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Vimy 'affirmed our national identity'

From Monday's Globe and Mail

PM hails First World War bloody assault as a coming-of-age moment for Canada ...Read the full article

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  1. JD Wood from Toronto, Canada writes: Yeah, go figure that warlord Harper defines our country based on national moments of violence and not social progress.

    National Health Care affirmed our national identify.
  2. Jon W-E from Farm in Alberta, Canada writes: Hey JD, Canada was already a great and defined country before National Health Care came in...you might be speaking German or Russian if it weren't for our WWI and WWII veterans...or warlords as you probably call them. You should be grateful that they defended us overseas so that your parents and grandparents homes had less chance of being bombed here in Canada.
  3. Big D from Canada writes: WOW! This is real progress. JD Wood only accussed harper of celebrating a war battle. I am quite surprised he didn't try to say that Harper started WWI at Bush's request......

    Hmmmm, attacking WWI Vets now.... JD, did you piss on the national war memorial on Rememberance Day?
  4. allan craigie from United Kingdom writes: JD - what you forget is that both battles like Vimy Ridge and grand social projects like national healthcare did the exact same thing; they focused national energy and national conscious of all Canadians on one event/issue, which in turn helps foster a sense of identity and common cause. No one event created the Canadian nation, but Vimy Ridge has long been regarded as the first event in a long process of national events that helped foster this (and of course, national health care was one of the subsequent events that helped reinforce this sense of common cause which is necessary to develop national identity). While I understand your dislike of war, the fact remains that thier are few events like war that unite a people in common cause and foster a sense of unity.
  5. Deborah Mawhinney from St. John's, Canada writes: I agree that Canadians fought an amazing battle and I mourn and remember the lives lost at Vimy Ridge and every other battle at which men and women have fought and died for our country. But it would sadden me to think that our country gained it's 'national identity' from a blood sacrifice. Did citizens of the time really believe us to be an 'unworthy' country until we shed the blood our our young? Callling it a 'coming of age ' moment makes the whole battle sound like a horrific rite of passage. But rite of passage to what?
  6. Deborah Mawhinney from St. John's, Canada writes: I agree that Canadians fought an amazing battle and I mourn and remember the lives lost at Vimy Ridge and every other battle at which men and women have fought and died for our country. But it would sadden me to think that our country gained it's 'national identity' from a blood sacrifice. Did citizens of the time really believe us to be an 'unworthy' country until we shed the blood our our young? Calling it a 'coming of age ' moment makes the whole battle sound like a horrific rite of passage. But rite of passage to what?
  7. Mrs. Whiggins from Canada writes: Canadians die in a far-off country for a Mission that Harper and Karzai plead in the HoC as necessary. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Karzai is in talks with the 'insurgents.'
    Where are those four or more detainees? When will Gordon 'anyone can be found' O'Connor produce the people that were in his charge and prove they haven't been let loose to kill Canadians?

    Can we get an answer in the House?
    It's time for Canadians to have a serious debate about just what we're accomplishing in Afghanistan when the President of that country is in negotiations with the Taliban, the supposed enemy. Are the Taliban and Karzai negotiating a peace plan?
    NATO, Canada and everybody involved need to redefine this Mission so it isn't a coddling of certain areas while destabilizing other, nor a catch and release program regarding the handing over of detainees only to have them released to fight again.
    Just what is it Canada is fighting for?
    It's time for a real debate in the HoC, perhaps more than 6 hours.
  8. Joseph Sis from Ottawa, Canada writes: If Harper and MacKay want to earn the respect of the Canadian people they better spend a week inside a LAV vehicle, instead of posturing, while holidaying with their families in the beautiful French country side. And the families of the fallen six soldiers in Afghanistan are paying the bill of this French extravaganza from their tax money. Adding insult to injury. Shame !

    The one thing consistent from WW1 to Afghanistan is teh naivety of our politcians. Just like WWI the Canadian are driven by their allies to take the most deadly missions. For example South Afghnaistan as compared to the North where most of our (smart) European allies are taking refuge.

    Something to munch on Peter (MAcKacy) during the next wine and cheese with 'our' European allies. Better study the map of Afghanistan first, and BTW, the Capital is Kabul, not Kandahar and not Arthabaska.
  9. James Clost from chaozhou, guangdong, China writes: ' Mrs. Whiggins from Canada writes: Canadians die in a far-off country for a Mission that Harper and Karzai plead in the HoC as necessary. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Karzai is in talks with the 'insurgents.'
    Where are those four or more detainees? When will Gordon 'anyone can be found' O'Connor produce the people that were in his charge and prove they haven't been let loose to kill Canadians? Can we get an answer in the House? It's time for Canadians ........ need to redefine this Mission so it isn't a coddling of certain areas while destabilizing other, nor a catch and release program regarding the handing over of detainees only to have them released to fight again.
    Just what is it Canada is fighting for? It's time for a real debate in the HoC, perhaps more than 6 hours.'

