If you make racist comments on my social media posts, I will treat you like a racist…because it is 2015.

This has been a tough 24 hours in social media. In the same day our province made a commitment to admit and help re-settle 1500 immigrants and refugees, and there was a horrific terror attack in Paris. Many have argued that a humanitarian effort is worthwhile for the refugees who desperately need safe haven. They also find the commitment to be worthwhile as we are a declining, aging, under-educated province desperately in need of an influx of people. Unfortunately many do not agree.  The trouble seems to be that this particular group is brown and in many cases they follow the teachings of Islam. To compound the issue, the attack in Paris (and Beirut and Bhagdad this past few days by the way), perpetrated by the very people these refugees are seeking asylum from, has sensitized a certain demographic of people already suspicious of those who look different. The result has been a social media storm that I stupidly got caught up in.

I made the mistake of posting a couple of articles applauding the decision of our province to offer safe haven to 1500 refugees and the comments sections immediately started to fill with a range of negative comments. Some of these were from the obvious anonymous internet trolls who love to stir up trouble online. Those are easy. Obvious anti-social behavior is easy to recognize and file. Unfortunately, many of the comments were from more typically upstanding individuals who were labeling the proposed refugees as either dangerous or as a drain on the systems put in place to help “real Canadians”. Now –  I try to have social media manners and would never consider hijacking someone’s post – regardless of how offensive their views may be to me. However, if you are going to reply to my post by venting a narrow xenophobic philosophy, then I will respond quickly and harshly. Bluntly put: I despise xenophobia. Unfortunately New Brunswick – being older, and less literate than our Canadian neighbors, means that the fear of the different and the unknown tends to be a bit more pronounced here. The Globe and Mail recently published an article about how our declining demographics, combined with a lack of education and inclusiveness are holding our province back on many fronts. This would all just appear to be just another symptom of our backward thinking.

Standing up for inclusive thinking made for a rough few hours. I was called a lot of names and attacked on various fronts – publicly and privately. I guess it goes with the territory….but it is no fun and I take no joy in it. the problem is that I take less joy in letting it pass.

It would be so much easier if all racists all looked like gun loving, swastika tattooed members of the Aryan Brotherhood. These are less harmful racists because no sensible person sympathizes with their “save the white race” narrative. They are proud of their hatred and the have fostered a brand that is so toxic that no sane policy maker will ever cater to their prejudices. They may be extremely harmful to individuals and individual communities, but they do less harm to society as a whole because there is general agreement about the lack of decency they represent. Unfortunately, the most dangerous racists often look like our neighbors…they look like the dear little old lady down the street…they look like friends of my parents. They express outrage and confusion at the thought their ideas may be racist and yet…..here they are venting their suspicions about those who look different.

I can’t help but compare today’s online reaction to the reaction to Irish terrorism in recent decades. Let’s remember: Irish terror groups were horrific in their practices. Assassinations, torture, mass bombings, crucifixions, the murder of children, tarring and feathering, knee-capping. Outside of Ireland there were bombings in Hyde Park…bombings of British pubs..assassinations of British royals. Thousands killed. Tens of thousands maimed, tortured and wounded. In spite of this carnage, the response of our community was amazingly compassionate and appropriately welcoming. Exchange programs were developed to get youth away from the ‘troubles’. Money was raised. Resources set aside. No one complained that Irish terrorists might be mixed in with the legitimate refugees who were re-settling here. No one complained the the money raised might better benefit ‘real Canadians’ in need. It was an appropriate and compassionate response. A Canadian response.

Yet, today, the idea that 1500 brown people of a different religion might be coming to New Brunswick is being met by some as a public policy travesty. A waste of resources,they say. An insult to ‘real Canadians’ who are struggling, they complain. A threat to national security. Why Syrian refugees and not Irish Refugees? For just a moment….Imagine how crazy it would sound if one expressed concerns about boatloads of American tourists coming to Saint John every summer and fall. Yet America is the home to many domestic terror groups. Roughly 1000 people each month are murdered with handguns in that country. Mass shootings are becoming shockingly normal. Massive atrocities like the Oklahoma Bombing have been perpetrated by US citizens……and yet….wouldn’t we sound laughably foolish complaining about the Americans who stream across the Canadian border every day.  We have no difficulty accepting that there are bad Irish yet we need not fear all of them. We have no difficulty accepting that there are bad Americans but we need not fear all of them. Those who claim to be afraid of the risk associated with Syrian refugees should maybe take a look in the mirror and ask them selves why they feel this is different.

I was criticized for being forceful in dealing with some of these commentators online because they ‘are actually nice people’. I don’t agree. I would argue that these individuals aren’t actually all that nice. The fact that their racism is invisible – even to themselves – makes them even more troubling. They claim to be inclusive…until someone different looking buys the house next door. They express care and concern for our troops…yet feel a bit of discomfort that our Minister of Defense wears a turban. They claim to be Christian…..until someone who looks different needs their Christian charity. They start asking questions about ‘how dangerous those people must be’ Then they start to talk about ‘security’ and ‘real Canadians’. They start to make statements complaining about helping ‘those people’ and how those resources would be better used helping those ‘at home’. Then they use the camouflage of patriotism claiming that they aren’t racist but are merely expressing legitimate public policy concerns. They make these statements with no real concern of care for how absolutely horrific the world has become for so many people and that, compared to them, we have so much. So much space, so much liberty, so much food, so much everything.

