Ahis­tory of com­pro­mise

The Daily Courier - - OPINION -

Dear edi­tor: A mot­ley rab­ble of self ap­pointed ar­biters are de­fy­ing due le­gal process to halt the Kinder Mor­gan pipe­line. They make mock­ery of Canada’s democ­racy and jeop­ar­dize our eco­nomic fu­ture. Who do they think they are? They do not speak for me, and I am fight­ing mad.

Canada rates as one of the best places to live in the world. A per­fect place? By no means. Just bet­ter than nearly any other.

How did so few de­velop a bet­ter place than the coun­tries of our founders and our dom­i­nant neigh­bour to the south? Canada’s un­likely success is owed to a his­tory of po­lit­i­cal com­pro­mises or­ches­trated by states­men who put coun­try be­fore nar­row po­lit­i­cal and self in­ter­est.

States­men like Sir John A. Mac­don­ald, who ne­go­ti­ated Con­fed­er­a­tion in 1877 and Eti­enne Cartier, who com­pro­mised to bring French Canada on board. First Na­tion’s Chief Crow­foot com­pro­mised to sign Treaty No. 7 to as­sure Mounted Po­lice pro­tec­tion from ram­pag­ing, law­less Amer­i­can whisky traders.

Is Canada’s econ­omy the best with the best en­vi­ron­men­tal record? Prob­a­bly not, but it rates very high on both ac­counts. Thanks to vi­sion­ary po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship the legacy of a pros­per­ous econ­omy built pri­mar­ily on the pro­ceeds of re­source ex­trac­tion is a Canada that is one of the most beau­ti­ful and un­pol­luted coun­tries. The en­tire coun­try has ben­e­fit­ted eco­nom­i­cally from bold in­fras­truc­ture pro­jects in­clud­ing a transcon­ti­nen­tal rail­way, the sea­way and the Trans-Canada pipe­line. All met op­po­si­tion, but tra­di­tional Cana­dian de­ter­mi­na­tion and com­pro­mise won the day.

Con­fed­er­a­tion promised “peace, or­der, and good govern­ment” and Canada has been a peace­ful so­ci­ety un­der a rule of law that re­spects the rights of the in­di­vid­ual. Good or­der has been the rule with rare ex­cep­tions.

In 1970, dur­ing the FLQ cri­sis, the first Trudeau in­voked the War Mea­sures Act to mo­bi­lize troops for the only time in peace­time. In the 1963, Reesor Sid­ing Strike a group of North­ern On­tario farm­ers took mat­ters into their own hands to pro­tect their pulp­wood har­vest. They shot 11 ri­ot­ing union mem­bers. The courts up­held their le­gal jus­ti­fi­ca­tion.

The de­fi­ance of law­ful govern­ment or­ders by pro­vin­cial and mu­nic­i­pal politi­cians is an un­prece­dented chal­lenge to the very essence of Cana­dian democ­racy. It be­trays a proud his­tory and ex­cep­tional for­bear­ers.

I am too old for com­bat, but I will be there to sup­port younger pa­tri­ots who share my views. This is­sue is too im­por­tant to just rely on po­lit­i­cal machi­na­tions. Those politi­cians must see ev­i­dence that loyal Cana­di­ans mas­sively re­ject the trea­son­able, ego-driven in­di­vid­u­als who have set on a reck­less course that will de­grade ev­ery Cana­dian’s qual­ity of life and cit­i­zen­ship. It is our time to demon­strate sup­port for what we love. John Aber­nethy


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