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Canada's Courage

A Statement of the Spirit of the Nation

Institute Bulletin No.13

April 12, 2002

Many of you to whom this is being sent are old friends and allies.We have fought many battles together.We have won some and lost some. But whatever the outcome we always knew that we advanced the causes of individual dignity and social justice. These were the foundations of the ideals we pledged ourselves to pursue in public life. We felt courage was the cardinal human virtue and we scorned hypocrisy in the guise of civility as the true last refuge of scoundrels. Above all we pledged ourselves to friendship and fidelity to common causes that would never be betrayed . We always fought the tough fights because we knew the hard causes were the only ones really worth fighting for. And as we fought,we zealously guarded against compromising truth with timidity, cheapening honor through “even-handedness” and mortgaging hope by expediency.

Canada has often been called a peace loving nation. This is only a half truth. Canada is above all a freedom loving nation. We have sacrificed more sons and daughters for the survival and success of liberty in the past century than even the United States as a proportion of population. We never shirked from this responsibility. We never calculated how many more soldiers there were in the Kaiser’s army. We never worried about the number of tanks in Hitler’s Panzer Divisions. We were never awed by Stalin’s might in Korea. And we never hesitated at home when terrorists threatened to make Montreal a charnel house. We supported the values of western civilization because we wanted to live as free men and women even when we had little more to give than Churchill’s “blood,sweat and tears”. We understood,
viscerally, that man’s millennia long struggle to break out of the forests of barbarism was a precious quest. We lionized and celebrated those who stood with us in vigilant opposition to any assault on our values of democracy and freedom. We would “rage against the dying of the light” whenever the black night of terror threatened.

We now have another opportunity to celebrate freedom. To stand up for the best of what we are as a people. To show that,in Roosevelt’s words, “our place shall never be with those cold and timid souls” who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis. On April 17th thousands will gather at high noon at Phillips Square in Montreal to mark the Independence of the State of Israel. It will be one of the largest manifestations of public will in twenty years. We ask you to join us. We ask you not as a Jew nor even as a political ally. We ask you not as someone who gives a blanket endorsement to Israel’s policies. We do not even ask you because of your political or communal positions. We ask you as someone who bears a very important title in our country. That title is citizen. We ask you as a Canadian to come and stand with us to send a message to the world that we do not forget our heritage. That in a part of the world that knows no freedom we will support the only democracy from the borders of India to the Atlantic Ocean. That Canada’s pride and purpose shall not be compromised or cudgelled by barrels of oil as it was not by mountains of munitions. That we understand that Israel is the frontline state in the family of liberal western democracies and that the outcome of its struggle against terror holds consequences for us all.

The policy and passion of our political futures will be ennobled by this celebration of human dignity, freedom and courage.

Beryl Wajsmann,

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