Maybe this post should be called Nonsense (3), but the report on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls was well-intentioned but marred by one major bit of nonsense and the Globe and Mail‘s suggestions to ban all handguns in Canada was equally nonsensical because it was based on a deeply flawed premise: that criminals obey the law.
But, this is Victoria city councillor Ben Isitt, and the nonsense he is spouting is of a somewhat different order …
… he’s known, apparently, as Bolshevik Ben in some circles, but he’s actually a pretty accomplished fellow, having a LLB (law degree) and PhD in history and having had a few books published, including From Victoria to Vladivostok: Canada’s Siberian Expedition, 1917-19 (UBC Press, 2010) and Militant Minority: British Columbia Workers and the Rise of a New Left, 1948-1972 (University of Toronto Press, 2011). He’s a member of the New Democratic Party and a social activist who thought it was important to remove the statue of Sir John A MacDonald from Victoria City Hall.
Which is why I find it just a wee, tiny bit odd that he would be such a staunch ally of President Donald J Trump, who is, pretty much, everything that Dr Isitt is not and vice versa … well, maybe except for the hats. It does seem contradictory, doesn’t it? Maybe opposites do attract or, at least, maybe they share the same aim.
What aim is that?
Well, pretty clearly, as I have said, President Trump’s preferred status for Canada would be as a colony of the United States, or, at least, a supine client state. What keeps us “free” ~ on a limited basis ~ is that we do (just) enough to defend our sovereignty and, perhaps more important, we do a (barely minimally) fair share in defending the continent we share with the USA. As long as we do that the Americans will not cite force majeur and defend Canada because ~ and only because ~ we are one of four major “approaches” to the US homeland.
Ben Isitt wants the Department of National Defence to spend a little less money actually defending Canada, on asserting and maintaining our sovereignty in an increasingly dangerous world. Instead, CTV News reports, he wants the Canadian defence budget to pay for “military events in the City” of Victoria … military events include, in his view, the Victoria Day Parade* and Remembrance Day.
That’s a real crackerjack of an idea Dr Isitt … maybe every city should follow suit and just ask Justin Trudeau to convert the Canadian Forces into a largely ceremonial force that will provide bands and ceremonial guards and so on in every major city to help attract tourists … and maybe help clear the streets after a heavy snowfall, too. Then we could leave the Americans to do the other stuff like … oh, you know, patrolling the skies over Canada and protecting our seacoasts and defending our vital interests in the world, at the least defending the interests they think are vital to Canada. What I really worry about is that Dr Isitt may have gotten a sneak preview of Justin Trudeau’s new defence policy. That is, after all, roughly what his father was proposing back in 1969/79.
A (slim) majority of Victoria City Council supported Ben Isitt’s proposal … it’s possible that a substantial number of Canadians do, too. I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry.
* Considering that the 2019 Victoria Day Parade in Victoria, BC, named for the old Widow of Windsor herself, featured the West Seattle High School and University of Washington marching bands, it doesn’t seem especially military, or even very Canadian, to me, but maybe I’m just being a bit overly sensitive.