    nice sentiments, however this article is about vimy ridge. any input from you with respect to that battle?
  10. Gerry Pankhurst from westport ontario, Canada writes: Folks, can't you see the mistake you are making by commenting on the hateful postings from JD Woods? He is a sick S O B whose only aim is to provoke. Ignore him for heaven's sake. by responding you merely dignify his abject ignorance.
  11. D Jarvis from Vancouver, Canada writes: I was at the ceremony in Arras yesterday .. it was a nice tribute, and as someone mentioned, perhaps not 'inspiring' but I don't think that was the point of it. Even though I'm not a Harper fan by any stretch, he gave a 'proper' toned-down and well-delivered speech, and let the focus rest on the participants of the ceremony. The sunset ceremony at the memorial the evening before was well done, though difficult to get to. Although each one of us had our own reasons for being there - the common thread was to remember, and pay our respects. Not to glorify, or misinterpret the causes, purpose, historical accounts and results of WWI (as some seem to suggest), but to pay our respects for those who gave their lives. The memorial itself is both magnificent and somber at the same time, and displays the names of 11,285 Canadians who lost their lives in WWI and whose remains were never found. I think some postings (particularly those on the 'Vimy Myth' article) miss the mark, as did that article. Vimy was the start of 'a Canadian identity' in WWI, and certainly it should be put into some perspective .. but once this is done, you come to realize what this meant to those climbed out of the trenches, the courage it took for them to do so, and the feeling that must have been experienced there and back home when the ridge was taken - as that was the goal for all 4 united Canadian divisions. It is a Canadian experience ... part of our heritage with which our nation is bound. Vimy should be remembered even by those who are ardently opposed to conflict, not as Canada's greatest military victory - but as an achievement which demanded sacrifice and courage and brought our troops together, as well as a feeling of accomplishment and pride in a young 'nation' essentially forced into a war. Paying my respects for this, is not condoning war and should not be seen in this way.
  12. Joseph Sis from Ottawa, Canada writes: J D JArvis, Great posting, thanks.

    One question, your comment that 'essentially we were forced into war during WW1'

    Do we always need war to affirm national identity ?

    Is this also what is happening now in Aghnanistan? Are we forced into this war as well ? Is this war going to help affirm our national identity ?

    Or should we learn form our past and find more civilized ways of building and affirming our identity ?

    Thanks again for a very thoughtful and balanced posting.
  13. James Clost from chaozhou, guangdong, China writes: D Jarvis, good to hear a first hand account of the ceremony. well done.
  14. D Brown from Canada writes: If find it hard to believe that of all the advancements made by the Canadian forces during the battles of WWI, more isn't made about the technological and startegical victories. It seems the bravado is saved for the number of dead, and snubbing the French and British forces who could not take Vimy. Meanwhile, Canadians helped developed the stategy of 'Creeping Barrage' and the technology to precisely locate german artillary units. Both of these events were crucial in Canadian victories. Could a national identity be build on technological acheivments, or just in the number of young soldiers we sacrifice?
  15. Don Bryant from Calgary, Canada writes: Hey, JD Wood, since you hate Canada - and our national identity - so much, why don't you move to one of the bastions of democracy and freedom that you so admire? Say, Cuba or Iran or, better yet, North Korea.
  16. Derek Holtom from Swan River, Canada writes: The tone in the Globe on the weekend, and some comments on this site sicken me. I have never seen our veterans marginalized the way they have been by some posters and some writers at the Globe. Frankly, they disgust me.
  17. Jason Roy from NS, Canada writes: JD Wood; your mommy called and said your Che Guevera t-shirt is clean. Don't forget to put it on before jumping into your BMW to go protest Capitalism somewhere. Joseph Sis from Ottawa, Canada writes: 'If Harper and MacKay want to earn the respect of the Canadian people they better spend a week inside a LAV vehicle, instead of posturing, while holidaying with their families in the beautiful French country side. And the families of the fallen six soldiers in Afghanistan are paying the bill of this French extravaganza from their tax money. Adding insult to injury. Shame ! The one thing consistent from WW1 to Afghanistan is teh naivety of our politcians. Just like WWI the Canadian are driven by their allies to take the most deadly missions. For example South Afghnaistan as compared to the North where most of our (smart) European allies are taking refuge. Something to munch on Peter (MAcKacy) during the next wine and cheese with 'our' European allies. Better study the map of Afghanistan first, and BTW, the Capital is Kabul, not Kandahar and not Arthabaska.' Jospeh, while I do agree with your comparison of WWI to Afghanistan; what exactly is the point of the rest of your post? These deaths could have easily happened while HArper was still in this country. The LAV3 is a very sturdy vehicle and it doesn't take rocket science to figure out the eventual combination of explosives to destroy one. Multiple artillery shells (particularily old Soviet 152mm) or a couple of anti-tank mines would probably do it. As well, I'm sure everybody knows what the map of Afghanistan looks like. Perhaps the Liberals should have thought of that before redeploying CF to Kandahar. Or perhaps if Dithers hadn't dithered so much CF could be in one of those nice safe caveats that the other NATO countries enjoy. Then you could flip-flop and call Harper/MacKay cowards and an embarrasment for not helping our allies.
  18. blow joe from quebec city, writes: 'Jon W-E from Farm in Alberta, Canada writes: Hey JD, Canada was already a great and defined country before National Health Care came in...you might be speaking German or Russian if it weren't for our WWI and WWII veterans...or warlords as you probably call them.'

    Oh come on! If you think that Hitler had the potential to cross the Ocean and invaded America you must be living in deep deep Alberta!
    By the way, Russians were our allies!!!! Our ally was Joseph Stalin!!!!
  19. J Law from Canada writes: D. Jarvis,

    Every once in a while I read something on these comment boards that is worth while. Yours was a gem. Thank you for taking me there and letting me feel what you felt and probably what many others felt at the the site both today and 90 years ago felt.
  20. Joseph Sis from Ottawa, Canada writes: Jason, from NS, thanks for your comments. I can see through your posting a more than slight political bias towards the PC. I mention Harper and MacKay, because of what they are doing and not doing today. We are all for a strong army, but the issue is competence of our politicians and their ability to rise about the powers of lobby of the defence industry and the biased media. I know this is asking too much, but this is our tragedy, especially of the impacted victims families, whether during WW1 or Talibanistan. Remember that the Talibans and Bin Laden were the allies of our Southern cow boys, just like Saddam and Rummy, best firends fighting Iran until H & W Bush decided otherwise. We Canadians get bullied to follow our 'big brother' at the mention of few emotional words such as 'terrorism, security, freedom, etc..' We need politicians who can look big brother in the eye and point to him those who are holding his strings, the DEFENCE Industry would be a good place to start (they made trillions since 9/11).
  21. Roop Misir from Toronto, Canada writes: Nice that there is one story that rallies the Nation. But do do new Canadians share the same sentiment expressed at these observances?
  22. azif uno from Canada writes: Just a few questions to think about:

    1) How was the 50th anniversary of Vimy celebrated (1967)? How about the 75th (1992)?

