While our government at all levels continues its assault on our Right to Freedom of Speech, we must remember that the only reason we even have that right is because brave and decent men and women fought and died defending it on our behalf.
I suppose that’s why reports that schools are giving students the ability to “opt out” of Remembrance Day ceremonies is so offensive to me.
Schools in both Edmonton, Alberta and the province of Manitoba are allowing students to “opt out” of services honouring our Veterans. Manitoba Moron… I mean premier… Greg Selinger put forward the absurd notion that “religious freedom” was the reason.
He’s an idiot, to be blunt.
Remembrance Day is not a religious holiday. Freedom of Religion doesn’t have a thing to do with it and I’m horrified that a politician at any level of government would say otherwise, much less the premier of a province.
Here’s what Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger actually said.
“We have religious freedom in Canada and if there’s a very specific reason why people, for religious purposes, don’t want their children (to attend), that is an option that they have. The overwhelming majority of our students will participate now that we require Remembrance Day services to be part of school activities.”
Well, this chucklehead knows how to contradict himself in the very same breath, that much is clear. Remembrance Day services are mandatory in all schools… but nobody is required to attend.
I’m impressed.. and by impressed I mean revolted, disgusted and ashamed that this is happening in Canada.
Thankfully Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is not one of these offensive politicians. In fact, Kenney is just as outraged as I am, maybe more.
“I find it offensive,” Kenney tweeted. “They don’t opt out of the freedoms secured by our war dead.”
I could not agree more. This decision by many Canadian school boards is offensive.
We should be doing everything we can to honour our veterans this one day a year. It’s the very least we can do.
Thankfully there are still places in this nation who comprehend we have a duty to honour our veterans and they discharge that duty admirably. And by admirably I mean this should be the standard across the country.
In 2004 I travelled out to Ontario to see Bruce and Donna Montague. This was shortly after they were arrested for violating Canada’s Firearms Act, and we were meeting to build what would become Montague’s constitutional challenge to the Firearms Act.
While I was travelling and didn’t know precisely where I would be on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, I did know I would be stopping wherever I was at that hour to pay my respects to our veterans.
That place happened to be the town of Kindersley, Saskatchewan.
I’ve never forgotten that day, and for good reason.
The citizens of Kindersley, Saskatchewan truly comprehend the incredible sacrifice members of their community made to protect our Rights and Freedoms. What’s more important, is they know how to show respect to those brave men and women.
After the service honouring our veterans was over, everyone was asked to remain seated while the veterans marched out of the hall first.
It was a sign of respect.
And these schools think they can spit in the face of the very men and women who have sacrificed so much on their behalf?
The “ME NOW” generation and their enablers like Greg Selinger have gone too far.
It’s time we “mere citizens” (aka voters) taught politicians like Selinger a lesson in respect by replacing him in the next election.
Perhaps then he’d behave less atrociously.
Here is the article I wrote immediately following the Remembrance Day service in Kindersley, Saskatchewan on November 11, 2004.
Remembering Our Elders On This Most Sacred of Days
By Christopher di Armani
A small town in rural Saskatchewan. Stocked with good upstanding Canadians, like hundreds of thousands of other small communities across this great nation.
Services here today were not graced by the presence of “famous” people or politicians, just good, hardworking folks who believed in paying tribute to their elders, the men and women who have given their lives for the freedoms we enjoy today.
As I sat in the pew of the Kindersley church, my eyes wandered over the two rows of veterans being honored here today. Some in good health, one man in a wheelchair with a breathing tube, another walking with a cane, another with failing eyesight. Two men wore UN blue berets, signifying service in UN missions sanctioned by Canada.
They were all rightfully the centre of attention this Remembrance Day. This small town sent dozens of its young men and women off to war in past years.
They were the ones who came home. So many didn’t.
One of the speakers, an eloquent lady, spoke of the significance of the day, of the meaning of the words “We Shall Never Forget”. The significance of the stone cairn here in town, indeed in towns all across Canada. Stones placed with reverence for those who paid the ultimate price for protecting freedom.
Hymns were sung in praise of God and the Queen. God first, of course. He did, after all, come before the queen.
But it was the end of the ceremony that touched me most.
Tradition in this small town, at least, was simple. Those honored veterans were asked to march out first. Everyone else came second.
As they should.