To the condemned Jews of Auschwitz, Canada had a special meaning. It was the name given to the camp barracks where the food, clothes, gold, diamonds, jewellery and other goods taken from prisoners were stored. It represented life, luxury and salvation; it was a Garden of Eden in Hell; it was also unreachable.Fast Forward to present day Canada:
In effect, the barracks at Auschwitz symbolized what Canada was to all the Jews of Europe throughout the 1930s and 1940s—a paradise, enormous, wealthy, overflowing and full of life; but out of bounds, a haven totally inaccessible ... a story summed up best in the words of an anonymous senior Canadian official who, in the midst of a rambling, off-the-record discussion with journalists in early 1945, was asked how many Jews would be allowed into Canada after the war. His response, though spontaneous, seems to reflect the prevailing view of a substantial number of his fellow citizens: "None," he said, "is too many." (1)
Among those who saw a pattern of discrimination in the actions of the [Harper] government was Gar Pardy, the former head of the consular services section of the foreign affairs department. Opposition MPs were suspicious as well. Charlie Angus, an NDP MP from Northern Ontario, said he was told by an immigration official of discriminatory practices by his department. The department would periodically post photos of newcomers on advertising displays to promote immigration. "They identified who gets in these photos in terms of what ethnic groups they were interested in," said Angus. But one group, he was told, was deliberately left out of the promotion materials. "They said, 'No Muslims.' This came down from government orders." (2)You would almost believe that in 65 years Canadians had remained a country of exclusion. Where entry depended upon race, colour or religion. An unreachable Garden of Eden for the majority of the world's people.
And yet we know differently.
So why are we tolerating an immigration policy of "No Muslims"? Or the marginalizing of one million Muslim Canadians?
It's fear mongering. The same fear mongering used in Nazi Germany to justify human atrocity. Jews were working with Communists to take over the world the people were told. In fact the Social Credit Party, the forerunner to Reform-Alliance-Conservative, was founded on the notion of a Jewish conspiracy. (3)
And if you're rolling your eyes, thinking that was a long time ago, Marci McDonald, in her book Armageddon Factor, speaks of a conference she attended at Tristan Emmanuel's ECP (Equipping Christians for the Public-square) Centre*: "Islam: The Threat at the Door."
A "heinous plot by fanatical Muslims to take over Canada ... an economic jihad being waged around the globe." It has a familiar ring, doesn't it?
"The one threat that is greater to Western Civilization than Secular Humanism ... is the tyranny of Islamic Fundamentalism." ** Accordingly, the conference featured a mysterious former Islamic jurist from an unnamed North African country who had converted to Christianity after reading the Bible ... Under the cover of a protective identity, Sam Solomon, as he called himself, spent his time touring the West with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, warning against the perils posed by his former faith.
Despite the mystery about his origins, Solomon turned out to be a regular on the evangelical conference circuit—such a regular, in fact, that it turned out I had seen him months earlier as the keynote speaker at the closing banquet of the Christian Legal Fellowship's annual conference, where he delivered a show-stopping performance. There, wiry and immaculate in a tuxedo, a microphone pinned to his lapel, Solomon roamed the ballroom floor, his timing worthy of a Vegas pitchman and his script packed with vivid and chilling details. His speech was punctuated by abrupt geysers of Arabic quotations from the Koran, barked out in the tones of a vengeful imam, then, just as suddenly, his voice dropped to a theatrical whisper as he recounted the heinous plot by fanatical Muslims to take over Canada.
"Islam is not a religion in the Western sense of the word," he declaimed. "It's a socio-political, socio-economic, socio-educational judicial and militaristic system, often garbed in religious terminology. There is not one word in the Koran about peace. The Koran is full of hate, violence, rape and the spoils of war." [Obviously he hasn't read the Old Testament]
At times, his speech smacked of an anti-immigration tirade as he brandished the spectre of a day when Canada would boast a non-white majority. That impression was reinforced when he pinpointed the government's defining misstep: the moment it adopted multiculturalism as an official policy. Other countries, including Britain, had done the same, Solomon declared: "Now the whole of the Western world is sinking under the weight of Islam."