I would argue that is it this kind of well-meaning  person who made Indian Residential Schools possible. It was this kind of well-meaning person who made Japanese internment possible. It was this kind of well-meaning person who made possible the 1930’s “None is too many” government position on Jewish immigration. Consider the fate of the Jewish refugees passengers on the SS St Louis in 1939 – denied refugee status and forced to return to Europe where many of them died in the ensuing Holocaust. Nice Canadians supported that. Nice Canadians have supported laws that limited the rights of women. Nice Canadians have supported policies that allowed discrimination of members of the LGBT community. For this reason, it’s actually more important to stand up to the self-labeled ‘Nice Canadians’ because their views can be taken more seriously and can ultimately do more harm to more people.

harjit-sajjan

One of our many ‘Real Canadians’ – Minister of Defense Harjit Sajjan

I also was ‘cautioned’ about expressing such strong opinions because I have a public profile and that I should be ‘more careful’. Really? It is precisely because I have a profile that I feel even more responsibility to call out hate and xenophobia. There are a few people (including my children) who look to me to set the tone. They look to me for a clue as to what is appropriate and what is not. If I sit quietly and let people vent their out-dated beliefs, I’d be concerned that it might encourage others to keep quiet when they are made to feel uncomfortable with the fear and xenophobia expressed by others. The fact is: these sentiments are not cool…they are not acceptable. If you post your racist sentiments on my social media pages, I will respond forcefully every time….because it is 2015.

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768 Responses to If you make racist comments on my social media posts, I will treat you like a racist…because it is 2015.

  1. CNokahoot says:

    As a First Nation Survivor of both your Residential Schools and the 60’s Scoop I think your all wrong, please don’t tell me that Immigrants don’t mean no harm because I’ll just repeat that your all wrong…There is no harm in requesting proper Identification from Immigrants wanting to settle in Canada because First Nations People are stopped every day by Cops for no reason other than they’re First Nation and made to produce Identification sometimes more than once a day so your being indignant over potential Immigrants having to produce proper Identification to enter Canada doesn’t wash with me.

    • Tanya says:

      I agree with you.anyone entering this country ahould have to be screened.why should it be any different for them than for any other immigrant coming over.it would be a better safety net for all.im not racist by any means.but want the country to be safe.there good and bad in all races.

    • Tamzy says:

      Thank you!!! I completely agree with you!!!

    • Lindsey says:

      I am pretty certain that they follow the same screenings and with that, ID is a number one, no brainer. If you have gotten different info, let me know, I am interested. I am sorry that you lived through and continue to witness so much hatred and indignity. Canada should always hate the hater, not the people who look like that person/criminal/scumbag

    • Ali says:

      Rock on CNokahoot, I couldn’t agree with you more!

    • Didi Miesen says:

      Good grief, how come you don’t know that ALL these refugees have been thoroughly screened and vetted by the UN, CSIS etc !!! How about trying to form your “opinions”, on something other than misleading freaking BS headlines meant to inflame and incite racism, like you and far too many others are spewing? Shame on you all – and know you do NOT speak for this “Canadian”, for this human being. And BTW there was no mention about refugees not having identification in this article,

      • Angela says:

        Didi, you cannot slam this person for their opinion. You have no idea what they have been through as a residential survivor and seeing many if theit family and friends go through the cultural genocide.

        Any information on the screening process is only coming to light now.

  2. jmenon270 says:

    Hi Stephen,

    I read the comment above, your reply, and the Globe and Mail article by John Ibbitson that you linked to. First of all, let me tell you that I agree with everything you said, so this is not in any way a criticism of your post or your perspective. And, in fact, I’m going to tweet the hell out of your article. 😊

    I took note of the commenter’s objection to the connection you drew between the elevated level of illiteracy in New Brunswick and the xenophobic attitudes among some New Brunswickers. You linked that Ibbitson article as an illustration. However, when I read it I couldn’t actually find where it made that particular causal connection. Ibbitson mentions the rising age of the population as a cause of closed-mindedness, but he doesn’t make the same argument with respect to lower levels of education. His concern with lower literacy seems to be its negative impact on the competitiveness of the Maritime provinces, and their ability to attract new business.

    I’m obviously making a very subtle point here, and you might even call it nitpicking, but I just wanted to mention that I can see why that commenter got so upset about how you linked literacy and racism in New Brunswick. You don’t actually offer a solid basis for saying that New Brunswickers are more likely to display xenophobic attitudes than other Canadians because they have a lower level of education.

    • Harriet Smith says:

      Re the Maritimes “ability to attract new business”. would you include; and creating new business?…if so , then they need the influx of people with new ideas and people who are so wanting to work hard and have a peaceful life.

      • Katie Hunter says:

        Harriet, I don’t think you’re from the Maritimes with that response. Our issue is not a lack of workers for the workforce or even entry-level positions that are going unfilled, it’s far more complicated than that.

