So I just took a driving trip through Canada. And of course I was exposed to a bunch of subversive ideas.
After all, we’re talking about a country that just handed a spectacular defeat to a Prime Minister who aggressively demagogued the refugee issue while his challenger, Justin Trudeau, campaigned on a promise to accept another 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of this year.
Wait, the voters picked the pro-refugee guy?
Yup, Canada’s a funny place. And while traveling through the True North Strong and Free, I read a brilliant essay in the right-of-center National Post. It was by political commentator Michael den Tandt, and it argued that welcoming refugees — even Muslims — ought to be a Conservative cause.
Herewith, some excerpts. I recommend reading the whole thing.
[Allowing entry to Syrian refugees] is in harmony with Canadian values and traditional Conservative values. It is in keeping with the will of the people, as expressed in the recent federal election that turned to a significant degree on issues of pluralism, inclusiveness and, yes, refugees.
Den Tandt then acknowledges that, in the wake of the Paris attacks, it’s only human nature to be concerned about terrorism. But that doesn’t mean we should let our fears hold sway.
Leadership, though, requires that people rise beyond first instincts and quick reactions, to apply reason and compassion, toughness and wisdom.
… the truth is that conflating Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists with Syrian refugees does not bear scrutiny. It is belied by the fact that most of ISIL’s victims are Muslim; that the refugees Canada seeks to rescue are already in camps administered by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and have been for years; that the Paris terrorists held European Union passports, and thus could presumably have entered Canada simply by getting on a plane, had they wished to; and that the attacks in Canada last October were carried out by homegrown ISIL wannabes. …Moreover, the security services are carrying out checks on every potential refugee.
Is this an iron-clad guarantee of perfect security? No. The reality is there is no such thing.
… Indeed, living free requires the bearing of some basic level of risk — unless we plan to stop going to hockey games, restaurants and rock concerts — just as pluralism in a wealthy democracy requires a hand extended to the dispossessed in their hour of greatest need.
Nothing more needs to be said. Now, the question for noted dog-whistle soloist Bruce Lisman and the overly timid Phil Scott: Will you continue giving voice to our lowest impulses or begin to express our highest values?