By Roger Currie
What dark and scary days on this planet of ours. The terrorist gang that calls itself The Islamic State has succeeded beyond its wildest dreams, and it’s far from over. 129 people were killed and many more were seriously wounded in coordinated attacks in Paris just over a week ago. It’s a terrible tragedy for the victims and their loved ones, but the real tragedy is how some North Americans have reacted.
Here in Canada before the attacks, there seemed to be a genuine willingness to do what had to be done to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to our country, even though Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s timelines were perhaps more than a little unrealistic. Now much of that good will has been tarnished. In southern Ontario, a mosque was set on fire, and women wearing headscarves were attacked by nutbars on the Toronto subway.
Out here in the west, it has been a mixture of bad and good. The bad was Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall making a public spectacle of the concerns he raised about refugees in a letter to Trudeau. Wall was reflecting the growing concern of many in his province. How safe will it be to bring in these large numbers of people from the area of the world that has produced Isis?
These are legitimate questions for sure, buy why didn’t the premier ask them privately in a phone call with Trudeau, rather than stirring the pot at a time when emotions are running very high?
The good was the way many in Saskatchewan responded to the premier. They made it clear in petitions and in placards outside the legislature in Regina that they thought Wall showed poor judgment and a lack of leadership. The premier did something we don’t often see. He almost apologized, and he went into damage control mode. Syrian refugees are being welcomed in Saskatchewan, as they should be all across the country.
Isis thrives on fear and hatred. We must not be overwhelmed by either in these dark days.
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Roger Currie is a writer, storyteller, voice for hire, observer of life on the Canadian prairies, and can be heard on CJNU 93.7FM in Winnipeg.