    2) If we were not in Afghanistan, would Vimy and the celebration of its 90th anniversary be so important, and would if provide as many political points for the PM? Think about why the 90th appears to be so important, rather than waiting for the 100th.

    3) Does the historical fact of the events of Vimy somehow justify or offer a rationale for our presence in Afghanistan? Should there be a premptive attack on Iran, would the historical fact of Vimy justify our support of such a venture?

    Flamers need not respond. These are serious questions deserving of serious answers.
  23. John Doucette from Manotick, Canada writes: Remember Vimy?
    Not for all the false reasons touted by those like Harper, Granastein, and all those other fools trying to promote a Canadian military machine for their own power and reflected glory. Yes, remember the innocent dead at Vimy and Ypres as well, and remember the six dead yesterday at Kandahar City: Ninety years apart, but all killed as the result of the stupidity of Canada's leadership, allowing Canada to continue in its role as colony: then of England, now of the United States.

    God bless our Canadian colony!
  24. True North from Canada writes: Steve Harper is the kind of person who thinks fighting makes you all 'grown up'. Great role model there Steve. Steve Harper is a terrible leader.
  25. John Deckhardt from Western Halifax, Canada writes: Azif Uno - The reason the 90th Anniversary is being recognized is that we only have 2 WWI veterans left alive in Canada. I am sure we will also be recognizing the 100th - but by that time there will likely be no WWI veterans left.

    I think it is appropriate we are recognizing the role Vimy played in our country's history while some of those who fought in that war are still with us. The fact that we are in Afghanistan with trrops in harm's way has reminded Canadians of the sacrifice made by those men and women who fought in the two world wars.

    I think we were all too preoccupied with the stock market and separatism 15 years ago and the 75th was largely overlooked.

    Vimy was a turning point in our history because it was the first time Canada was recognized as a nation - and not just England's colony. Yes, it is sad that an attack in a horrible war is what it took - but sometimes it is the hardest struggles that truly define us.

    Vimy was when the rest of the world finally realized Canada had grown up, left home and was making its own decisions.

