- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 18, 2005

Friendly Canada

As a Canadian, I would like to say this is one Canadian — and I know hundreds more — who is not turning against the United States (“Oh, no, Canada,” Op-Ed, yesterday).

Indeed, most Canadians greatly admire the United States. I have traveled extensively there and have never had a bad experience with Americans. Canadians recognize that the United States has an important role to play as the world’s policeman, and we appreciate the sacrifice your great nation undertakes to fulfill this responsibility. We are aware of the billions of dollars spent on defending our way of life, as well as the sacrifice of some of America’s bravest and best young people.

The average Canadian does not denigrate President Bush. We are aware that our immigration policy is a loose cannon. Unfortunately, our federal government has its own agenda with regard to immigration, and it is an agenda that most Canadians dislike. Thoughtful Canadians are committed to the rule of law and due process.

Unfortunately, former prime minister and international playboy Pierre Trudeau created many problems for Canada, not the least of which is a constitution that all too often supports rights to an almost limitless interpretation.

Canadians are aware of the threat posed by al Qaeda to the American homeland. It troubles us mightily that potential mass murderers and terrorists are allowed to freely cross our borders. Please do not judge decent Canadians harshly because a burnt-out politician, desperate for re-election, chooses to stir anti-Americanism among what your own H.L. Mencken called “the booboisie.”

Do not think that all Canadians refer to the United States with profanity. On the contrary, while there are identifiable differences between the United States and Canada, they are no greater than the differences between say, British Columbia and Newfoundland. We who share this wonderful continent are more alike than different.

True, we disagree from time to time, but it is as families disagree. We still have great affection for each other, and we can respect our different points of view.

ALISTAIR THOMSON

Oshawa, Ontario

I’m a little miffed at how short Americans’ memories are. The United States and Canada have a long history as neighbors, friends and allies. As friends, we do differ on issues, especially when we have different governments. I would like to take this opportunity to remind America of some of our neighborly gestures over the past little while.

Canadians risked their lives helping rescue several Americans in Iran during the hostage crisis in the late 1970s.

We put up with American Marines flying the maple leaf upside down during the World Series and showed enough class to let the Marines fly our colors when the game returned to Canada.

During the morning and days following the September 11th disaster, when U.S. airspace was closed, we accepted planes en route to North America — thus placing our cities at risk. We then accepted many Americans, tens of thousands, into our homes, treating them like family while they watched with horror the events of the day. Then, while President Bush was thanking the world, he forgot us. Not that we really care — that’s not why we helped.

Hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans, and we sent aid and helped as we did when Hurricane Andrew hit Florida.

We stand next to the United States in the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan.

There are plenty more stories of neighborly actions. Please do not confuse our governments’ differences with those of the people of our two countries.

GEORGE PUBLICOVER

Halifax, Nova Scotia

I am Canadian. I write to express my thanks and appreciation to those of you who support your president in his efforts to bring peace and democracy to other people.

It has become too common to say and not do. You are to be honored for your willingness to act — sometimes without support, often at great sacrifice, and too frequently amid the derision of those who do not grasp that peace is most often attained through struggle.

I am often asked if my support for your country would run so deep as to offer up my own sons and daughters to this belief. I can only answer that I am trying to raise them to understand that evil is to be resisted, not simply endured — that there are just causes that may require painful sacrifice and, ultimately, that we are judged on what we stand for, what we fight for, and perhaps what we’re willing to give our lives for.

You are not alone. I believe that there are many that cheer you — even here in Canada. Unfortunately, many of your supporters won’t show themselves until it’s safe to do so.

DAVID WETTERSTRAND

Lethbridge, Alberta

As your article stated, it has become a right of passage for liberal politicians to bash Americans for their policies and anything else they think will win them votes with “Yank haters” in this country. If we are smart, we will elect a conservative government that has the exact opposite idea on how U.S.-Canada relations should be handled.

Of course, it is not the wish of all Canadians to blame the United States for their ills. I spent 35 years in the Navy here in Canada and spent many days at sea working with our American colleagues. I have many friends from the U.S. Navy and hold Americans in high esteem. Please do not believe for one minute that the liberals speak for the majority of Canadians. That would simply not be true.

PHIL RODY

Elliot Lake, Ontario

Cicero’s petty lawyers, and ours

The law schools that balk at admitting military recruiters (“Recruiting ban fate forecast,” Commentary, Wednesday) might ponder the words of Cicero, republican Rome’s greatest lawyer whose writings are a brief for Western civilization. In defending the general Murena as the winner of a contested election against the lawyer Sulpicius, Cicero battered the legal profession’s importance in contrast with that of the military.

His ringing peroration: “There can be no distinction in such a petty profession as law; its basic materials are small-scale, preoccupied with the letters of the alphabet and punctuation marks… Because all our affairs at home are guarded by the military virtues, the excellence of the military outweighs all others.” Case closed.

H. GEORGE HAHN

Director of the M.A. in Western

Humanities

Towson University

Towson

On torture, capitulation

Your article, “Bush agrees to McCain’s ban on torture” (Nation, Friday), is the sad story of yet another craven political surrender by President Bush and Capitol Hill Republicans.

Instead of standing for principal, the Republicans again caved in to avoid political heat. Republicans in general and President Bush in particular, make political “deals” to give opponents whatever they want, even to the detriment of the nation. Republicans expend more energy accommodating political enemies than enacting the agenda that got them elected. Even controlling the presidency and both Houses of Congress, Republicans cannot defeat suicidal legislation granting rights to terrorists greater than those enjoyed by Americans.

Thanks to spineless Republicans, noncitizen terrorist thugs can now drag hapless Americans into court on criminal charges. In preparing their cases, terrorists will be ably represented at no cost by “civil rights” lawyers while receiving sympathetic media coverage. Meanwhile, American defendants will spend tens of thousands on their defenses, or take what little legal help the government provides, all the while enduring ugly media assaults.

Judging from the Republican fundraising spiel, party leaders are worried about losing control of Congress. With legislation like the McCain bill, their concern is legitimate.

MARK PETRINA

Chicago, Ill

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