As a non-believer, I find the most appealing thing about Christianity is its glaring escape clause. The most sinful, blasphemous, immoral, adulterous, covetous, neighbour-hating, polytheistic, Sunday-golfing, patricidal, murderous, thieving, lying, greedy, lazy, self-absorbed, road-raging glutton — and I believe that adequately covers all 10 commandments and seven deadly sins — only has to accept JC as his personal saviour in the final couple of seconds of his miserable life to escape the fires of Hell. What a deal!
In the U.S., it's impossible to get elected president if you're not a card-carrying Christian in the broadest sense of the word. It seems to be mandatory to invoke both the name and spirit, if not the peaceful, charitable teachings, of JC several times in every speech and close with God Bless America, spoken if not sung. Even in that fearful, polarized country I feel secure in saying it would be easier for a Muslim to be elected commander-in-chief than it would an atheist.
And while a test of religious faith is not strictly required to become Prime Minister of Canada, I have every reason to believe Justin "Sunny Ways" Trudeau is a true believer.
"Why is that, Max?" I hear you ask, amid the cacophony of other voices rattling around my head.
No one who doesn't believe in instant, last-minute redemption can do what Sunny is doing in Saudi Arabia without being kept awake nights with visions of being tossed into the fiery pit. No one 'cept a true believer can say, on the one hand, he'll do what his predecessor refused to do — sign on the UN Arms Trade Treaty — but, having expressed a willingness to do so, will still let the sale of 15 billion dollars worth of weaponized armoured vehicles to the Saudi government, er, dictatorship, go ahead on the thin rationale that, well, he hasn't actually signed the treaty yet... or his fingers were crossed... or, "Oh look, a squirrel!"
The treaty is one of those rare things the United Nations accomplishes when the member countries allow it to accomplish what it was established to, well, accomplish. It is an attempt, however toothless, to regulate trade in conventional weapons. Why? In a hopeless attempt to foster world peace. Don't laugh. The basic concept is this: Countries who sign on the treaty agree to not sell conventional weapons to other countries who will likely turn around and use them on civilian populations. To date, Canada has neither signed nor ratified. Our former prime minister thought it was silly. Our current prime minister says he'll get around to it, along with a long list of other things he's getting around to.
In the meantime, the current deal with the Saudis grinds forward. There are several, shall we say, picayune problems with this deal. For starters, it's with Saudi Arabia. The Saudis regularly rank among the top countries in the world in human rights violations. The House of Saud make the Chinese look like poster children for National Brotherhood Week. The Saudis have a rich history of killing their own people, at least those who choose to worship Mohammad differently, continue to treat women like chattel and, among other niceties, fund terrorists and civil strife throughout the Middle East.
Just this week, Human Rights Watch accused the Saudis of dropping cluster bombs, supplied by Uncle Sam, on civilians in Yemen. Cluster bombs are banned by international treaty but the U.S. is the armament pimp of the world and there seems to be a market for them. Meh.
Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, is the oil pimp of the world and has been for decades. Canada, notwithstanding domestic production, sucks the oil teat of Saudi Arabia like a ravenous puppy.
Unfortunately, Canada also has this pesky – let's call it a guideline – about supplying weapons to other countries. It says Canadian weapon manufacturers shouldn't sell weapons to countries who might use those weapons against civilians. Since Ottawa has to authorize weapon exports, they can refuse to let sales go forward... unless they choose to look the other way. Oh look, another squirrel.
So between Canada's own guidelines, and the clear proscription contained in the Arms Trade Treaty, Sunny has promised to sign, there is no way in hell London, Ont.'s General Dynamics Land Systems — a subsidiary of General Dynamics — should be able to sell weaponized personnel carriers to Saudi Arabia.
So why is Sunny letting this deal go forward? Jobs. Votes. A lack of courage of his convictions. The contract with the Saudis, according to the company, means "... 3,000 jobs at about 500 supply companies across Canada, with about 40 per cent of the supply base in Southwestern Ontario....", a place Sunny needs votes.
In commenting on the deal, Tim Page, president of the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries said, "It's a good day for Canada."
Maybe your Canada, Tim. Not mine. Not the Canada I voted for last October. Not the candidate I voted for.
Jobs are important. But like my buddy Mark always said, "Just depends on what kind of whore you want to be." I don't want to be that kind of whore. I don't want to supply a corrupt, violent, dictatorship weapons to kill people whose only crime is worshipping differently and trying to get a fair shake out of their own corrupt government. I don't want to sell anything, let alone weapons, to a government whose stated goal for the past year has been to drive high-cost oil producers out of the market by overloading world supplies of crude. Those "friends" have destroyed the economic engine of Alberta and hobbled Canada's economy and much of the rest of the world's. Some friends.
So grow a pair, Sunny. Stand up for what you said you believe and the kind of country you want Canada to be.
Oh and while we're at it, get the hell out of Syria. Read the papers this week? How many hospitals and schools has the Assad regime and his buddies the Russians bombed? How many civilians have died, been injured, had their homes and towns destroyed? How many more are making the march to Europe in the hopes of, oh yeah, living?
There is no valid role for Canada to play in that medieval, barbaric civil war. There is no side worth supporting. There are as many civilians who see ISIS as a better choice than Assad as there are who back the current, brutal regime. None of us are smart enough to pick a winner in this bloodbath and chances are pretty good whomever we back will be ousted eventually and the new bosses will consider anyone who backed them as infidels and enemies. There isn't a western country who has backed a winner in the Middle East ever.
Take Canada's planes, troops, advisors and mercenaries the hell out of that quagmire and start to rebuild a country, our country, we can be proud of. Capiche?