    Vimy made us a country in the eyes of others, but other things like Medicare made us a great country.
  26. Don Wells from Calgary, Canada writes: ONE OF CANADA'S PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENTS. A DEFINER OF COUNTRY! FOR THOSE THAT GAVE THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE--I HONOR , SALUTE AND THANK YOU!
  27. Heather Mills McCartfullof$$$ from Crossharbour, United Kingdom writes: JD Wood, why are you always first, I want to be first.
  28. Dan Jarvis from Vancouver, Canada writes: You’re welcome Joseph Sis and J Law. My comment 'essentially we were forced into war” was just to say that at the time, we were essentially a British colony, and my understanding is we were automatically committed. The call for volunteers was sent out, and tens of thousand enlisted shortly after. www.vac-acc.gc.ca/general/sub.cfm?source=history/firstwar/canada/Canada3 As for other questions, I'll share my thoughts. “Do we always need war to affirm national identity?” No, our identity has been woven through every event and individual that has made up the country of Canada and is affirmed through our understanding of this, and through common bonds and shared values. Of course not everyone shares the same values, but just maybe (I like to think) there is some kind of underlying ‘core’ that we (in general) embody. I’ll leave that alone though, as it’s a subject in itself. Anyway, many historians and academics have commented that 90 years ago we did need something to affirm our identity - and right or wrong, WWI and Vimy was that something. 'Is this also what is happening now in Afghanistan? Are we forced into this war as well? Is this war going to help affirm our national identity?' I would argue that no, we (our government) made a choice to enter into Afghanistan, and our current government has made a choice to commit to stay there. Rather than affirming our national identity, I would argue that it is causing us to question it -what makes us ‘Canadian’, since there are many across the country who feel strongly both for and against our commitment, and many unsure. Our identity is not built on this ‘war’ -- but how we respond to it both now and in the future will certainly make its mark on us. The Vimy memorial shows us this, that our present is connected to our past, in big picture terms between nations and ‘identities’, and in personal terms - when witnessing a woman touching the engraved name of her great-grandfather, and feeling a sense of profound grief.
  29. Paul F. from Toronto, Canada writes: Although JD Wood has a tendency to say extreme things, he and a few other people (like azif uno) on this board have made a good point. Why is Harper harping on a '90th' anniversary? Who celebrates 90th anniversaries? Why is this one suddenly significant? This is about creating a militaristic culture, like Bush has BRIEFLY succeeded in doing in the US. Especially as the mission in Afganistan is going south quickly, there is a desperate need for some previous glory that he could milk in a photo op. Of course, the Harperites couldn't even do a decent job of the thing. It was bad enough that Harper was trying to milk the memory of our veterans' sacrifice for cheap political gain, but apparently that wasn't enough of an insult to their memory. French signs inside the memorial's visitors centre were riddled with spelling and grammatical errors. I mean they made mistakes that even a dunce in grade 9 French could have pointed out. Vimy was a 'coming of age' event? Let's get this history right, shall we? In 1914, Canada did NOT have even its own foreign policy at that point. We were still part of the British empire at that point. The constitution of this country was still a law of a foreign parliament, and we did NOT decide our own foreign policy. Britain declared war FOR us. Besides, it was not a war for democracy. There wasn't even universal suffrage in any of the allied countries at the time: Canada, Britain, the United States and France. Russia needless to say was still an absolutist monarchy at the beginning of the war. The war was a war of plunder. Who would control colonies (with their precious raw materials) in Africa and Asia? That is why millions of youth were slaughtered. The punative Verseilles treaty was proof of this. Speaking of military traditions, when did Harper do his basic training? With someone of his considerable dimensions, he could use some basic training.
  30. Al B from Toronto, Canada writes: D Brown: 'Meanwhile, Canadians helped developed the stategy of 'Creeping Barrage' and the technology to precisely locate german artillary units. Both of these events were crucial in Canadian victories. Could a national identity be build on technological acheivments, or just in the number of young soldiers we sacrifice?' About counter artillery technology: 'Charles Nordmann, a French gunner who had been an astronmer for the Paris Observatory, appreciated in the autumn of 1914 that a gun's position could be pinpointed by measuring the difference in time required for the report to reach widely placed microphones. He teamed up with Lucien Bull, a French physicist wh fashioned the necessary equipment. By the autumn of 1915 British officers were intrigued by the idea, but it was not until June of the following year that microphones and measuring instruments were developed that could operate under field conditions. By the time McNaughton (Canadian artillery guru) went to see colonel Haig (British 5th Corps artillery), the system was workable. Haig and sir William Bragg, a Nobel laureate after the war, produced instruments capable of determining the location of enemy guns placed at different locations along the front line. etc' (Bill Rawling, 'Surviving Trench Warfare, Technology and the Canadian Corps, 1914-18, U of T Press, 1992, pp 93-94). There was nothing particularly revolutionary about the creeping barrages either, even the effectiveness of them, that was not seen at Verdun for example. In fact Currie went to see the French there on a fact finding mission and learned a few things from their experiences. Canadians did well using the available technology (the notorious 106 fuse, based on a French design, only appeared in British arsenal just before Vimy and was first used at the Arras offensive) but unfortunately one cannot speak of Canadian technological achievements per se.
  31. D Brown from Canada writes: John Deckhardt writes: 'Vimy was when the rest of the world finally realized Canada had grown up, left home and was making its own decisions.' And what was our Consitution and Confederation of 1867? Just some legal niceties? I think people inclined to violence have given events like Vimy, the glory they need to convince new youngsters to volunteer to fight and die for their glorious defense lobbyists and political leaders.
  32. Al B from Toronto, Canada writes: D Brown: 'Meanwhile, Canadians helped developed the stategy of 'Creeping Barrage' and the technology to precisely locate german artillary units. Both of these events were crucial in Canadian victories. Could a national identity be build on technological acheivments, or just in the number of young soldiers we sacrifice?' About counter artillery technology: 'Charles Nordmann, a French gunner who had been an astronmer for the Paris Observatory, appreciated in the autumn of 1914 that a gun's position could be pinpointed by measuring the difference in time required for the report to reach widely placed microphones. He teamed up with Lucien Bull, a French physicist wh fashioned the necessary equipment. By the autumn of 1915 British officers were intrigued by the idea, but it was not until June of the following year that microphones and measuring instruments were developed that could operate under field conditions. By the time McNaughton (Canadian artillery guru) went to see colonel Haig (British 5th Corps artillery), the system was workable. Haig and sir William Bragg, a Nobel laureate after the war, produced instruments capable of determining the location of enemy guns placed at different locations along the front line. etc' (Bill Rawling, 'Surviving Trench Warfare, Technology and the Canadian Corps, 1914-18, U of T Press, 1992, pp 93-94). There was nothing particularly revolutionary about the creeping barrages either, even the effectiveness of them, that was not seen at Verdun for example. In fact Currie went to see the French there on a fact finding mission and learned a few things from their experiences. Canadians did well using the available technology (the notorious 106 fuse, based on a French design, only appeared in British arsenal just before Vimy and was first used at the Arras offensive) but unfortunately one cannot speak of Canadian technological achievements per se.
  33. Al B from Canada writes: sorry about the double posting.
  34. azif uno from Canada writes: Just one more question:

    How many of you will be in Ottawa next Tuesday to join the PM at the ceremony celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms?

    Oh, you haven't heard that there's going to BE such a celebration?

    I guess that's because there isn't one planned. Wouldn't it be appropriate to honor our war dead by celebrating that which they died to make possible? We consistently hear about the sacrifice our war dead made for our freedoms. Apparently those are just platitudes, and empty ones at that. If they were more than platitudes there would be a public ceremony to connect the two in the minds of our citizens. Instead, our war dead provide a prop to support our presence in Afghanistan, and our Charter, the symbol of the freedoms for which (or so we are told) our dead fell made concrete, is at best ignored and at worst subverted.
  35. Karen Johnson from Edmonton, Canada writes: A big part of why the 90th is being given such play is the restoration of the memorial itself. Timing the rededication to the anniversary makes huge sense. All of this was planned under the previous government so attributing some motive to Harper makes no sense.

    We could not wait to restore the monument as it had become unsafe. I truly regret not being able to see the monument (it was wrapped and off limits) on my visit last year. Seeing the coverage is very meaningful to me.
  36. bryan fraser from Canada writes: To those that want to use a forum on a Solemn Event for Politics, Shame On You.
    Who cares if Harper did this or that, This is not the forum for your rants against Aphganistan.
    Many nations became of age on the backs of the young men & women that were willing to put there lives on the line & give the Ultimate Sacrifice.
    This is a Memorial Service & Rededication to those that gave you your freedoms that you enjoy today, I for one am tired of your looney rants. There is a time and a place for you to spout your Rhetoric & This is not it, so move on.
    Iam proud to be a Canadian, Iam proud of my for- fathers & my Family members that served with some giving the Ultimate Sacrifice, I give thanks to all that served.

