More Summer Musings
Canada has lost its only surviving holder of the Victoria Cross.
Wed 3 Aug 2005 15:07
Statement by the Prime Minister on the death of Sgt Ernest Alvia "Smokey" Smith
August 3, 2005 Ottawa, Ontario Prime Minister Paul Martin today made the following statement: "I am deeply saddened by the passing of a true Canadian hero, Sgt. Ernest Alvia 'Smokey' Smith. Smokey Smith was a holder of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces for valour.Well said, Paul Martin.
His conspicuous bravery, initiative and leadership in the face of enemy fire during World War II inspired fellow Canadians everywhere - in action and on the home front. To generations of Canadians, Smokey Smith stood for courage and resolve at a time of great need, an example of strength of character, loyalty and duty.
After the war, he continued this extraordinary record of service, devoting considerable time and energy to his country, for which he was deservedly made a member of the Order of Canada. The last surviving Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross, Smokey Smith remained throughout this time, as ever, a loyal comrade-in-arms to all his fellow veterans. His passing marks a milestone in Canadian history.
On behalf of a grateful and indebted nation, I would like to express my deepest condolences to his children, David and Norma-Jean, his grandchildren, Dan and Amanda, and his great granddaughter, Jewele. We are a better nation because of men like Sgt. Smokey Smith. He was - and will always be - a much-respected and remarkable Canadian hero."
The Prime Minister'’s Office - Communications
Note to Carolyn Parrish MP. Smokey Smith VC was not a peacekeeper. He was a Canadian infantry soldier and a damn good one.
From the Globe & Mail obituary (I can't find an electronic version).
"His actions that rainy night [October 21-22 1944 in Cessena Italy], when he single-handedly fought off [three] German tanks and dozens of German troops on a road beside the Savio River were hailed as an inspiration to all his countrymen for time immemorial. To Mr. Smith, it was simple: kill or be killed. He was scared but he couldn't let his fear gain the best of him or he would die." At the end of the firefight, "Dozens of dead Germans lay strewn all over the road."His comment on this action brings to mind the recent statements of another of Canada's warriors, General Hillier. Smokey Smith had this to say about his actions,
"I don't take prisoners. Period." Mr. Smith said 60 years later. "I'm not paid to take prisoners. I'm paid to kill them. That's all there is to it."
We will remember them.
For quite some time I have been worried that the manner in which the federal Liberal government deals with Western social and political concerns would lead to a surge in favour of Western separatism. Friends with whom I have shared my worry have always pooh-poohed the notion and declared the threat of western separatism to be non-existence. Well it ain't.
From the Western Standard we learn this disquieting news (Hat tip to Neale News.)
The research, which was conducted by pollster Faron Ellis, a political science professor at the Lethbridge Community College, was commissioned by the Western Standard to determine how well the federal government under Prime Minister Paul Martin has been managing the issue of western alienation - something that Martin promised to reduce as part of his 2004 election campaign.Why is this happening? There are lots of reasons, but a good summary is given in the article by Alberta MLA Ted Morton.
It demonstrates the highest support level for separation ever recorded in any province. Historically, separatist sentiment has been estimated in Alberta to hover in the single digits. In fact, 42 per cent of Albertans now say they are willing to consider the idea of forming a new nation, independent of Ottawa. In Saskatchewan, 31.9 per cent expressed a willingness. Residents of B.C. and Manitoba were the least likely to say they would consider separation, but significant numbers in both provinces nevertheless expressed sympathy with the separatist cause: 30.8 per cent and 27.5 per cent, respectively.
The poll was conducted around Canada Day, between June 29 and July 5, 2005, when sentiment for federation should have been running at its peak. It sampled 1,448 adults and had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 per cent, 19 times out of 20. Remarkably, notes pollster Ellis, the greatest support for separation existed among young people, not the stereo-typical embittered Albertan codger.
Thirty-seven per cent of those between the ages of 18 and 29 were open to the notion of breaking away from Canada. "Interestingly enough, in that age group, they haven'’t had the major constitutional or federal touchstones like previous generations," Ellis says. "Their psyche hasn'’t been ingrained by major constitutional crises, such as the previous generations."
Thirty and forty-year-olds witnessed the constitutional crises that were the Charlottetown and Meech Lake accords, and older groups will remember the NEP. "But with 10 years of relative constitutional peace, to have high numbers in that [youngest] generation ... those youth numbers are surprising," he adds.
"There is a deep and troubling realization that all of the effort of the Reform Party - 'the West wants in,' democratic reform, fiscal and social responsibility - all of that effort of the last 20 years appears to have achieved virtually nothing, -” says Ted Morton, MLA for Calgary Foothills -Rockyview, on leave from his position as a professor of political science at the University of Calgary.Indeed, what is the point of sticking around when to be ruled by central Canadian oligarchs who constitute the new Family Compact? What was the old Family Compact?
"On fiscal responsibility they [the federal Liberals] just spent $28 billion in 28 days after the budget. On social responsibility they just enacted homosexual marriage against demonstrable opposition from the Canadian people. On democratic reform they just appointed three nobodies to the Senate despite the fact that we [Albertans] just elected three new senators," Morton notes.
Add to that the prospect that despite the revelations of corruption from Gomery and the kickbacks and lies, Morton says that voters in Ontario are prepared to re-elect them, and it'’s no wonder people are asking, "What'’s the point of sticking around?"
Family Compact, name popularly applied to a small, powerful group of men who dominated the government of Upper Canada (Ontario) from the closing years of the 18th cent. to the beginnings of responsible government under the Baldwin-–LaFontaine Reform ministry (1848-–51).In my view Alberta will leave this federation before Quebec does.
The group, some of whose members belonged to the same family and most of whom were men of wealth, controlled the legislative and executive councils, had a virtual monopoly of political office, and strongly influenced banking, education, the issuing of land grants, the affairs of the Anglican church in Canada, and the courts.
New settlers from Great Britain and the United States, finding themselves denied political opportunity, were drawn into an opposition movement, which in time became the Reform party. Religious differences embittered the struggle, since the Family Compact (the term first appeared c.1828) was composed almost entirely of members of the Church of England. The Chateau Clique was the name given to a similar powerful group in French Lower Canada.
The Prime Minister is announcing his selection of our new Governor-General today. If you ever doubted the close connections between the CBC and the Liberal Party consider this. Our new GG is the third CBC staffer in a row to be appointed to this important post. Romeo Leblanc (1995-99), Adrienne Clarkson (1999-2005) and now Michaelle Jean, a Haitian immigrant living in Quebec. You may have seen her on the CBC's The Passionate Eye. It is clear now that the Prime Minister's Office uses the CBC Board of Governors as their governor-general search team. And you thought I was stretching it with my comments about the new Family Compact running the show.
The Globe & Mail notes that she is the first Quebecer to be appointed in 23 years. Someone in the PMO has obviously planted that little tidbit as a neat piece of spin. The last Quebecer to be Governor General was Jeanne Sauve. While it is true she was appointed 23 years ago, in 1984, she served until 1990. So it has been only 15 years since Quebecer held the post. It really doesn't matter to me if the new GG is from Quebec, but the political spin rankles a bit.
Okay, no more blogging for a few days. It is summer and the family needs care and feeding.