‘Hurtful’ or not, Kellie Leitch’s criticism of Trudeau’s refugee policy is bang on valid
Sticks and stones may break my bones,
but names will never hurt me.
I was delightfully surprised to discover last week that this aphorism, known to all children in my 1930s childhood, is still well known to children today. I stated the first line to two of my grandchildren who are in junior high school. and both provided the second line without hesitation. Which probably means that the entire Sixties generation absorbed it and passed it on to the post-modernists. and that the whole computer-television generation has failed to abolish it.
Everybody seems to know it, that is, with the possible exception of the government of Canada, one of whose ministers last week actually refuted it. Being called names, he said, is just as bad as being knocked senseless with a blood-spattered hockey stick. Plainly, the man’s mind has been totally Ottawashed.
Here is what happened. Mohammed Rafia and family, Syrian refugees, arriving in Canada 14 months ago, were interviewed by immigration officers and admitted. They settled in Fredericton. In some sort of family dispute, Mohammad beat his wife with a hockey stick for half an hour, leaving the stick spattered with her blood. He was sentenced to one year’s probation. What made the case a national incident, however, was Mr. Rafia’s defence. Nobody had told him when he arrived that it was illegal in Canada to beat your wife.
This unsurprisingly and very appropriately brought a response from Dr. Kellie Leitch, Conservative MP for Simcoe-Grey and a professor of orthopaedic surgery, who ran for the Tory leadership and dropped out on the ninth of the 13 ballots. In her campaign for the leadership, she advanced what would seem an eminently sensible idea — that refugee applicants be quizzed by immigration officers on their familiarity with Canadian law, particularly on points where it disaccords with the practices of the country they came from. When the Rebel Media disclosed the case. Dr. Leitch tweeted the obvious point: “A battered wife and a bloodied hockey stick. That’s the legacy of Trudeau’s Syria refugee program.”
Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s minister of immigration, was quick to respond in the Globe and Mail: Ms. Leitch’s comment was “as disgraceful as domestic violence itself,” he said. “Domestic violence is clearly something we abhor and condemn. What Ms. Leitch is doing is equally reprehensible because she’s tying a problem that exists everywhere — both in refugee countries and in our society. This is a problem that many societies grapple with. She’s tying that in with our refugee policy.” In short criticizing the Liberal governments refugee policy is just as “reprehensible” as whamming somebody with a bloodied hockey stick for half an hour.”
Do you suppose that Mr. Hussen actually thinks this? I suspect Mr. Hussen will declare his belief in whatever his aspirations, political and religious, require him to believe. He “abhors and condemns” domestic violence, though the Koran very specifically not only approves of it but recommends it, while the Hadiths in several instances give instructions on how it should be done.
Wife beating is a problem in many countries, says Mr. Hussen. Indeed it is and here are some examples: In Iran, 15% of women report being beaten by their husbands, in Jordan 20%, in Syria 25%, in Egypt 33%, in Pakistan 50%, and in Afghanistan 85%. All these countries have Muslim governments. The equivalent figure for spousal beating in Canada is 4% and that includes wives beating husbands as well as husbands beating wives. Does Mr. Hussen not know this?
That is a good question. You see there are actually two Mr. Hussens — the political one and the real one. The political one believes whatever he is required to believe. So yes, every country has a problem including Canada. The real Mr. Hussen knows as well as anyone that wife beating is an established practice in all Muslim countries and it no doubt disgusts him. But he can hardly say that and remain in the cabinet. So he doesn’t acknowledge it because he mustn’t.
But the really sad thing is his readiness to acquiesce in the heavy censorship Political Correctness is imposing on genuine political conflict and discussion. Ms. Leitch is assailed for having said something nasty about the government’s refugee policy which might prove “hurtful” to some refugees who don’t beat their wives.
Nobody must be “hurtful.”
What a bunch of claptrap. Some of our best politicians have been experts at being “hurtful.” The best anecdotes coming out of politics are inevitably “hurtful” of somebody. Maybe the House of Commons should adopt a new ritual. Just before a sitting begins all must arise and say together: “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” Then up, and on with the name calling.
Ted Byfield was founder and publisher of Alberta Report news magazine, general editor of Alberta in the Twentieth Century. a 12-volume history of the province, and general editor of The Christians: Their First Two Thousand Years, a 12-volume history of Christianity. His column on education appears in The Christians.com, a web journal. He has recently authored two little books on modern pedagogy: Why History Matters and The Revolution Nobody Covered. You can order both copies here.