    We Will Remember Them
  37. Anthony B from Sydney, NS, Canada writes: Paul F. & D Brown: Some thought-provoking comments.

    It will be interesting to see whether today's pageantry and fan-fare create a surge of enlistments in the military.
  38. Popeye Dillon from North Vancouver, Canada writes: There was something special about the Canadians then that seems to be lacking in our country today. There was a swagger in their walk when these frontiersman returned to Europe that neither the British nor Germans could understand. Almost 30% of our troops in WW 1 were British immigrants but those men had changed after a short time in Canada. They were now Canadians. They had obtained freedom in different ways particularly the "Class" structure that had held them back in the old country. At the Somme the British launched an army comprised of shopkeepers, and bank clerks against the German army and failed. At Vimy an army of frontiersman who were used to the rough life attacked the Germans and won. That was the difference between us then. The Germans at the beginning of the war thought the Canadians would attack them like Cowboys and Indians and they feared that. Our reputation as relentless hard fighting soldiers put fear in their hearts. In the last 100 days of the Great War considered to be one of the finest periods in the history of the British army every offensive was lead by the Canadian army. Canadians need to get up to speed on their own history.
  39. D C from Canada writes: Not a word is heard on CNN or Fox news.... instead we turn to the pillars of Canadian media CTV and CBC for this brief shining moment. Of course there are those who will not share this moment of Canadian history, 90 years on, and they should be ashamed.
    The enormity of this moment should touch all but the psychopathic and completely narcissistic and cynical, and we are able to identify them from their words herein.
    "We lived."
  40. Ian McDonald from Toronto, Canada writes: Derek Holtom from Swan River, Canada writes: The tone in the Globe on the weekend, and some comments on this site sicken me. I have never seen our veterans marginalized the way they have been by some posters and some writers at the Globe. Frankly, they disgust me. I agree with you Derek. However, I use to volunteer to help the vets at a legion when they had a party for the them. I heard many interesting tales during those parties. Some of the prouder vets would show disgust at the comments mad by people like JD Wood but would at the same time admit that that is what they went to war for. You cannot protect freedom of speach and at the same time silence ignorant people such as JD.
  41. D C from Canada writes: "...and I will defend their freedom, to the end."

    Our Prime Minister has done us proud.
  42. Yvonne Wackernagel from Woodville, Canada writes: It is time that we honour our dead BUT IT IS TIME THAT WE GIVE MORE HONOUR TO THE ONES STILL ALIVE AND SUFFERING AND WILL SUFFER FOR A VERY LONG TIME. WE DO NOT HEAR ENOUGH ABOUT THEM, JUST THAT THEY ARE WOUNDED! Stephen Harper is just enjoying his time of Power; if it were not this adventure, then it would be hockey, whilst he plays pretend politics. Here is something some one wrote in a paper yesterday: "Stephen Harper promises us guaranteed wait times in five areas and delivers only one. He then declares mission accomplished. No wonder he thinks things are going well in Afghanistan. For Harper it's all about "pretend politics." Pretend to hold a same-sex vote. Pretend to get rid of lobbyists. Pretend to care about climate change. Pretend to create daycare spaces. Pretend to not want an election. When that election arrives, I'm going to pretend to vote for him."
  43. D C from Canada writes: To Wackernagel

    you would prefer your Martin? your Cretin ? please tell us from what twisted morphed sense of impotence you hale that you would speak such polluting words on a day that is a day of grace and remembrances.

    many of us mourn a nation lost. when we do, we're thinking of you and your ilk.
  44. Fred Draper from Kingston, Canada writes: Paul F. from Toronto, Canada writes: Vimy was a 'coming of age' event? Let's get this history right, shall we? In 1914, Canada did NOT have even its own foreign policy at that point.

    Pomposities like Paul F. always miss the point in their efforts to be, well, pompous. No foreign policy before war. Signed Versailles treaty after war. Ergo, TSN turning point and a "coming of age".

    Anyway, Britain did not dictate the magnitude of Canada's war effort. They could have thrown a war and no one showed up. The fact that hundreds of thousands did volunteer, achieved so much, acquired so much respect from friend and foe, and most importantly, came away with a Canadian identity though one Corps, all speak to a "coming of age".

    The fact is, we became quite annoying in our insistence in fighting together as one formation, rather than being distributed piecemeal as reinforcements. Quite full of ourselves, even, like the Americans and unlike the more compliant Australians. This speaks to a Canadian "superiority complex", if anything. Not the inferior colonial mentality which all the experts now claim Canadians had back then.
  45. D C from Canada writes: Sir Walter Scott addresses some posters herein:

    Breathes there the man with soul so dead
    Who never to himself hath said,
    This is my own, my native land!
    Whose heart hath ne'er within him burned,
    As home his footsteps he hath turned
    From wandering on a foreign strand!
    If such there breathe, go, mark him well;
    For him no minstrel raptures swell;
    High though his titles, proud his name,
    Boundless his wealth as wish can claim
    Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
    The wretch, concentred all in self,
    Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
    And, doubly dying, shall go down
    To the vile dust from whence he sprung,
    Unwept, unhonored , and unsung.
  46. Tony . from Waterloo, Canada writes: Those wondering about Harper's comments of Vimy having affirmed our national identity maybe should read up on their history, because this really WAS one of the catalysts that made Canada and independent country.