        Also, unless these immigrants can speak English and French, they’ll be in the same boat as the rest of us.

  3. jmenon270 says:

    Hi Stephen,

    I read the comment above, your reply, and the Globe and Mail article by John Ibbitson that you linked to. First of all, let me tell you that I agree with everything you said, so this is not in any way a criticism of your post or your perspective. And, in fact, I’m going to tweet the hell out of your article. 😊

    I took note of the commenter’s objection to the connection you drew between the elevated level of illiteracy in New Brunswick and the xenophobic attitudes among some New Brunswickers. You linked that Ibbitson article as an illustration. However, when I read it I couldn’t actually find where it made that particular causal connection. Ibbitson mentions the rising age of the population as a cause of closed-mindedness, but he doesn’t make the same argument with respect to lower levels of education. His concerns with lower literacy seem to be confined to its negative impact on the competitiveness of the Maritime provinces, and their ability to attract new business.

    I’m obviously making a very subtle point here, and you might even call it nitpicking, but I just wanted to mention that I can see why that commenter got so upset about how you linked literacy and racism in New Brunswick. You don’t actually offer a solid basis for saying that New Brunswickers are more likely to display xenophobic attitudes because they have lower levels of education than other Canadians.

  4. CDempsey says:

    First, lets look at the definition of a racist.
    noun
    1. a person who believes that a particular race is superior to another.
    adjective
    2. having or showing the belief that a particular race is superior to another.

    Not having reviewed every comment posted on your social media, I can’t reasonably form an opinion of whether the comments were racist or not; however, I can securely state that my concerns regarding the entrance of Syrian refugees to Canada, which I have been expressing on social media, do not fit the definition of a racist.

    Daesh is racist!

    It’s awful what is happening to the Syrian people, it’s awful what happened in WWI & WWII; however, for the reason alone that we compare our current world status with WWI & WWII is a sign within itself. We are at WAR. Call it WWIII if you like, but accept the fact that we are at WAR.

    We are not at war with Muslim people, not with Islam, but with fundamentalist extremists who are using Islam and the Muslim people to further their range and scope of power, hate and destruction.

    Now lets look at the definition of Pragmatic.
    adjective
    dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations.

    I’d be the first in line to march for peace and have intellectual discourse to achieve a diplomatic solution that would see everyone put their guns down; however, that is not realistic. Nice in theory! But not realistic! When you have a group like Daesh who is insistent on war, you have no choice…no matter how you feel about it, you are at war. That means putting the theoretical ideologies away, and acting pragmatically in the reality that we are at war.

    Daesh has to be stopped just as the Natzis had to be stopped. That means some decisions are going to be uncomfortable morally and go against our Canadian values of giving everyone a big warm welcoming hug.

    I know many wonderful people from the middle east who have settled in Canada and have made great lives for themselves. I welcome more immigrants; however, I won’t apologize for pausing and taking a harder look at who I’m going to give a welcoming hug too.

    Pragmatically speaking, mostly men are going to have to fight this war. Our men, their men, everyones men. As for the Syrian refugees, open the doors to the women, children, sick and elderly. I have open arms and warm hugs for all of them; however, let our Canadian troops train the able bodied men to help fight Daesh and get their homeland back. This will not only keep out or limit Daesh’s infiltration to our county, it will enable our Canadian values to be upheld in the best way possible under the realistic circumstances that we are at war…whether we feel it or not.

    Let’s not forget…the US has felt it, Paris has felt it, Syria has felt it, and many other countries have felt it. Question is: What will it take before Canadians feel it? How many people have to die, on both sides of what is being portrayed as a cultural divide, before Canadians become pragmatic and stop judging each other as racists and just accept the fact that we are at war?

    • Lee phillips says:

      Hear, hear.

    • peter gripping says:

      Very well said…very non racist. How can one assume the very refugee we take in is educated, non racist, law abiding,with out the proper screening process. We are at war…and that saddens me. I am torn by my own thoughts and fears. I worry we will violate the rights of Canadians by chanpioning the rights of refugees. I see Canadians who are struggling to live. I have empathy and compassion for all people. I think the line is drawn between realists and idealists. Racists are on both sides. Filter out the sensationalism….and we are left with realists..Really worried for Canadians security during the guietest world war we have ever fought. My heart pounds everytime someone pushes idealism down my throat in a racist way. Your concern for refugees does not trump my concern for Canadians. It is from compassion my voice and your voice is heard.

    • Andy says:

      This is a fantastic post, CDempsey. Thank you!

    • Katrina says:

      Thank you for this comment, it is exactly what I’ve been thinking! So many people are caught up in their hurt feelings these days.

    • Awesome response. and great ideas

    • Michael says:

      America did take in German refugees during World War ll–many of them were brilliant scientists like Werner Von Braun. Without them, there wouldn’t even be a NASA (by the way, a few of these men were Nazi war criminals…which the government knew, but accepted them, anyway).

      But Germans are white. The Irish are white. We ran to referee the Bosnian disaster, while simultaneously ignoring the fact that over a million Rwandans were murdered within six weeks–they wouldn’t even let NATO to load their guns.

