Saturday, September 23, 2006

Entitlement vs. Responsibility.....What Kind of Canadian are You?

I came across this excellent article this morning by Andrew Coyne. Once again AC displays his talent for cutting through the BS to expose the real issue at hand.

An excerpt to whet your appetite:

Here's a statistic guaranteed to set your teeth on edge: Of the 15,000 Lebanese citizens evacuated from Beirut by Canadian Forces during last month's war -- the largest such operation this country has mounted since the Second World War, at a cost of $85-million -- some 7,000 are reported to have returned home. Home, as in Lebanon.

I guess this only proves the point that home really is where the heart is. But lets look at this from a logical perspective. It seems that nearly half of the part-time hyphenated Canadians that were rescued from war ravaged Lebanon have seen fit to return.

By my math that constitutes an expenditure of some $40 million to ensure these Canadian "citizens" had a safe holiday from the turmoil in their country of choice. I have no doubt that many of these same people were the ones who complained bitterly about the timing of the sea lift and the horrid conditions to which they were subjected. One might even say their "rights" as Canadian citizens were not properly respected.

"Outrageous", you say. When viewed through the filtered lens of entitlement all becomes clear. Back to AC to clarify.

Why were Canadian ships sent thousands of miles across the sea to pluck another country's citizens out of harm's way? Because, as you well know, they are also Canadian citizens. That is, they are dual citizens, beneficiaries of a 1977 change in immigration legislation, and as such, though many have not lived or paid taxes in this country for several years, are entitled to all the protections the Canadian state affords.

Despite the public outrage this aroused at the time, the Harper government wisely decided the middle of a war was not the time to revisit the principle of dual citizenship: They were Canadian citizens, and that was that. But the war being now ended, the government is said to be considering whether to abolish this strangely ambivalent status, to which at least four million foreign-born Canadians, plus an uncounted number of native-born, lay claim.

If so, this would be an event of enormous symbolic importance. Moreover, it would fit this Prime Minister's broader aim, which is nothing less than to recast the meaning of Canadian nationhood -- as a moral project, in which we are collectively and individually engaged, rather than a simple dispenser of services; something that lays claims upon us, as much as it confers entitlements. And the very least claim it can make upon us is that we commit ourselves to it, to the exclusion of all others.

There it is.......The crux of the entire matter. Entitlements with Responsibility. An expectation from your nation that these entitlements come with a price.......your solemn commitment as a citizen to contribute to the moral fiber and health of the nation.

It comes as no surprise that the policy of dual citizenship was the creation of a Trudeau government. A man, I might remind you, who enjoyed the entitlements of Canadian citizenship while avoiding the responsibilities of military service.

This moral sickness has been fostered and epitomized by years of rule by the LPC. Who can forget David Dingwalls..."I'm entitled to my Entitlements"! or Jean Cretins..."So a few million dollars got lost".

But lets look at a more current example of the LPC sense of entitlement totally devoid of responsibility. Yesterday Hamid Karzai addressed the House of Commons on the Canadian military and humanitarian commitment to Afghanistan, a commitment ordered by the previous Liberal government.

This from the Ottawa Sun

A Conservative MP has blasted the "total disrespect" shown by Liberal and NDP MPs who skipped yesterday's historic address in Parliament by Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai.
Deepak Obhrai, the parliamentary secretary to Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay, said it's a disgrace so many MPs played hooky from the House of Commons as Canadian soldiers put their lives on the line in Afghanistan and a critical public debate rages.

At least 40 Grits were no-shows for the speech.

"The Canadian soldiers have spilled their blood for the Afghan people, and Mr. Karzai had come to thank them, but as usual the Liberals showed total disrespect to the Canadian Forces and to the Canadian people by not even having the courtesy to show up," Obhrai said.

Pat Breton, a spokesman for Liberal Leader Bill Graham, estimated only 60 of the 102 Liberal MPs were present in the House due to the leadership campaign.

"We sent out the message that we hoped all members would make their way back to Ottawa, but the reality is that the delegate selection is next weekend, and that was a priority," he said.

There you have it folks. A spokesman for the current LPC leader acknowledges that the rights of LPC MP's to engage in partisan political exercises aimed at regaining power for the sake of power trumps their responsibilities as servants of the Nation.

As in any organization, corporation or indeed nation the tone of the "corporate culture" is established from the top down. The moral bankruptcy that has crippled this nation is not hard to follow to its roots. But where does that leave us now?

Back to AC for the answer:

There is, however, an older tradition, memories of which lie buried deep in this country's collective consciousness, and it is one I believe the current Prime Minister is attempting to tap. You can see it in his invocation of our moral obligations in Afghanistan, in his unflinching challenge to Canadians to live up to our sometimes lofty notion of ourselves, even at the cost of Canadian lives.

Some look at our losses in Afghanistan and complain that we are bearing a "disproportionate" share of the burden. But there was a time when Canadians would have worn such distinctions with pride.

So we stand at a national crossroad, one which challenges our very notion of being Canadian. Are there enough of us left willing to accept the RESPONSIBILITY inherent in our citizenship? Or have we become a nation of whiners and special interest groups intent on getting our ENTITLEMENTS?