When Stephen Harper was first elected Prime Minister, he began ending his speeches with the phrase "God Bless Canada." As a result, Mr. Harper was attacked by Canadian leftists for mimicking George W. Bush, for injecting organized religion into Canadian public life and for offending Jews, Muslims and other faiths by emphasizing his Christianity. One Globe and Mail columnist derided Mr. Harper's God-talk as "squirm-inducing."This part isn't so bad. Ending speeches with "God bless Canada" is offensive to our democracy for the reasons outlined. It was a blatant play to the fundamentalist segment of his base. As the anonymous Post writers may not have noticed, Harper no longer ends his speeches in such a fashion. That was so 2006. If this was an expression of his faith rather than a cynical political ploy, why did he stop? And, as was pointed out at the time, Canada does not impose a religious test on its potential leaders. Faith is respected as a private and personal matter. Canadian politicians have, until Harper, shown respect for Canadians and their personal beliefs by keeping this in the background rather than a litmus test.
Fast forward two years. Are all those left-wing Canadian pundits now "squirming" at Barack Obama?
In his inaugural address yesterday, the new U. S. President made several references to God. He quoted Scripture, referred to "the God-given promise" of equality and freedom, spoke of America progressing "with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us" and, of course, ended with the traditional "God Bless America."
No. We are not squirming at his overt religiosity. As so often escapes the Post and its readers with their well toned lips and well aired mouths, Canada is not the U.S.A. We can accept that, notwithstanding the American constitutional separation between church and state, American politicians must make a show of their piety. That does not mean Canadians should ape this.
If not, we should all remember this the next time some Canadian uses the "G" word in public. The worst that any Canadian will then be able to accuse them of is mimicking ... their hero, Barack Obama.
If a Canadian politician uses the "G" word in public, that persoanl should be excoriated for pursuing dog whistle politics. Canada needs politicians who will look out for Canada's interests not look for ways to blur the differences.Recommend this Post