      The so-called War on Terrorism is a disaster–and will always be a disaster–because Terrorist has become a synonymous with brown Muslim people. Scapegoating millions of people with this ridiculous assumption that Muslim=terrorist AKA The Enemy is the exact sort of thinking that bred Al Qeada and ISIS in the first place: extreme reactions to extreme prejudice.

      Don’t get me wrong–ISIS is despicable. They blaspheme everything about Islam–there is no mention to the term jihad in the Koran. But the idea that we shouldn’t take in the Syrian refugees absolutely astounds me. So, once again and for the record: the reason the refugees have no home is *because* of ISIS. They are running *from* ISIS because they are NOT militants. The militants have taken everything from them…so why, in god’s name, would they act on the orders of a group they have every reason to hate?

      In sorry, but I really do believe it’s as simple as this: they’re brown. Period. I don’t even believe that their religion has anything to do with it–I think that is just a slightly more palatable way to justify their distaste for having brown people next door.

      It’s appalling. And I’m sickened by this whole thing. We’re not progressing; we are devolving into a sort of Dark Ages 2.0.

    • Amazing what a long response it took you to explain your lack of racism. I read it, and it sounds like you and all the people agreeing with you are exactly what the person who wrote this is talking about when he refers to “Nice Canadians”. Kudos on letting us all see that it doesn’t only come packaged in some sort of crazy comment on a FB post but in fact a speech that ultimately just wants to just selectively choose refugees who aren’t brown adult males (who cares if we separate families, right? They “might” be evil terrorists) under some sort of “security issue”. I’m more terrified than ever, just not of refugees. Yikes.

      • Allison says:

        Excuse me Trish, but this was very rude, and you are part of what is giving Canadians a bad name. Did you properly read CDempsey’s post? Because I was outraged for the first paragraph or two, and then I understood exactly what they were saying (clearly you did not). EVERYONE IS GOING TO BE SEPERATED FROM THEIR FAMILIES. I will, you will, your parents and children and brothers and sisters. Everyone’s family is going to get separated.

        So I guess what you’re saying Trish is you would rather our Canadian men go fight Daesh alone, while all Syrian men sit at home in Canada with their wives and children? That’s seems drastically unfair.. Especially when Canadian and Syrian men could ban together and take them down much easier. Congratulations on that. I don’t think you’re going to get very far with it.

        The amount of ignorance and lack of understanding in your post is unreal. I’ve read it 4 times now and probably will again because you are doing whatever you can to make other Canadians look bad. “Kudos on letting us all see that it doesn’t only come packaged in some sort of crazy comment on a FB post but in fact a speech that ultimately just wants to just selectively choose refugees who aren’t brown adult males” … All I can say is wow. When this person spoke out about ending a war by coming together and fighting as one, you found a problem with that? Stop trying to fight your neighbors. Unless someone is outright saying “Do not let any refugees into Canada”, you just shouldn’t argue with them. Or at least read the post a few times to make sure you understand, before you completely belittle a very intelligent PRAGMATIC idea.

    • Ryan says:

      C Dempsey. Great comments. I shared your words with a Canadian radio station talk show host he would was so intrigued by your comments that he would like to speak to you for interview. Please let me know if interested

    • ryanjs2004 says:

      CDEMPSEY Would you be interested in a radio interview related to your incredibly worded post?

    • Shirley galloway says:

      Excellent response.

  5. D McPherson says:

    I agree with the gist of this but you use a poor example with the Irish immigrant wave. They were feared (& hated) as the “other”. They were confined to terrible conditions such as Grosse Isle PQ which killed off many of them precisely because of their “otherness”. & there were arguments about allowing them in because of terrorist (IRA, Fenian) associations. In spite of all that they became useful contributors to Canadian (& American) society. There is no difference with the new group of newcomers. Their home country has association with terrorist organisations but all they want is a better life for their families. That is the root of a good citizen. I have some concern that they may see the temporary housing in cadet camps as another jail but at least they will not be subject to the filthy disease ridden environment that the Irish were forced to endure. Once settled, they will prove to be just as much an asset as any other hard working Canadian.

    • Ginnie Anglin says:

      It constantly amazes me that the misconception that all previous “white” immigrants were welcomed with open arms, which was not the case. Ask someone who came to Canada as a child after WW2 the story they tell you will not be one of warm hugs and inclusion.

      • Oddly enough, this actually furthers the point.

        Jews were basically persona non grata around WWII in Canada and the US. Instead of taking them in, we had citizens and members of government openly petition to not take them.

        The history of North America is this situation over and over again. Whether it was Irish, Polish, Jews and now Muslims, North America has basically said the same thing to all of them “We don’t want you. We’re scared of what will happen if we let you in”.

        And we don’t learn from it.

  6. Alex Barnes says:

    Well said. The sad thing is racism knows no borders. In Australia, I’m coming across friends whom I’ve known for years suddenly have shown their true colours.

    It’s very hard to have a rational discussion with them and I doubt the success rate is high.