    Even though we look at Confederation as the birth of Canada, we were still largely under the control of Britain and viewed mainly as still being one of their colonies. When the war started in 1914, Canada was just thrust into the war as part of Britain. But by the end of the war we had grown up and symbolically signed peace treaties as a separate country. In typical Canadian fashion, nothing changed on paper, but we were never again ruled from Britain. So yes, like it or not, World War I, and in particular battles like that of Vimy Ridge, was the de facto point at which Canada ceased to be a British colony and became an independent country.

    azif uno above though does bring up a good point about the 25th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and in fact the whole Constitution Act of 1982 (which, ironically, was when it was finally put on paper that Canada was fully and completely independent). That is something we SHOULD be celebrating and be proud of! The best way to honor the brave soldiers that died at Vimy, in WWII and elsewhere is to celebrate the freedoms they fought so hard to protect.
  47. John Deckhardt from Western Halifax, Canada writes: D Brown wrote:

    And what was our Consitution and Confederation of 1867? Just some legal niceties? I think people inclined to violence have given events like Vimy, the glory they need to convince new youngsters to volunteer to fight and die for their glorious defense lobbyists and political leaders.

    Well D - the British North America Act was passed in England and not Canada - we were still at the whim of the British government at that time. Plus our "Constitution" was not ours until the 80's when Trudeau repatriated it.

    So yes, Vimy was in a real sense a break from Britain and our first steps on our own.
  48. Barton Lincoln Jonesboro, the Second from Canada writes: It is sad that over the years many of our elected government officials did their very best to bury the history of Canada. Remembering our vets and what they did seemed to be a 'no-no'. Schools were no longer teaching about the wars we were engaged in and the heroes who fought for Canada. In a nutshell, the government stunk! Now it appears Stephen Harper is getting the cart back before the horse and hopefully the terrible politicians of the past who did so much to ignore our historical past will soon themselves be part of the past. We don't need the politicians who hate our history.
    Some, if not most, of those poor soldiers now at rest in those far off graveyards would be turning over in their graves if it were possible they saw what happened to Canada - thanks to the useless politicians.

    Barton Lincoln Jonesboro, the Second.
  49. bryan fraser from Canada writes: Yvonne: What does your rant Have to do With Vimy, There is a time and a place, This is not it.
    Do you show signs of Disrespect to our Vets on Rememberance Day Also?
  50. Al Venslovaitis from Mississauga, Canada writes: Azif Uno - You have posted two comments today. The first raised three serious questions, and they were good ones. I believe John Deckhardt answered them all quite well. Your second posting regarding your speculations on the 25th anniversary of the Charter strikes me as off point to some degree. Certainly 25 years or so ago we chose to enact a Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Thereby we took one more step toward a more tolerant, rights-based society. And certainly our ability and freedom to do this is entirely due to the sacrifices our young men have made in the past, and our young men and women remain willing to make in the present. That is why we celebrate and remember events like Vimy. It is there that the sacrifice was made and where the character of our people was made evident. I am the son of an immigrant who came to this country after WW2, primarily due to its reputation for tolerance. My parents had many other choices - Australia, USA, and other places. They came to this country, as my father often told me, because he understood it not only to be free and democratic but also sincerely tolerant of others. To his dying day he took delight in pointing out the many ways in which this proved to be true. This was obviously so long before the Charter. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms should certainly be celebrated, but while there are still men living to connect us with Vimy, I fail to see how the signing of an evolutionary piece of paper can in any way evoke the same emotions.
  51. D Brown from Canada writes: A good comment, Thanks John!
  52. Paul F. from Toronto, Canada writes: bryan fraser: Any event with Harper is far from solemn. This is political calculation pure and simple on his part. You should not let yourself be duped. No one disputes that people should be honored for sacrificing themselves for their country. We have Rememberance Day every year. The question is why we are celebrating a "90th" anniversary. People say this is about restoring the momument. That is a little lame. What especially bothers me is people say WWI was a war over freedoms. That is pure BS. There was only very limited limited democracy at this point. The sufferage was limited. Women couldn't vote in ANY of the major combantant countries. Canada did not choose to join the war. We went to war because Britain said we were in the war. There was no vote in parliament. Canadian youth were sacrificed by the thousands in brutal trench warfare. Why? So Britain and France could take chunks out of the collapsed Ottoman empire and keep their hold on Africa and Asia. You think there was any freedom in the India when Britain controlled it? When asked what he thought of Gandhi, Winston Churchill referred to the Indian leader as "a half-naked fakir" who "ought to be laid, bound hand and foot, at the gates of Delhi and then trampled on by an enormous elephant with the new Viceroy seated on its back." So let us remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, and let's not let their memory be exploited by those who have their own selfish agendas.
  53. Ian McDonald from Toronto, Canada writes: Paul F. from Toronto you seem to have an nager issue you may wish to get looked at. I can see why you are afraid of Harper, you seem to think of him as some omnipotent being. Do you honestly believe he someone tricked the Liberal government into fixing up the Vimy memorial knowing he could use it for his own political gain years after it was set into motion?

    Or is it you just won't let facts enter into your opinions?
  54. Paul F. from Toronto, Canada writes: Fred Draper: Yes, Canada could have decided not to show up, and that is exactly what a lot of people WANTED to do. Of the 30 000 initial Canadian volunteers for WWI, more than 70% were born in Britain, so native born Canadians and Quebecois were not eager to die for the extension of the British Empire. You may recall we did have a conscription crisis in 1917 where people did not support Borden's drive to have young people slaughtered in the trenches of Europe. After thousands had been ground up in the barbaric war, many decided that this wasn't their war. Borden wanted to force conscription on the population.

