Guarding Our Canadian Borders

No, this is not article about immigration and illegal aliens entering our country. Though Canada has the world’s largest shared border, we have not experienced the scale of problems other nations have, as seen in the hotly debated US Presidential elections.

However, guarding our borders is much more than questioning people, searching cars entering Canada, or checking the mail. From my perspective, the greater need has to do with protecting Canadian borders from the undermining influence of immoral ideas. You see, ideas recognize no borders, receive little challenge, and reject national sovereignty.

I care about the future of Canada. I am a grandfather now, and it is my desire to see my grandchildren grow up in a better society than the one I grew up in. I believe that it is the responsibility of each succeeding generation – your and my responsibility – to leave behind a better legacy.

Border guards have been given a tremendous responsibility. It is not an easy job. They are paid to be suspicious of people’s words. They are trained to spot inconsistencies in dialogue, and to probe deeper than what is stated superficially in response to questions.

But border guards can only do so much. It takes an entire nation of citizens to do a proper job of protecting our borders. We all have a responsibility to do more than sing the national anthem: daily we are called upon to take our place and “stand on guard.” We can’t leave it to the “other” guy – we will all be held accountable.

Ideas are out there. For example, Montgomery County, Maryland passed a new law that demands co-ed locker rooms and restrooms in all public accommodations. That law was designed to accommodate “trans-gendered people” – that is, men and women who say they perceive themselves to be the opposite sex.

It has started a “bathroom war.” Imagine that! People are calling it “potty politics.” You may laugh, but what has happened to common sense and decency? Pardon me, but this idea needs to be flushed.

However, it crossed the state border into the Colorado legislature. Unbelievably, they followed suit, opening all public restrooms – airports, arenas, restaurants, businesses, churches – to anyone who wants to use them.

Apparently, the comfort of trans-genders overwhelms the discomfort of the rest of the public who have to deal now with the violation of their privacy. Who is going to confront a “trans-gendered” person entering a washroom? Who is going to protect our children from molesters posing as “trans-gendered” people?

This idea is crossing borders. Will this idea make its way into Canada and become law? It could – unless someone stands on guard for the nation and its future generations against this idea.

Defying a Culture of Hate in Canada

Unfortunately, my city is not immune from what is now recognized as a global resurgence of a culture of hate. Not too long ago, hate-filled words were directed at the Jewish community and painted on the walls of their Center.

This was not an isolated act of graffiti. This was a senseless and serious offense, not just to our nation’s legal commitment to protect basic human rights, no matter race, color, or religion, but it was an affront to the good heart of our citizenry.

Our Mayor stated that our city would express a zero tolerance for this kind of criminal behavior. Though the messages and symbols have been painted over, they can never truly be erased. The marks left on hearts by hate propaganda are not easily removed.

Since the Supreme Court decision (1991) involving the criminal case of James Keegstra, those fighting hate propaganda have come to understand that our Canadian courts and judges are serious about ridding hate from the culture of our land.

In June 2005, the Supreme Court found that Rwandan leader Leon Mugesera’s speech referring to the Tutsis as “cockroaches to be exterminated” violated Canada’s hate propaganda laws under the Criminal Code. His words were described as “a crime against humanity:” as a result, he was deported.

Still, the line between freedom of speech and illegal promotion of hate is difficult to discern: “Under Canadian law, a person is free to think what they like, say what they like whether it is true of untrue, mean, vicious, or disrespectful, subject only to the laws of defamation and the promoting hatred against an identifiable group.”

Though the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal is the major legal tool to address this, racist organizations are not presently prohibited in Canada. This violates the UN’s International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination: Article 4(b) states, “(b) [Members] shall declare illegal and prohibit organizations, and also organized and all other propaganda activities, which promote and incite racial discrimination, and shall recognize participation in such organizations or activities as an offence punishable by law.”

However, hate propaganda remains rampant, and racism is a growing phenomenon, regardless of Canada’s long-term record of tolerance. Neo-Nazi groups and White Supremacists pervade our culture. National leaders like Iran’s President Ahmadinejad fan the flame. He addressed the world, denouncing the Holocaust as a “myth” and preached that “Israel should be wiped off the map.” He was applauded, and not just in Iran!

Racist organizations are exploring cyberspace to get their message out to the public, easily and anonymously. The Justice Department has had to establish watchdog technologies to fight the emergence of cybercrime, looking for “posted messages that expose persons to hatred or contempt by reason of race, national or ethnic origin, color or religion.”

Ultimately, racism is a heart issue, and not a media or legal issue. The real question is, “Has it touched and contaminated your heart?”  We need to watch our hearts, and let’s work together to ensure that our cities are a place free from a culture of hate.