  7. Barry says:

    Here I was hoping for some insight into.. well.. anything I guess. Maybe a different point of view. But nope. The usual. People who don’t think the rushed refugee plan are racists, anyone that doesn’t agree with me is a bigot, and the only reason anyone doesn’t support the resettlement is because the refugees are brown… you’re as ignorant as any racist. Twice as dangerous though since you have an established platform and some folks actually take you seriously. As you say. Overt racism is usually easy to spot and disregard. Not so easily done with your sort of prejudice.

    • ebonhand says:

      Why are you not complaining about EI fraud. That’s a Maritime tradition you can actually do something about. Lately the only public outcry is when it is a brown person or a gay person or a person of a different faith is involved in the news. And yet there are so many other issues we can actually change here. Like the absolute political silence about our language commissioners antics. I don’t see any of that scrolling through my facebook profile, and yet daily there are rants against Muslims. That my friend is by definition, racist.

  8. Leo McQuillen says:

    I think your comment is spot on. Thank you so much for your service and congratulations on your new post. I felt like a Canadian again on Oct. 20th and I support our effort to aid and comfort the Syrian refugees who are basically escaping hell. Let’s keep Canada moving forward and get back to the compassionate, considerate, progressive, inclusive nation we really are. Keep telling it like it is.

  9. Ap says:

    Hi,

    I too am frustrated by people’s bigoted response to the refugees. I feel that we should take them in and they “should not be left to fight for themselves” as somebody said to me.

    I feel your analogies might need some work though so I’m writing to help your argument. The obstacle that is not present in your analogies of US citizens and the Irish conflict is the people’s fear that they themselves would be targeted.they can’t imagine the American coming across the border and attacking them because it hasn’t happened, or if it has I haven’t heard about it. But they have seen many countries targeted and they are worried about when Canada’s turn will come. The thing I think is that it may come whether or not we accept refugees and should we let fear stop us from doing something we know is right? I personally think doing what is right is more important and we should not let fear bread intolerance. The Islam faith doea not condone the violence seen by these terrorists have committed. You could even say they have done these things despite their religion. Once that is wholly understood maybe people can see their neighbours as their neighbours, not terrorists.

  10. An immigrant from the UK, Jill Neily says:

    Please remember that Christians have also been on the receiving end of the IS terror.

  11. Jamie says:

    Stephen, as a New Brunswick resident myself and someone who despairs at the endless racism, bigotry, and sheer stupidity that has poked its ugly head into the realm of cyberspace, I’m genuinely happy that you’ve said what many of us are thinking. Don’t heed the haters who take umbrage at your comments. People resent the truth, and the fact is that here in Atlantic Canada, many are not that enlightened. Whether it’s a generational thing, an economic issue, the result of a largely rural society, or a lack of higher education (I believe it’s a combination of all four), the sad fact is that people here (at least those who haven’t meaningfully stepped outside of Atlantic Canada’s boundaries) are the poster children laid bare in the Globe and Mail article. With that being said, there’s nothing like a good ol’ fashioned refugee crisis to bring out the worst in people, and I’ve been observing as every corner of Canada unleashes its true colours. I appreciate your insight in bringing the issue to our doorstep, but I think you’ll agree that racism, xenophobia, irrational hatred, and all-out lunacy are not unique to Atlantic Canada.

  12. Wave Matthews Grimsrud says:

    Thank You for a well articulated response to the emotional social schism this topic brings in our Canadian society. I am truly sorry you have been denegrated for a well put argument. As a product of immigrants fleeing a desperate situation I am one of those who caution not the admittance of the Syrian refugees or any regugee, but rather encourage a time line that will ensure a positive resettlement and integration into Canadian society. The awful situation in Paris does not play into my opinion as I articulated my opposition to the plan during the election when it was a part of the Liberal election platform. Rare is the person who is without some form of racism and I am not without sin. However, prudence should be practised not only in this situation but in all.

  13. Amanda says:

    I’m so glad to see other Canadians that are appalled about all the racism. I am not about fear mongering and alienation. I give you credit and I’m glad you spoke up.
    As a Canadian, being raised to be tolerant and accepting of other peoples backgrounds, taught that we live in a multicultural society, which was drilled into our heads as kids going to school. I’m 33 and I’m actually really disappointed in the Canadians that are acting like bully’s and fear mongers.
    What about the bomb threats this past year in Canada from ISIS?!?! Obviously they have some money to spend on travelling to scoop out their targets.
    Another thought for my fellow Canadians, if it bothers you so much that our tax money isn’t being used “properly”, why don’t you get out there and help the homeless or donate your time to a charity. I dislike seeing people complain about this because we are all fully capable to help out the people in our own backyard and we as Canadians should step up to the plate. While our government helps the refugees…
    Where’s the compassion?! Compassion is so much stronger than fear.

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  15. ROGELIO PADILLA says:

    I dont see any wrong in all what you are saying….I am mexican, and I agree with your position in the analysis you made, the well argued critic can bother a lot of people, but there is more in that and I hope you make them think, to question themselves….is it too much to ask? saludos!

  16. laudyms says:

    Knee-jerk reactions are often sad and self-defeating. One of the primary reasons we won WWII was that for the most part we treated people humanely. (Altho the US turned away boats full of Jews fleeing the Holocaust, as many insist we turn away today’s refugees). After several generations of affluence- we have forgotten where we came from and the meaning of the Liberty we sought. If it isn’t shared, it dies.