... What most shook his audience of Christian lawyers, however, were his tales of an economic jihad being waged around the globe, complete with shariah-compliant banks in Britain and the launch of an Islamic index on the New York stock exchange. (4)
On December 7, 1943, the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix published a petition by the Canadian National Committee on Refugees and victims of political persecution. It was during a time when Canada was thought to be a "paradise, enormous, wealthy, overflowing and full of life; but out of bounds" for Jewish refugees.
They ask the question: WHY IS CANADA AT WAR?
Stephen Harper's new love of Israel, means that we must hate Muslims by default. His junior foreign minister, Peter Kent, has suggested that a pre-emptive strike in the Middle East, is no longer a case of if, but when. (5) And Harper recently stated that he's "got bruises to show" for speaking out in the international community against enemies of Israel. Any enemy of Israel is an enemy of ours.
Is it not simply to preserve a place in the world for human decency? Is it not because we believe no man or race has the right to enslave or destroy another man or race? Is our unaccountable expenditure of lives, labor and wealth justifiable for any lower reason?
If the cause of humanity is worth such an effort, it is also worth the consideration of a the plight of a few thousand refugees ... Putting it another way, the whole Canadian war effort is weakened unless the principles which motivate it are applied in the specific, immediate and practical issues. Fighting Hitlerism means fighting Hitler's most bestial acts. It means rescuing those whom he would kill, giving sanctuary to those lucky enough to escape from him. It means admitting some of those refugees to Canada.
All this should but it is not. Canada, one of the richest and most sincere of the United Nations, should be first in giving refugees the right and room to live, which they were robbed of by Hitler. But she is among the last.
Is this reflective of the national mood or simply a case of national apathy?
Further to the 1943 petition:
Unfortunately the Canadian response was weak.
To refrain from signing it [the petition] is to endorse the present attitude toward the refugees. An attitude little better than Hitler's. ... how much Canada will actually do will undoubtedly be greatly influenced by the number of signatures secured for this petition.
Let Canada remove this moat from her eye so that she can better see the beam in Germany's. Thousands of Canadians have already written in their own blood their responsibilities to Hitler's victims. We back home can at least put our responsibility in ink.
There have been many apologies made for the way we treated not only Jewish refugees, but Jewish Canadians in general, since that time.
But who in 65 years, will apologize for us?
*Tristan Emmanuel ran the election campaign of Ontario MP Randy Hillier, one of Tim Hudak's caucus members. He also worked on Jim Flaherty's leadership bid and when he held a pro-Iraq war rally, under a group he started 'Canadians for George Bush'; Jim Flaherty, Stockwell Day and Tim Hudak all spoke.
**Suggested reading: HOLDING THE BULLY'S COAT: Canada and the US Empire, By Linda McQuaig, Doubleday Canada, ISBN 978-0-385-66012-9
1. None is Too Many: Canada and the Jews of Europe 1933-1948, By Irving Abella and Harold Troper, Lester & Orpen Dennys Limited, 1982, ISBN: 0-919630-31-6, Preface ix
2. Harperland:The Politics of Control, By Lawrence Martin, Viking Press, 2010, ISBN: 978-0-670-06517-2, Pg. 201
3. Social Discredit: Anti-Semitism, Social Credit and the Jewish Response, Janine Stingel, Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press ISBN 0-7735-2010-4, Pg. 13
4. The Armageddon Factor: The Rise of Christian Nationalism in Canada, By: Marci McDonald, Random House Canada, 2010, ISBN: 978-0-307-35646-8 3, Pg. 304-306
5. Canada’s international do-gooder image shattered: Ottawa Loses Bid for UN Security Council, by Eric Walberg, Global Research, October 23, 2010