Stand up for what you believe, Canada
Waarom hebben wij zo geen columnisten??
Dit is in het Engels en omdat de tekst vrij gemakkelijk is, vertaal ik hem niet. Ik vermoed dat iedereen het wel begrijpt.
By INNOCENT MADAWO
Whatever happened to "When in Rome, do as the Romans do?"
For years now I have been following, with interest, cases of people who demand certain individual, cultural and religious rights in seemingly eccentric but possibly very mischievous, if not outright dangerous, ways.
Remember the demand, a few years ago, for Sharia law to be imposed in Ontario and the campaign to allow Muslim women to vote with their faces veiled?
Recently we had Canadian-Trinidadian lawyer Charles Roach leading a class-action lawsuit in the Ontario Court of Appeal for the government of Canada to stop requiring new Canadians to swear an oath to the Queen.
Roach argues it is a violation of his Charter rights, as a black man, to be forced to swear an oath to the Queen.
We also had the case of Baljinder Singh Badesh, who does not want to pay a $110 traffic ticket for riding a motorcycle without a helmet. He argues his religion stipulates he should wear his turban at all times and since his headgear is bulkier than a helmet, he should be allowed to cruise the streets on his motorcycle without protection.
I consider all these cases and others before them -- plus plenty more to come -- mischievous because they are brought up by people bent on stirring controversy.
Roach's claim that as "a black man" he should not be required to swear an oath to the Queen is an act of mischief because he includes me and yet he never consulted me.
I came here knowing -- and I am sure Roach did, too -- that Canada's head of state is the British Monarch and if I want to be a citizen of this country, I will be required to pledge my allegiance to her. If I do not want to do that, let it be my decision. Nobody should drag my blackness into court for their personal cause.
I have a question for Badesh the biker. Do ultra-sized people seek to have laws changed so they can go around naked because there are no clothes big enough to fit their huge frames? No. They invest in ultra-sized clothes that will preserve their dignity. So, the "Turbanator" might do well to invest in a helmet large enough to accommodate his turban and enjoy his motorcycling safely.
But then again, I do not blame these two gentlemen for trying their luck with local laws. It seems that Canadian leaders and the country's judiciary subscribe to the populist idea of being seen to allow everyone to exercise their right.
I believe a country should have values it can stand by and compel those who come from other countries to abide by them. In matters that seek to poke holes in Canada's Constitution, its defenders should be able to tell individuals to "take it or leave."
There are things that should remain distinctly Canadian. If the country's Constitution is secular, defend it. If the head of state is a Queen on distant shores, defend that. If the Ontario legislature says each session is opened with the Lord's Prayer (Premier McGuinty), defend it.
A CIRCUS OF LAWS
Otherwise, pandering to the whims of us newcomers will just reduce this country into a circus of laws that will keep being challenged and eventually there will be no Canadian values to talk about.
As it is, there are communities where husbands are allowed to collect welfare benefits for more than one wife and we have some students being allowed to carry daggers to school in the name of religion.
Let Canada be Canada.
Madawo is een voormalige journalist uit Zimbabwe en leeft nu in Toronto.
• Have a letter for the editor? E-mail it to email@example.com
Columnists Home http://www.torontosun.com/News/Columnists/Madawo_Innocent/2008/02/28/4881768-sun.php