  17. James Kennedy says:

    First off, as an “educated” person from Canada, you should know that neighbour has a “U” in the spelling. i am sure you will fall back on the usual answer, that the spellcheck did that. No, you did. Now to your ideological ramblings. To compare the Irish Terrorism is ludicrous, there was never any threat of an Irish person recruiting others to blow up places around the world. They were not invading cities and slaughtering people, while destroying historical sites. Ridiculous. The majority of people I would say are not against bringing in refugees, it is about trying to bring in 25,000 in 6 weeks, just to honour (note the U) an election promise. You cannot possibly vet the people properly to hopefully detect any possible roster cells from entering. It is already proven that one of the terrorist came into France posing as a Syrian refugee. He is the only one that they know of as well.

    Oh, and one last question. What is this “public profile” you speak of? I have never heard of you, so it cannot be that high of a profile.

    • Feel better now, James, that you got that off your chest. Sorry about the “U”.

    • ebonhand says:

      James I suggest you look up the Fenians then. Your world and your argument about Irish terrorism is about to be shattered.

    • Actually, using no “U” in Canada in words like neighbour has been an acceptable form of written English since I was a child in school and I’m close to 50.
      Secondly, a “public profile” simply refers to someone who has a public job. Stephen is actually a well known theatre director in New Brunswick. Just because you’ve never heard of him means nothing, LOL.
      Thirdly, this country has VERY quickly vetted people in large numbers in the past in order to help people. Why would it be so much harder now? Because someone dropped a fake Syrian passport near the attacks?
      And last of all, you are slightly misinformed. If you read news articles, you’ll find they use useful words like “suspected” and “alleged” right now. In fact, most of them were already living in France and Belgium but nothing has been unequivocally proven yet. People love to forget the pesky fact that most of the time in countries like ours, the terrorism is homegrown.
      Cheers!

      • James Kennedy says:

        Just because something is “acceptable” does not mean it is the correct way. It is “acceptable” for people to drive over the speed limit, but it is not “correct”. Every Canadian knows that we use a different spelling of words, if we were meant to spell similar to U.S. spelling, children would not be taught in todays classrooms “Canadian” spelling. Second Stephen particularly mentions that since he has a high profile it is his responsibility to use it to have people follow his ramblings. When has Canada ever Vetted 25,000 people, in less than 6 weeks? Or are you going to say that sometime in the 50’s when there was a huge concern over terrorism and the population was the same? yes , most were already living in France and Belgium with ties to Syria, including Known travel to and from. Also, wondering how you know that someone dropped a fake passport nearby, inside info?

      • IMConnected says:

        James, the Oxford dictionary (a Canadian dictionary) states: ” neighbour also neighbor”. Preponderance of usage does not mean the alternate spelling is wrong, regardless of how much it rubs you (and me, for that matter) the wrong way. I don’t like it either, but it is a valid spelling in Canadian English.

  18. Arlene says:

    Before us Canadian’s help out these refugees lets help our own people.Many of us are struggling to make ends meet here.Housing has sky rocket here and food costs are high.The goverment needs to take care of canadians first.

  19. mamamalas says:

    Well said! The thing that really gets me is that as Canadians we just happened to win the ovarian jackpot that allowed us to be born into this peaceful, amazing country. It is pure luck that I was born in a country that allows me to tuck my son into a warm bed in a safe country instead of in a refugee camp worried for his life. We are so lucky to be in the position to help others that have experienced more pain than most could imagine, and to do anything but help is despicable.

  20. Tanya says:

    Unfortunatelly the bad islam people are making it look bad for the good ones.i do think they should have to have an idetity.the rest of us do.i think that if they are goi g to be bringing refugess over why not leave the immigrants that are already here stay.the ones that want to.doesnt make sense to bring more immigrants over when there are ones here that reallly want to stay in canada.plus there is lack of work in canada right now with the oilfield eing down.dont know where they would all work.canadians need the work first.d9nt think there is enough pla es for all of them to live.they should have to have a good screening like any other immigrant before being able to come over.my worry is more wars will start.

