I know, as a liberal, that I am supposed to be infuriated by the Quebec Values charter. I am supposed to be incensed that people’s religious rights are being impinged upon. I should worried that Quebec is a the top of a slippery slope which leads to attacks against religious rights.
I should be feeling that way but, in truth, I am not that revved up about it.
In the last months, I have read stories about:
- people of, to me, unknown religions asking to be separated from the female students in their courses
- gays being arrested in Nigeria
- people protesting to move the upcoming Olympic games from Sochi due to Russian laws about gays
- laws making gay activity illegal in parts of Africa and Asia
- honor killings of women
These are just the tip of the iceberg and does not even begin to address legislative and social discrimination against sexual orientation and religion which seem to be expanding across a large part of the world. This discrimination seem to emerge in countries that are easily identified as religious (primarily Islamic and Christian).
I understand that I am supposed to respect the religious and cultural tenets of my fellow human beings. But I don’t. I don’t respect cultural mores which consider women chattel. I don’t respect religious ideas that do not allow disagreement. I do not respect any call for tolerance which includes the requirement to not disrespect the religion’s originator.
Even as I do not respect these ideas and beliefs, I would fight for the right of anyone to believe as they would, in the privacy of their home or place or worship. That said, in the general population, I am coming to believe that we need to consider that the freedom of religious practice is much less important than the promotion of our social rights (i.e. the equality of women).
I don’t begrudge women from wearing wigs or headscarves or even full body coverings. I don’t begrudge men from wearing hats or turbans. Far be it from me to tell anyone what to wear. I don’t begrudge people from practicing their religions. I don’t begrudge people from believing what they want. I believe this should be a right.
What I begin to believe is that their may be a place for a hierarchy of rights, with religious ones being on a lower rung than others. While the Quebec charter may be a clumsy start, there may be something to it.
I was at a great program on Thursday, November 29th at Beth Tikvah Synagogue in Toronto. Visions for Canada is billed as an opportunity to engage with senior politicians on issues of interest to the Jewish Community. The first program was that night, featuring Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. With almost 500 in attendance, I think we can call it a rousing success.
After Justin assisted in lighting the Hannukah candles (my 19 year old daughter, who voluntarily attended pointed out that Justin could not light the candles because he is not Jewish), the program truly got into gear. The format was straightforward. Five questions, discussed by the organizers and members of the synagogue, would be asked by Rabbi Jarrod Grover. After those questions were asked, the audience could pose questions to the aspiring Prime Minister.
One of the key questions regarded the work of the P5+1 in negotiating an agreement with Iran regarding their nuclear program and enrichment of materials. To be frank, I was worried that Justin would follow the path of other pols, giving a wishy washy answer designed to pander to the audience while saying nothing. I was pleased to hear him start his response with a direct statement. To me, that direct statement framed the rest of his response, building a strong foundation upon which additional nuance could bring value.
I agree with Justin on this statement and on the need to bring additional nuance to the discussion. When unequivocal support of Israel is a part of the foundation, diplomatic nuance becomes one of the key tools in moving from loud rhetoric to action. It is what allows diplomats to translate the bluster of leaders to the reality of success.
There is a road to travel before I am fully confident about Justin Trudeau. But even now, he stands above the leaders of the two other parties, one enmeshed in controversy and the other a pale shadow of his predecessor. I am a faithless man but I am increasingly confident that in 2015, the Liberal Party of Canada and its leader will be the right and best choice for Canada and for its support of our only democratic partner in the Middle East.
Categories: James Morton Campaign, Politics Tags: Beth Tikvah, canada, Carey, Carey Miller, clarify-ca, diplomats-nuance, East, existential threat, Gerald Butts, Iran, iran-justin-trudeau, israel, james-morton, Justin Trudeau, justin-trudeau-iran, liberal party, Middle, nuclear, professionalservices.net, Tehran
I find myself more than a little conflicted about Syria.
On one side, I hold a dislike of tyrannical governments and their actions. I detest the loss of life in the two year old civil war, especially the deaths of children. The use of chemical weapons on civilians is properly considered an evil act.
On the other side, I do not see the national benefit for Canada or the United States to get involved in a Syrian civil war. No matter who takes power, the people of Syria will not be better off. No matter what happens, Canada and the US will gain nothing. Inevitably, we will squander our treasure and the blood of our military in either a useless gesture or a long term failure.
I wonder whether it might be better to put a perimeter around these folks and let them fight it out. We can provide some humanitarian aid while we let this tribal fighting play itself out.
More thinking on this is needed. What do you think?
We live an existence of change and uncertainty. We should celebrate.
I wonder if it is fair to say one is depressed when, in considering the future one’s brightest thoughts are a massive heart attack or a fatal accident?
Categories: Common Wisdom? Tags: carey-miller-communications-toronto, carey-miller-liberal-party, clarify-ca, define-its-not-the-destination-its-the-journey, explaining-its-not-the-destination-its-the-journey, interim-leader-def, its-not-the-destination-its-the-journey, its-not-the-destination-its-the-journey-meaning, the-meaning-of-its-not-the-destination-its-the-journey, www-clarify-ca