused of being intolerant or worse a racist. You could even be charged with the crime of spreading hatred for having an opinion.

Johnny: How can you have a debate if only one point of view is allowed?

Boom-Boom: Remember, a member of a religious or ethnic group could not criticize the practices, traditions and values of another ethnic or religious group. However, there was nothing against members of ethnics or religious groups debating among themselves. There was no law against that.

Johnny: Are you saying that even with only Muslims present, the CBC managed to have a serious discussion on whether the establishment of Islamic tribunals in Ontario was a good thing?

Boom-Boom: Yes. The broadcasting company was quite cute in engineering a debate on the issue with only Muslims present. Unlike the Canadian government, which I mentioned before believed that every immigrant wanted the same thing, a home away from home, the CBC and most Canadians knew better. The CBC understood that the majority of Muslims in Canada did not want the Sharia. All it had to do was convince some of them to debate the issue with the fundamentalists who had convinced Ontario politicians that having Islamic Tribunals arbitrate in family and business matters would not only save the government money but earn the politicians the gratitude and the vote of the Muslim community.

Johnny: And they did, convince Muslims to debate Muslims on such a fundamental, no pun intended, issue?

Boom-Boom: Don’t forget that the radical, monolithic Islam that you have today is mainly MAD’s doing. While the government of Canada paved the way for MAD, before The Fracture there was still room for discussion within an ethnic or religious group and this is what the CBC exploited.

Johnny: Muslims against Islamic Tribunals. I would never have believed it.

Boom-Boom: Believe it. On one side you had members of the radical Islamic Congress of Canada, all stern and serious old men who had successfully lobbied for the Sharia; on the other side, a mix of Muslim men and women, some from the forward-looking Muslim Canadian Congress who were adamantly against the introduction of Islamic Tribunals. One of the more compelling arguments against the establishment of Islamic Tribunal and the imposition of the Sharia was given by a Muslim father of two girls who explained that he had fled a country ruled by Islamic Courts to save his daughters from the brutalities of Sharia law. It was so moving.

Johnny: His fears for his daughters’ future were not unfounded.

Boom-Boom: As was the fear expressed by another leader of the Muslim Canadian Congress in her opposition to another Provincial Conservative leader’s promise, if elected, to get taxpayers to pay the cost of indoctrinating Muslim children. He would get them to pay, to pay for Muslim schools.

Johnny: Hadn’t he learned anything from the Sharia mess?

Boom-Boom: I guess not. In another debate with an old man from the Islamic Congress, the leader of the forward-looking Muslim Congress said she was puzzled as to why the Conservative leader expected Ontarians to pay for schools where little boys are taught that they are better than little girls, and little girls taught to accept this inferior status because God said so and that they would go to hell if they didn’t.

Johnny: But Canadians in all provinces except Québec would eventually pay for all faith-based schools including Muslim schools.

Boom-Boom: And the Canadian mosaic sagged a bit more under the weight of multiculturalism Canadian-style where you granted this or that group whatever it wanted without thinking. As I mentioned before, there would have been nothing wrong with promoting what I would call a soft multiculturalism, the promotion of a private personal appreciation of your roots, where you came from. This type of soft multiculturalism would not have threatened the culture and traditions, the core values of Canadian society.

Johnny: And what, in your opinion, were those core values?

Boom-Boom: I don’t agree with those who claim English Canadians had no culture worth protecting. In my opinion the culture of English Canada had values which Canadian should have been prepared to vigorously defend – to the death if necessary – values such as secularism, democracy, the rule of law and equality before the law, freedom of speech and expression …

If multiculturalism had not been used as a cynical vote buying exercise; if multiculturalism had not been used to deny freedom of expression; to deny the right to question the values and traditions that where at odds with the core values of Canadian society that I just enumerated, I am convinced we would not be here today talking about Canada in the pass tense.