  21. Peter Gripping says:

    Stephen, I do believe that you have said
    demeaning remarks about quite a large group of people. Your comments degrade anyones opinion,who has less education than you. I have read your comments,and accept that you have some valid points. I would call you an Idealist. I would call myself a Realist. I would never call someone racist for putting the welfare of Canadians and the future of Canada into the equation of welcoming refugees. It is also very true that there is Canadians suffering as we debate this topic. These very people do deserve to be in all our thoughts. This is concern and compassion, not racist as you say. The timing for you is due to the refugees, I have had them in my thoughts prior to Paris and ISIS. How do you judge me and countless others based on how they meet your ideological thinking. We all make judgements based on our way of thinking. How can it be you can call me and many others racist?. I would determine you to be rather aloof and extremely naive to what can happen with ramming people we know absolutely nothing about into our great country. We must do the security screening on their soil. If they are on our soil they have a full charter of rights to back them..terrorists too. We have no extradition agreement with Syria. I would call that intelligent..but hey I only have a grade nine education and would be very inferior to you ,and racist too. I am an immigrant who appreciates those Canadians who fought for the Canadian traditions and values. How do you think they would feel if we gave it away and sacrificed Canadian lives to ram refugees into Canada?. This is not a racist thought. I would call this line of thinking a deep appreciation, and honoring what they gave their lives for. Respect is not racist. You belittle my…kind. My opinion means I am racist. I call you a naive Idealist who passes judgement on to all who differ from your superior ,intellectual perspective. The world has people in it that do not respect or care to abide by rules or laws of free society. I want my government to assure all Canadians will be protected from those very people. We screen parents who coach,volunteer at schools. These are our neighbors,which I assume we know more about than total strangers. How come you seem so sure of the innocence of a religion that is so quick to attack. I am Danish. A newspaper held a contest to draw a likeness of Allah. They burnt our embassies and attacked us in Denmark. They had been welcomed in to the country and given a good life. Do you think that is justifiable?. We publish caricatures of all public people and poke fun at them here in Canadian newspapers all the time. One wrong move and this could happen in Canada. I welcome all people ,reguardless of race into my family and to my table. I would not invite a rapist or murderer into my home and subject my family. Does that make me racist Stephen?. Personally I would think that a prudent and intelligent decision. But then you might call me a lowlife,racist,uneducated,hypocritical,redneck from Alberta.

    • ebonhand says:

      Well, you did just compare Syrian refugees to rapists and murderers so that pretty much makes you a racist. And the number of logical fallacies in your argument undermines your ability to think rationally. I am not judging you, you are the one who brought it up.

  22. Dan says:

    I have no issues about my tax dollars that I bust my ass working for, to be used to help out Canadian seniors and veterans who are in need of help that the government seem to have put on the back burner to help immigrants. Most of these seniors have devoted a life of work here in Canada, and are getting nothing in return, but yet hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on refuges and or sent to other countries to help. If Canada keeps going the way it is….we will become a 3rd world country and yes I will say it…….these holy wars that have been going on for centuries in their countries will become part of this place….The day Canadians decide to make a stand and say enough is enough about losing the Canadian culture to a vast multicultural society……all hell is going to break loose………..MARK MY WORDS.

  23. dean findlay says:

    I am very relived to see this post and the majority of responding comments from all views. Having been directly involved in the response to the Mosque fire in Peterborough, it is heartening to see a repeat of the open and honest discussion that has surfaced in this community!! As the author and many respondents have stated in one way or another, when you strip away obvious racist and hate based comment, you are left with the basis for a real discussion on community and the issue of opening of doors to those who need help, but the risk of including those who have purposes outside of peaceful resettlement is real. To deny either position is unrealistic!

  24. JING VANCE says:

    Peter is absolutely right and he has hit the nail on the head. The more I read about Stephen’s comments, the better the picture I get that his comments not only denounces all of us who are
    immigrants to one extent or another, to this country of ours (Canada) as bigots and racists and so
    very wrong in trying to stamp the wide open door policy of 25,000 refugees in 6 weeks.

    I have friends and fellow Canadians in my community who are in long wait lines at hospitals for quite crucial surgeries, cancers etc , it will be very unfortunate that these refugees will be able to jump queue, just being the fact that they are refugees. Do take a good look at the street/homeless people in Vancouver. Don’t you think this new government should plan to take care of business at the HOME FRONT FIRST, before worrying about foreign refugees?
    One has to get one’s house in order FIRST before you try to help others. Is that so wrong?
    25,000 in 5 years as a planned and orchestrated project, that I can see will work and all
    identifications authenticated is what a responsible government should do. A responsible government should not subject their people with an onslaught of migrants whose very fabric
    of life widely differs from us. Study about the middle eastern refugees into SWEDEN. The Swedish government has been the most generous with their open door policy and tested over time, these refugees will not integrate into their society. They uphold different values and unlike others, do not and will not integrate. They are the superior ones, while we are not on the same
    “spiritual” levels. As a result, Sweden has now decided to close its doors temporarily, do you
    blame them?

  25. Anya4000 says:

    Caring about the safety and future of Canada and Canadians doesn’t make you racist. I am tired of bleeding heart liberals saying we need to help each and every person in the middle east even if that means they come here to hurt us and not integrate within our society. All the European immigrants of the past came here to work, and they integrated.These European immigrants didn’t live off of welfare (for ten years or more) and abuse our medical system. The Koran is quite clear about what needs to happen to infidels and non-Muslims. They can use any means necessary to convert us and if we don’t convert death is the only other choice we get. People are quite stupid for not researching Islam and the history of Islam/Muslim nations (including how they treat women and young girls). I’ll be very sorry to see Canadians dealing with all of the crap that Britain, Germany, France, Belgium, Greece and Italy get to deal with when it comes to having large Muslim populations, but Canadians are being stupid and inviting it right in. We are basically standing in front of a moving train and saying “yay, please hit me.” Islam plays on and uses the weak.

  26. birgit ballantyne says:

    Your article hit the right spots – wonderful piece. I continue to be amazed when people preface their opinions on these issue with: I am not a racist, but……..

