Sunday, December 12, 2010

In New Brunswck, it's a long, long time from Nov. 11 to Dec.11

One month ago, to the day, New Brunswickers observed a day of remembering those who died for us, and why they died. There was a two minute silence devoted to remembering who they were, and what they were fighting. But a month is a long time in New Brunswick. Yesterday, a newspaper column by a leading industrialist from this province advocated a system of government.  It would be almost identical to the fascism that some 40,000 died to keep away from our country and our homes.democracy - and from us who have lived wirth freedom and individual rights, thanks to that enormous sacrifice.

I don't believe the business leader was concciously suggesting a fascist system. I'm not sure he even  knows what it means. In that respect, I am reminded of Bertie, a nice kid, but mentally slow. Thought nine years older than me, he was about my mental age when I knew him .I was seven at the time. But he often came to play with me because we liked the same thngs. He was a big kid. Once, he scattered a whole gang of kids that had jumped me. Bertie was a good friend.

There was a war on. When I asked him to explain it, he would just shrug his shoulders and say, "I dunno. Don't bother me none. Hey! Let's take your coaster out."

One day he appeared in a brown jacket with a kilt and a nifty cap, and boots that clicked when he walked. He was proud and pleased. He had stolen his brother's draft papers and joined the army. They told him he was going to fight fash...something.  "What's a fash?" I asked.

"I dunno. Here, let's look at this new comic book I got. You can read it to me."

 Bertie was in northern Germany when he was still just sixteen. He never saw seventeen.

I"m sure all those summiteers - the business leaders, and university presidents, and AIMS staff, and Pemier Alward - all of of them observed the November 11 ceremonies for those died for us. I'm sure all of them observed the two minutes of silence. But what did they think of in that two minutes? Obviously, they were not thinking of why so many died. Obviously, the business leaders, university presidents, AIMS staff and Premier Alward don't know why.

This is the province where leaders of alll sorts insist that children must listen to O Canada until they fossilize. Apparently, it makes them patriotic. I have a better idea. Let's have a special programme for business people, university presidents, AIMS staff, politicians, and assorted "community groups" to teach them some of the basics of what Canada is about, and why so many have died for it.

And let's find a smart seven year old who can read it to our journalists.

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