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Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Afghanistan in 2009, enjoying a Tim Hortons cof
| April 20, 2015
Columnists

Canadian innocence lost? We never were a 'Peaceable Kingdom'

Photo: Ian Mackenzie/flickr

After Wednesday's events in Ottawa, I want to comment on one version or account (yes, the dread "narrative") which was dominant in the reporting. It's the "unprecedented chaos, lost our virginity/innocence, never gonna be the same, demise of Canada as a Peaceable Kingdom" rendering.

The Peaceable Kingdom isn't even a Canadian phrase. It was used by U.S. Quakers in the 19th century. Literary critic Northrop Frye applied it here in the 1960s and it was popularized by Toronto historian and city councillor William Kilbourn. When I challenged him on its usage, he scoffed, "Don't you recognize irony, man?" It was sarcastic, or at best an aspiration far from reality.

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After 13 years of war, Canada is shocked that a 'terrorist' attacked its soldiers

Photo: flickr

This piece and its updates were first published at The Intercept, and is reprinted here with permission.

TORONTO – In Quebec on Monday, two Canadian soldiers were hit by a car driven by Martin Couture-Rouleau, a 25-year-old Canadian who, as The Globe and Mail reported, "converted to Islam recently and called himself Ahmad Rouleau." 

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Image: Flickr/pmHarper
| September 17, 2014
Columnists

Middle East policy in four words: 'Don't do stupid sh*t'

Image: www.conservativefiringline.com

I'd forgotten why I find the Clintons so objectionable but Hillary got me back up to speed this week with an interview on foreign policy. She wanted to dispute Barack Obama's four-word summary of his approach, as reported in the semi-official journal, Foreign Policy: "Don't do stupid s---." He was responding to journalists on Air Force One who said he doesn't have a foreign policy. Later references paraphrased it as "Don't do stupid stuff," with a nudge/wink on "stuff." Hillary disagreed: "Great nations need organizing principles, and 'Don't do stupid stuff' is not an organizing principle." I'm here to say I think it's a great one.

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Harper and Netanyahu: Foreign Policy as BFFs
| April 21, 2014
Columnists

Vladimir Putin and the delusional bullying of great powers

Photo: Perosha/flickr

Is Vladimir Putin crazy? Former U.S. secretary of state Madeleine Albright says Putin is "delusional." Germany's Angela Merkel says he's "out of touch with reality."

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MQ-1 Predator Drone launching a Hellfire missile.
| December 2, 2013

The General's Son: Miko Peled tours Canada with call for one-state solution in Israel-Palestine

Sometimes you find yourself chatting with someone where there is disagreement. And so your strongly held beliefs get challenged -- which is not always a bad thing.

That is what happened to me recently with my telephone conversation with Israeli-American Miko Peled, author of The General's Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine, now on a cross-Canada tour sponsored by Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East.

As a Jew who hesitates to define himself in the debates about the Middle East, it is my feeling that a two state solution for Israelis and Palestinians seems preferable since it appears to be the most doable and realistic, even the under the current difficult political situation.

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Terrorism and war in Africa: Canada's hands are not clean in this cycle of violence

There are no shades of grey, no nuance or even cause and effect in the simplistic world view proclaimed by the current Canadian government.

The Conservatives response to the horrific attack in Nairobi's Westgate Mall has been to thump their chests and proclaim their anti-terror bona fides.

"The fight against international terrorism is the great struggle of our generation, and we need to continue with the resolve to fight this," bellowed Foreign Minister John Baird. For his part, Stephen Harper boasted that "our government is the government that listed al-Shabab as a terrorist entity."

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