  27. Norma Little says:

    I didn’t think much of this article since it is written about my home province and was very insulting indeed to New Brunswickers. First of all, I welcome any refugee person in need, of any color or race or religion. New Brunswick has a few excellent universities and we are far from illiterate though many of our graduates leave for better careers than they can find here. I also believe that as many older and less educated people will welcome refugees in need as quickly as you will. Everything you said of any importance could have been said in one simple statement but you chose to rant on putting down your fellow New Brunswickers.

    • I don’t think I out down my fellow New Brunswickers at all so don’t get so defensive. I did point out the fact that we have one of the oldest and least literate provinces in the country. I’m not inventing that – I’m just passing it along. We have a province that is extremely resistant to change and that holds us back. If you don’t like it – do something to fix it. Don’t complain to me for pointing it out.

  28. I read your blog and I could not agree with you more other than I may have misinterperated your comments as New Brunswickers as bumpkins I am from BONNIE SCOTLAND originally and your comments seemed a bit racist.

    • I’m sorry that you have interpreted my concern for NB appallingly low literacy rates as disdain for my province. Nothing could be further from the truth – but it may be a good distraction for you from the main point which is the rampant racism and xenophobia playing out online lately. However, if that is the only thing that struck you about this and you are so concerned about it – go teach some people to read.
      .

  29. Russ says:

    I find it interesting that the more liberal and welcoming people profess themselves to be, the more bigoted, biased, and unwilling to let others express and discuss their concerns in an open manner. Its your way or the highway.

  30. Angela says:

    There are 5.5 billion people in this world living in extreme poverty and living in war torn circumstances prior to ISIS. How about we let all of the 5.5 billion people in Canada? If you think you’re such a humanitarian by wanting the 25k Syrian refugees you are delusional. Since we are comparing apples and oranges in Irish, WWII etc.
    Why are we not taking in the other 5.5 billion and fast tracking them? It poses more than a racial threat. The biggest being health risks for exotic diseases etc. All so Justin Trudeau can look so socially and politically correct just like his cabinet picking of half women, a sihk, a Arab, and the best part of the cabinet “a gay”, disabled and I’m pretty sure mentioned a ginger too. Smh that was even mentioned before their degrees were. Typical of blind sided liberal thinking.
    Anyways, back to the point at hand…
    Do not think yourself to be better than and higher educated than because you support the Syrian refugees but do not forget the reason we don’t fast track 25k out of the other 5.5 billion suffering is because we are racist but because simply it’s not realistic.

    • No – based on your above comments – I’d say that you suffer from a lot of prejudices. So sorry to see that.

      • Angela says:

        The prejudice isn’t my words about Justins cabinet, those were labels by his supporters about his cabinet. What I’m saying is there has always been world problems long before this and this is just another band wagon to jump on but don’t think you’re such a hero because you support the 25k Syrian refugees because you are not one or even greater than or more educated than based on your opinion on a small drop in the bucket especially when you bring in all the other issues such as the Irish, news and WWII.
        Everyone will have their opinion but because you write a big giant over worded tangent doesn’t make you any different from anyone else’s online tangents. Taking the Syrian refugees at a fast track whether they are from afirca, Asia, south America does not matter, it always posses health and safety risks and that’s why it’s not do able and is not done. So to just look socially correct to do such a thing is putting an ego first and Canadians “his people” second. Now with the current events all ot takes is one mishap whether it’s home grown or from a disguised refugees or a pretend or whatever, all its going to take is one and it will send the country into an uproar and what happens to a country when its people lose trust in their government, well we can look at our other countries for what happens when their people lose trust in the government…

  31. Patricia says:

    I agree that all persons entering our country have to complete a process in order to teach them the meaning of being Canadian is. As well all security measures are taken to prove the individual is safe and enters our country to enjoy what Canada has to offer oneself and a family. We are a peace sharing country and be very careful in knowing what we are injecting into our country. Warts spread warts we do not want a wart infatuation. People running from war torchered counties raises harden war thinking people. They are damaged and need to be cleansed and educated in Canadian ways before maybe that person will be a good candidate for our country. Most of these people will be suffering from PTSD etc etc so there is a lot of baggage being let in then just a person in need of a home. And yes I believe we should be taking care of our own before adding more social issues to our plate. Our own homeless, veterans, elders, child care etc etc need a more perfected attention for repair and illmination before we add more problems we have no skill in dealing with eg. The Middle East ways.

  32. Lisa Howard says:

    Well said!

    And I love the fact that your Minister of Defense wears a turban. But how many people are still so ignorant that they think turban = Muslim terrorist when it’s blatantly obvious that he is Sikh? One reason this hatred and xenophobia are so out of control is that too many people know nothing about any religion other than their own.

  33. Kudos, sir. Thank you for clearly stating what appears to so many of us to be so very — and discouragingly — obvious.

  34. JING VANCE says:

    Justin Trudeau is completely unrealistic and idealistic. He is doing this out of pure political reasons, to show that we are a completely “opened” country, and ever so so compassionate,
    unlike our fellow cousins down south. We are different, well……….we will see !, Won’t we ?
    I can see him being just a one (1) term PM, or even half a term. But it will be too late for all of us.

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