    It is interesting that it was only when Borden felt he didn't have enough votes to pass conscription into law that he granted the vote to all soldiers and nurses at the front so he could get the seats needed to pass the conscrition law. You see we DIDN'T have universal sufferage at the time, so our "freedoms" hardly existed at that point. Borden's conduct in the war was so popular that his Conservative government was kicked out in the 1921 election and replaced with Laurier's Liberals.

    Pompous is exactly how I would describe Harper's little political stunt.
  55. bryan fraser from Canada writes: PaulF:
    This is a rededication ceremony NOt A POLITICAL event, Harper just happens to be the PM.
    If Martin had won would you be saying the same rants as to politics of a ceremony.
    Yes we have the 11th of Nov, However memorials all across Canada are being redone, thanks to an act of Parliment that has made monies available to communities. I attended a rededication myself a few years back, Did i care that this had been redone Under Mr Cretians goverment, No. These are Act's Of Rememberance, I attended a Juno Beach Ceremony a few years back Martin was the Pm. Did I care, No.
    I was there to pay my respects to those that Fought for Canada, Not make a Political judgement or statemement.
  56. Clem Brown from Metcalfe, On., Canada writes: Thank you P.M. Harper and family. You made all decent Canadians proud today. What a wonderful celebration of the courage and loyalty that our volunteers gave their lives for. This was not a day to commemorate War but to celebrate the beginning of a united Canada. This was indeed a very proud moment. Thank you.
  57. Paul F. from Toronto, Canada writes: To those who doubt this Vimy memorial is little more than a political stunt to bolster Harper's participation in Afghanistan. Here is a quote from Queen Elizabeth II, Canada's unelected head of state: "To their eternal remembrance, to those who have so recently lost their lives in Afghanistan, to Canada and to all who would serve the cause of freedom, I rededicate this magnificently restored memorial."

    Yes, thousands of Canada's youth were slaughtered so that her (unelected) ancestors could lord it over half the earth. At least the Germans, Austrians and the Russians had the sense to get rid of their monarchies following WWI. Too bad we didn't get rid of ours.
  58. Michael Sharp from Tuliporia, Canada writes: JD Wood from Toronto states that National health care defines us as a nation.

    That was Tommy Douglas, who also did his Master's thesis on eugenics.

    Eugenics is the same principle that Hitler used to define his Ayran Nation.
    Tommy believed in the Uber-Canuck.

    Perhaps JD, we should use Vimy over National health care as a defining moment.

    It seems much healthier than defining ourselves as white supremacists.
  59. D C from Canada writes: It is good to know that only the tiniest fraction of Canada's citizens even reads these stupid hateful posts, and a tinier one still writes them.

    The happiest Canadians watched the Vimy RIdge memorial service today unfettered with the pulings of the people like JD and Paul F who desparately need the application of the blue ointment or malathion.

    Today the definition of living in peace and harmony is to eschew news media and flame wars on sites. Highest and best use of computer is to seek out new homes or do your banking and investing..

    I warn everyone who wishes to remain sane...steer clear of here.

    by golly i might just take my own advice... been here, bought the t-shirt.
  60. bryan fraser from Canada writes: Paul: You have every right to disagree, however if you don't like the Monarch then leave go to where there is no Monarch. I don't ever recall there being a reforem. to abolish the Queen. This is Canada, Show some respect for our Veterans who gave the Ultimate Sacrifice & Respect to the families & freinds that lost loved ones on the weekend no matter how much you obviously hate too.
  61. Yours Truly from Canada writes: With all due respect to the WW I soldiers, I believe these innumerable memorials of the two wars appeal to a small minority of Canadians. Every time Peter Mansbridge sports a poppy in June to commemorate D Day he gives me a November chill. I believe as long as celebrations of past wars become more frequent, Canada will become a more war-like nation. It is, however. a powerful minority of Canadians who are into it. These frequent flyers to France and Holland consist of politicians and their associates, military personnel, defense industry contractors and, of course, the corporate media, who never miss covering a parade or any damn event connected to violence.
    My view of WW I was that it was a horrendous, futile, useless bloodbath between one rapacious British Empire and another rapacious German Empire that could nver have happened except for the pride and pomposity of kings and emperors. Democracy had little to do with it, because there was little democracy to start with. To suggest that Germany was ever a threat to Canada is one of those lingering myths that should have been put to rest decades ago.
  62. L P from Canada writes: Good grief. Does everything have to be an excuse to attack the current or previous government? It's the 90th anniversary of Vimy. Probably the last major one we'll celebrate with living veterans of that war. I'm neither here nor there on PM Harper so far, but it's his place to be here, as it would be for whomever the PM happened to be now otherwise. The memory of the battle is meant to be something that unites us as a nation. We ought to put partisanism aside at moments like this, not use them as excuses to float quips about Che Guevera t-shirts or to suggest the current PM is necessarily a war monger or to flog the head-shakingly puerile spelling of a previous one's name as "Cretin". Come on, folks. It's a moment for us all. Save the politics for issues, not events.
  63. D Jarvis from Vancouver, Canada writes: Politics aside .. if you would like to see some photos from the Sunset Ceremony on Saturday night, of Arras during the day Saturday (Market) and Arras on Sunday for the 'opening of the city gates' ceremony, go to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/europe_2007/sets/72157600059473309/

    I hope you enjoy them. For 'Your Truly from Canada' - although a little much, you're right that WWI was horrendous and futile .. however, this should not take away from those whose lives were lost, and as I said before, paying respects is not the same as somehow 'celebrating' or glorifying war.
  64. Rob C from Toranna, Canada writes: John Deckhardt ... nice going dude- couldn't have said it better.

    Yours Truly from Canada .. I agree with your second paragraph. It was a pointless war that Canada got dragged into. But I strongly disagree with your assertion that the poppy is some sort of propaganda item only for arms manufacturers and war mongers. That is incredibly short sighted.

