Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Liberal Party: Failure To Make Priorties

Was Robert Fowler fair in Montreal condemning every political party pandering to the ethnic vote or special interest?
In my opinion a private members Bill introduced by two Liberals Bill C-302 Italian-Canadian Recognition and Restitution Act is just another example of the weakness of the Liberal party. Is this pandering to ethnic vote a desperation to save their seats because they believe they can't win in 2010? The  Liberals waited until the dying days of the Martin led-Liberals to offer $ 12.5 million regarding Italian-Canadian Recognition. They did the same with the Kelowna Accord and National Daycare.
Why did it take seven Liberal Prime Ministers to bring this matter forward?
Canada resorted to the War Measures Act during and after three periods of its history – World War I, World War II, and the October 1970 crisis.  The Act was in force between 4 August 1914 and 10 January 1920, the date of the end of the war with Germany, as declared by Imperial Order-in-Council.  The occasion of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917 was the cause of the passage of a number of regulations and orders under which membership in certain organizations was proscribed and individuals were interned.  The Act was next in force from 25 August 1939 until 1945, after which the National Emergency Transitional Powers Act was in force until 31 March 1947.  In 1947, the Constitution of Transitional Measures Act was enacted, maintaining certain wartime orders and regulations, and stayed in place until 30 April 1951.  Although the War Measures Act was not invoked during the Korean War, certain more limited powers were granted to Cabinet under the Emergency Powers Act between March 1951 and May 1954. - Government of Canada
Key Facts:
  • Liberal PM Mackenzie King 1940 ordered the arrest hundreds of Canadians citizens of Italian origin.
  • No charges laid and communication was restricted including family.
  • Loss of reputation, property, careers in their community.
  • Liberal 1935-1957
  • PC's 1957- 1962
  • Liberal 1963-1979
  • Joe Clark (lasted less than 9 months)
  • Liberal  1980-1984
  • PC's 1984-1993
  • Liberals 1993-2006
For almost 30 years the issue was forgotten but it resurfaced in the 1970s when some Italian Canadian community leaders started talking about an apology and financial compensation. But prime minister Pierre Trudeau, another Liberal, said the issue was closed. He told the House Commons that he didn't believe "in attempting to rewrite history in this way."
At that point, while they were in opposition, we saw the first Liberal flip-flop. They criticized the Mulroney government, saying it had not offered enough. "We want an apology in the Parliament, not in a banquet hall," said then Liberal MP Sergio Marchi. Marchi also intervened in Ottawa by asking the Conservative government to deal "urgently and efficiently" with this "injustice" and give financial compensation, as it had in the case of Japanese Canadians.
There was another flip-flop when the Liberals were back in power. The new minister of multiculturalism, Sheila Finestone, replying to the demands of the Chinese, Italian, Ukrainian, Jewish and German Canadian communities, said on Dec. 14, 1994, that "we wish we could rewrite history. We wish we could relive the past. We cannot ... Therefore, the government will not grant financial compensation for the requests made."
The Liberals maintained this position all the time that they were in government. In 1997, they said "the issue is closed." I don't even want to talk about the farce performed by Paul Martin when, a few weeks before the 2006 federal election which it was clear the Liberals were going to lose, he agreed to requests for money and an apology, once again trying to buy votes.- Shameless Liberals Shop Ethnic Vote January 31, 2010, The Toronto Star
This story has been ignored for decades. Do we have the political will to treat this matter in an adult manner.
Haunted by history: Ukrainians, Italians and Chinese seek redress for historical ill-treatment by Ottawa Written by Tom Philip  Alberta Report
17 December 1990 After years of inaction, recent weeks have seen a marked change in the government's attitude towards righting historical wrongs. Speaking in Toronto in November, Prime Minister Mulroney offered an "unqualified" apology to Italian Canadians interned during the Second World War. Two weeks ago Mr. Weiner met with representatives of the Chinese Canadian National Council, which is seeking compensation for $23 million in "head taxes" paid by Chinese immigrants to Canada in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. And on November 13 the prime minister met in Edmonton with UCC president Dmytro Cipywnyk and other members of the Ukrainian community.
Reports of what was agreed upon at the meeting conflict. UCC officials claim that the prime minister pledged support in principle for a Ukrainian cultural endowment fund; Mr. Mulroney said later that compensation was not discussed. But, at the very least, the government appears prepared to acknowledge that a wrong was done, not only in the case of the Ukrainians, but to other groups as well. "There's two schools of thought," said Mr. Mulroney. "You ignore these things and say they never happened because if you acknowledge one then you have to deal with another. Or you deal with them in the belief that a strong nation is capable of looking at its past and resolving injustices when they occur, and that's what we're in the process of doing."

To say there are "two schools of thought" on the issue of acknowledgement and redress for Ukrainian Canadians and others is something of an understatement. By all accounts, Mr. Mulroney's government is deeply divided on the issue. "This whole redress thing is most unpopular in the caucus," says Douglas Fisher, a columnist for the Toronto Sun newspaper group and a former New Democratic Party MP. "They blame it on the fact that the PM is a small-l liberal and is trying to win the ethnic vote." Among those opposed to compensation for Ukrainian Canadians is Don Blenkarn, Tory MP for Mississauga South. "An acknowledgement would be one thing," says Mr. Blenkarn. "But to tie a dollar figure to it - no bloody way. Claims that go back to the Dark Ages are just unacceptable."
Where were the Liberals and their passion to redress the loss of respect, careers, property? Why did they wait until the dying days of Paul Martin's government to raise this issue?
Is this another highly divisive debate that will be used to create wedges in our parliament?
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Patrick Ross said...

I would personally be reluctant to see the government pay out restitution to the descendants of Italian internees.

Like it or not, Canada was involved in total warfare at the time, and Italy was in the enemy camp.

Things take place during total warfare that no one likes, but they seem necessary within the circumstances of the time.

Paying the descendants of Italian detainees is, in my mind, very different from paying the victims of Residential Schools. In the former case, Canada is simply paying for being a participant in history, in my view.

That's just the way I see it right now. I might change my mind after some more deliberation.

CanadianSense said...

My problem is the issue requires an adult conversation. If you listen in QP and the comments from the Liberals attacking the government for not caring the same about Italians. This is being used as an ethnic wedge issue.

After 70 decades and numerous Liberal majorities why did they raise the issue and not fix it when in power?

wilson said...

after numerous Liberal majorities why did they :
meet Kyoto targets
fix the Indian Act
solve poverty
set up national daycare
make education a funding priority
pensions for an aging population

because they are Liberals, all talk, no action

CanadianSense said...


it does make sense why CPC were trusted to deal with the economy, deficit instead of the LPOC in 2008.

The gap in trust is significant with the Angus Poll. 10-20%