It should not be surprising that our eagerness to have our national character identified as “genocidal” has raised unavoidable consequences and problems requiring further unpopular decisions. Canada has always been parodied as the “I’m sorry” culture, but now we need to be even sorrier – even sorriest! Hit us again, PLEASE!
I refer, of course, to the fact that our prime minister’s agreement with and recognition of the charge of genocide has raised the inevitable question of prosecution and responsibility. Genocide, after all, IS a crime which is punishable INTERNATIONALLY.
Whom do we charge, convict, imprison? Perhaps those feeling the guilt so heavily that they must insist upon official national flagellation would offer their skins for public flaying? I doubt it. More likely that they would carry on rewriting history and removing more Sir John A. statues.
This bizarre outcome is a tragically ironic result of our national leaders’ hurried insistence on assuming moral responsibility for crimes committed largely by the Catholic and Anglican churches — in the name of the Crown — and in the name of all then-extant codes of ethics.
If one looks at the issue dispassionately, one sees a culture, however simple, unsophisticated, passive it may have been, overwhelmed by a socially, militarily and technologically superior culture. Most of us would call it “history.” In the crude modern vernacular, shit happens.
The result of the constant insistence on apologies in an extended national self-flagellation is based on the simple fact that our forbears won the war or the conquest. The aboriginals did not. My ancestors weren’t even out of Scotland and Ireland yet, but I do agree that the Europeans who were here did a shoddy job, and that pattern has evolved. Today, we don’t like the result, so we call it genocide.
Had our forbears done a thorough job, they would have been guilty of genocide; since they did not eradicate the indigenes, they are charged with genocide. I’m not sure which charge is worse — or which one is accurate. Our recent celebration of our D-Day contribution to humanity should remind us of which view of our national character is more accurate.
Let us just get on with the job of sharing our national riches and wealth more equitably. After all, we COULD have been American!