- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 3, 2005

Response from the Great White North

Having just now read Austin Bay’s delightful little comedy sketch, “Fragmentation to the North?” (Commentary, Friday) I feel obliged to respond. I am rather surprised that this American gunslinger purports to have such in-depth knowledge of our “polyglot populace,” its “beer drinkers,” “peaceniks,” “socialists,” “crooked politicians” and “separatists.” Please note that I omitted “Mounties,” the only group that does not exist in the good ol’ United States, unlike all the others, which exist there tenfold. “Amurrka” has its vigilantes, its own gun-toting citizens and the NRA to protect it against crime.

Mr. Bay calls his pessimism “cheeky,” and it is, indeed, very cheeky. His gaseous emanations are repugnant to anyone even vaguely familiar with the workings of a democratic society.

It is true that we don’t treat our separatists the way the United States does. We call this a PQ (Parti Quebecois) crisis. Americans called it a Civil War. We killed none of the separatists. The Yanks and Rebels killed many hundreds of thousands of their own brethren.

We have the Gomery Inquiry into charges of a Liberal Party “Adscam” kickback scheme. The United States’ Watergate, however, has become the world standard for corruption, crime and dishonesty in government. Make your comparisons, oh cheeky one.

We do have a “polyglot” population, as does the “land of the free,” but we choose to celebrate and honor our different cultural heritages rather than suppress, smother and deny them.

As for democracy and free speech “taking a beating,” as Mr. Bay claims, it is a vital function of a democracy to root out and eliminate crooked politicians and corruption wherever and whenever they occur. And they will occur.

For him to compare our democracy with that of Lebanon’s or our Adscam with the American Watergate is typical American hyperbole. This from a country that sends many of its young people fleeing to Canada rather than fight futile and unwanted wars. Canada’s democracy is functioning very well, indeed, thank you.

Our internal problems will, in the long run, be ironed out in a peaceful and democratic manner, as they always have been. Canada’s treatment of its aboriginal people is far, far removed from the United States’ murderous, deceitful, genocidal brutalizing of its indigenous Indian tribes.

The massacres of tens of thousands of native peoples and the hundreds of Indian tribes and rich, thriving cultures that “vanished” because of the avarice of American “democratic” governments and its “heroic,” land-hungry settlers should be more than enough to cause “Cheeks” Bay to think twice and thrice before criticizing Canada or Canadians, or anyone else, for that matter.

Canada breaking up? Perhaps. Anything might happen in Quebec. It depends upon the Quebecois. Many of them want separation and strive for it. Many don’t and strive against it. Most Canadians want our Canadiens to remain part of our country, and we strive to keep them as fellow countrymen, with their unique culture. But whatever happens, it will be peaceful and democratic.

Should Quebec leave, I am sure the rest of Canada will draw closer together and our confederation will be that much stronger. I am positive, however, that the majority of us will adamantly reject joining Mr. Bay’s United States of America.

MICKEY OBERMAN

Toronto

Democrats out of step on parental notification

Congratulations to the 27 percent of Democrats in the House of Representatives who voted for the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (H.R. 748), which enables parents to be involved in their minor child’s abortion decision if such a law applies in their home state (“House approves abortion limits,” Nation, Thursday). It makes it illegal for their children to be transported secretly across state lines to have an abortion.

Unfortunately, the vast majority (73 percent) of House Democrats voted to deny parents the right to protect their children from abortion promoters and abortion businesses despite the Quinnipiac University poll cited in Thursday’s article, which showed that 75 percent of the public favors parental notification before a minor has an abortion.

While Democrats are carrying the abortion monkey on their backs, they will be an ever-decreasing minority. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, has suggested that all Democrats need to do is change the way they talk about abortion. Changing words won’t do it; they need to change their votes.

WILLIAM LUKSIC

Rockville

Tragic consequences of domestic-violence law

Lewis Barber, 48, was killed by Alexandria police after holding his son hostage for 20 hours (“Police kill man who took son hostage,” Metropolitan, Thursday). What precipitated this tragedy?

According to news reports, his wife wanted a divorce and used standard divorce procedure. She filed for a domestic-violence protective order. Then government autopilot took over.

This father lost one child to cancer, and another shipped off to Iraq the week he was killed. His wife tried to remove him from his only remaining child by claiming that he, a man with nine years of sobriety, had a drinking problem. She also claimed that her husband, who owned replica guns, “caused her fear,” despite the fact that she packed a real pistol.

While Congress is considering reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) it might wish to inject some safeguards to preserve lives instead of wasting them via the unintended consequences of good intentions. Domestic violence is tragic. Ill-conceived laws that purport to protect people but actually hurt them are just as bad.

Make no mistake about it, abuse of domestic violence laws is another form of domestic violence. Manipulation and abuse of these laws should be deemed an equal crime.

STUART MILLER

American Fathers Coalition

Washington

A senator’s clarification

In your April 27 editorial “To tell the truth,” you reference some statements I made during the 1997 debate over appellate court nominee Merrick Garland and imply that this proves I am being inconsistent in my current opposition to the so-called “nuclear option.” I want to set the record straight.

That 1997 debate was in no way about the long-standing Senate rule requiring a supermajority vote to achieve cloture on a nomination. The 1997 debate wasn’t about that because Mr. Garland clearly had the required supermajority to be confirmed on the Senate floor.

In fact, he was voted out of the Judiciary Committee on a 14-2 vote. Yet despite this clear bipartisan, supermajority support (32 Republicans eventually voted to confirm Mr. Garland), Republican Senate leadership refused even to schedule a vote. In this context of blocking consensus nominees on the floor after supporting them in committee, I challenged the leadership to provide such nominees “a vote on the floor” — which could include a cloture vote and/or a final vote.

During my 32-year Senate career, I have come to appreciate deeply the Senate’s unique role in our government to check the excesses of any temporary majority. I oppose the “nuclear option” because it compromises the ability of the United States Senate to ensure an independent judiciary and because it breaks Senate rules in order to change the rules — in essence, it’s a double assault on the integrity of the institution.

SEN. JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

Wilmington, Del.

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