Johnny: You surprise me, talking about Canada that way. That is not the Tamil Singh I remember fighting for the establishment of the Asian Commonwealth of North America as the only means of preserving the traditions and cultures of immigrants from that sub-continent. In those days, your rhetoric was not that much difference from that of His Excellency the Ayatollah Domeini except he wanted Muslim-only-territories where, what he called a “pure” form of Islam, could be practiced – no unbelievers allowed.

Boom-Boom: I know. I know. I am now old and hopefully wiser, unlike MAD who is just older. If we don’t talk about the Canadian collapse then citizens of ACNA, like Canadians ten years ago this week may wake up one morning and ask “Eh dude, where’s my country?” This is why I think we must be brutally honest about what happened and not hide behind the self-serving platitudes like those of Canadian politicians and interest groups whose double-talk and duplicitous actions led to The Fracture.

Johnny: His Excellency Ayatollah Domeini said The Fracture was a good thing because Muslims can now practice their religion as Allah intended. What do you think?

Boom-Boom: I can’t see how confining women to their homes; public stoning of women suspected of adultery; age of marriage now nine years old; the destruction of all works of art that contain even the smallest representation of persons or animals can be considered a good thing. All those boys missing a hand, some both of them for alleged petty thievery; the lost of an eye for looking at a girly magazine; hanging teenage girls for having pre-marital sex – all those things are not good things, they are not the mark of a civilized society.

[taking a deep breath] But he is MAD, what can I tell you, and in Allahland mad men are kings.

Johnny: Yes, but what about the creation of ACNA.

Boom-Boom: You know I am going to try to get the Parliament to change the name of the Asian Commonwealth of North America. In its abbreviated form it is too much reminiscent of a teenage affliction. The Asian Commonwealth of North America is all grown up now and maybe it is time that its name reflect that new grown-up attitude.

Johnny: Are you trying to avoid answering the question “Was The Fracture a good thing for the nation states of the Asian Commonwealth of North America?”

Boom-Boom: Was it a good thing? Was the fracture of Canada a good thing? Yes and no. Personally, I would have preferred it never happened.

A moment ago, I said that politicians perhaps gave us more credit than we deserved, ignoring three hundred years of Canadian history. Having said that, the country in the late twentieth and early twenty first century was literally being plundered by commercial and private interests. It was not just the fisheries, it was everything the forest, the land, the water … everything. The Fracture, you could say was bad for Canada but good for the environment. Good for the environment within the borders of the Commonwealth anyway. Some species of west coast salmon that were thought to be extinct or on the verge of extinction due to over-fishing and pollution are now making a comeback; clear cutting of the forest has been stopped and what remains is treated as a garden that must be carefully harvested; there are new more environmentally friendly farming methods and crops imported from India, the Punjab, China, Japan; population growth is now under control.

We are returning the former province of British Columbia to the earthly paradise it once was. We are rebuilding paradise, a paradise that was destroyed by the leadership of a country which decided that a country was just an economics equation, a piece of land to be ruthlessly exploited without any regard for the future.

One day, maybe a poet will write about the land of the Asian Commonwealth of North America as Paradise Regained.

Johnny: I could not think of a better line, a reference to Milton’s Paradise Lost to end what I must say was a darn good interview.

Boom-Boom: Better than Dr. Diane’s [laughing]? Just kidding. It was indeed a pleasure to be here and remember, don’t be afraid to call things as you see them. Don’t let people like the Ayatollah, claiming to speak for God, intimidate you. Remember, a coward dies a thousands death a brave man only one.

Johnny: Somehow I don’t find much comfort in that last sentence, but thanks anyway. We are out of time, and again thank you very much Tamil, it was a pleasure, and thanks to all of you for tuning in.

Join us tomorrow when our guest will be Maude Elisabeth Barnstone the well-known feminist, socialist and writer of the definitive biographies of Nellie Mooney McLung and Susan B. Anthony. If I’m not mistaken we’re about to get a whole new perspective on The Fracture.

Join us again tomorrow. Good Night