Letters to the editor

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Garrison Mentality

The American of today has provided us with a cautionary tale – the dangers of unrestrained partisanship. We, Canadians, are prone to emulate American behaviour, occasionally to our benefit, but we emulate this behaviour at our peril.

Seeing the rhetoric coming out of the recent American election reminds me of the rhetoric used between warring nations, but this rhetoric between the Republicans and Democrats is a war between parties creating confusion of direction that saps their nation’s strength and erodes its international position. We have seen it range from the ridiculous — wearing or not wearing a face mask based on your party affiliation to the dangerous — intimidation, voter suppression, an attempt to kidnap of the governor of Michigan and even talk of the need for a civil war.

One might say that such talk is just bluster, but the reality of the First World War and its aftermath, the Second World War, obscures the memory that that first war was initially met with enthusiasm by all sides with young men quickly joining to fight the “War To End All Wars.” Yet the journey that began in 1914 didn’t end in 1918, as triumphal victors and resentful losers, determined to have a rematch, marched relentlessly into a conflict of even greater destruction and heartbreak, in spite of the efforts of peacemakers.


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We should not think that extreme partisanship cannot happen here. Years ago, the literary critic Northrop Frye identified a theme in Canadian literature which he named the “Garrison Mentality.” In it, the individuals in the garrison see everything in their enclosure as safe, comfortable and to be trusted, while they regard everything outside their enclosure as dark, dangerous and to be distrusted. He could well have been talking about our communities today.

Robert J. MacMillan

Trump cause of his own undoing

Re: Media bias (Letter, Nov. 9)

According to the writer: “If you tell the same lie enough times, people will believe it is the truth. This shows the power of the media and Big Tech to influence elections. The election was based more on the hate generated against Donald Trump than about Joe Biden or his policies.”

The hate the writer speaks of is because of the constant and neverending lies from Trump. The media needed no help. He was the cause of his own undoing and deserves what he got, joining the short list of one-term presidents.

I hope that America can move forward after this election, but I have to wonder if it can considering the upheaval of racism and division over the last four years of Trump.

They have my hopes and prayers. Stay strong. America over party.

Dave Gillen

Poppies expose hypocrisy of Canadian arms sales to despots

We wear poppies to show respect for Canadians who have died or been injured in military service, especially those who have faced the horror of combat. This was originally meant to remind us about the terrible cost of war.


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Since the end of the First World War, the Canadian military has participated in the Russian Revolution, the Second World War, the Korean War, Afghanistan, Iraq and countless United Nations’ peacekeeping missions. While every soldier was in some way a hero, the same cannot be said for those who sent them to war and those who profited from the business of war.

This business of war has become a key part of the Canadian economy and unfortunately, our best customers include some of the world’s worst dictators. Canada exports weapons systems and so-called security technology to oppressive regimes in Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Turkey and elsewhere.

Perhaps our real enemies are those powerful interests who profit from fear and endless conflict. Since serving soldiers can’t voice political opinions, we must speak for them and resist those politicians who would sacrifice our soldiers to enrich arms manufacturers and those who covet the assets of weaker nations.

Poppies remind me that wars are fought by working people who are often discarded when their courage is no longer required. Selling weapons to foreign dictators in 2020 insults the memory of those Canadians who died fighting similar despots in past wars.

Morgan Duchesney

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