    The wearing of the poppy celebrates the accomplishments and sacrifices of ALL veterans and not just the two World Wars. The proceeds go to help veterans themselves and is not some money making scheme to line the pockets of those selling them.

    I see nothing wrong with remembering and teaching the younger generations about their nation's history. Those who forget their past... well you know the rest.
  65. neil b from edmonton, Canada writes: Somebody has pointed out over the weekend that jd wood always makes the first comment. This person is connected with the g&m or doesn't have much to do during the day. Either way this person is repetitive. This person stands for everything and nothing at the same time. It wants recognition (over here!! look at me!!!)

    These blogs would not take on such a toxic and miserable tone if jd who? wasn't responded to.

    After all this person is setting the tone for most articles as this person always blogs first(?). Those of us who actually are capable of original thought are wasting our time responding to the hatred espoused by it. Hatred becomes stronger when it is recognized or fed energy.
  66. Beaverton Bob from Beaverton, Canada writes: I would go for the poet John McCrae rather than Walter Scott for perspective. We in Beaverton also have the McRae of Days of Yore From Britain's Shore,Wolfe the Conqurering hero Came.
    I doubt if John McCrae was a conservative but Harper can call up the argument of breaking faith with those who die by increasing the number of casualties with whom we break faith and more the necessity of holding the torch high. From Pierre Burton,I got the impression that the Battle of Vimy Ridge was a failure, because Canadian heroism could not be exploited. A creeping barrage is a great invention. I would expect that the deadly slug of molten copper from IED's, using shaped charges is a deadly and an economic innovation used by our Hillier described Scumbag enemies. Has anyone found what Hillier's address to the Canadian Club was about? Support our troops, Bring them home!
  67. James Young from Brantford, Canada writes: This jingosism is getting sickening. Most of the benighted dead had little or no idea that they were being duped.

    I suggest defining Canada by the number of dead is obscene. There are probably more compelling epochal events in Canadian history that define modern Canada.
    Wolfe in 1759.
    Brock in 1812.
    Rebellion in Upper and Lower Canada in 1837
    Reil Rebellion in 1885.
    The Last Spike in 1885.

    Durgan.
  68. Yours Truly from Canada writes: Rob C: You seem to deliberately misinterpret my English. I write Canadian - not British or American. I don't begrudge disabled vets collecting money for poppies. But once a year on Remembrance Day is sufficient. Don't want poppies in my face every month. The profusion of war memorials in recent years is ludicrously American.
    I agree with those who believe Medicare in the 60's and 70's defined Canada's identity. Medicare, our opposition to the Vietnam War, and our resistance to American invasion affirmed our national identity. This summer Canadians ought to commemorate and celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Summer of Love, a time when Canadians - along with people from everywhere - finally asserted our independence from the 19th century British Empire and the 20th Century American Empire.
  69. scribbling mocker from the otherside, Canada writes: Hey Taliban Jack.
    So much for our "tradition of peace keeping" as you put it.
  70. Jack Bauer from Canada writes: YOURS TRULY, they died so you could spout your crap.... however distasteful, oh and by the way your Sauer Kraut free meal tonight was courtesy of the US of A.
  71. pog ma thon from Canada writes: Yours Truly from Canada writes: "Don't want poppies in my face every month. The profusion of war memorials in recent years is ludicrously American." Gee, I hate to see you inconvenienced by poppies in your face as you put it! I guess that the construction of the Vimy memorial in 1936 is also ludicrously recent too, eh?
  72. jack manson from winnipeg mb, Canada writes: Yours truly comment.....I can't believe your philosphy. You are so far out to lunch as to Canada's history and our people that gave up their lives so that you could write your diatribe, it is ludicrous. If you were educated in Canada, I would have to say that our system failed with respect to you . You are not tracking right.
  73. Enzo Campini from Brampton, Canada writes: With Vimy Canada was born. I had no idea. Silly me.

    I guess our views on Vimy all depend on what we think Canada is about: either a little British ex-colony that should be proud of its history as a little ex-colony (this is the Vimy worshipers' view, and depends on a view of what Canada WAS)

    ... OR...

    An independent country with an independent foreign policy and without a monarchy (what Canada SHOULD BECOME).

    Let's stop celebrating what Canada WAS, and look forward to what Canada SHOULD BECOME.

    We should always remember those who suffered through historical events not of our making, and ultimately yearn for a Canada proud and free.

    Long live Canada!
  74. Johann der Kraut from France writes: Another view of Vimy - from other MBs: >>>Yesterday, the National Post's frontpage headline was about Vimy Ridge, and Canada's "march into nationhood". The Toronto Star editorialized about the Vimy celebrations occurring tomorrow, about Prime Minister Harper and others at Vimy: They also will remember a battle that, by some accounts, forged Canada's identity as a nation separate from Great Britain. In a country that shies away from collective displays of patriotism, it has become a welcome and defining part of our national mythology. The basic idea there is that by fighting a battle for the British Empire, Canada forged an identity separate from that empire. http://www.thestar.com/opinion/article/200136 That's unlikely, just as it would today be unlikely that support for the American war in Iraq would be evidence of INDEPENDENCE from the United States. But militarized patriotism contains many other dangers. First, celebration of Vimy tends to celebrate the leaders who sent the soldiers to die there, for no adequate reason. At the very least, celebration of Vimy as a stepping stone to independence absolves Borden of his responsibility for sending those men to death. In Canada, the Battle of Vimy Ridge was used to popularize military conscription, which came into effect two months later. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conscription_Crisis_of_1917 Memorializing battles as national touchstones also necessitates treating foreign soldiers as instruments for our national advance. It defines us positively by reducing "them" to ciphers. I think Canada has many achievements to celebrate, from national healthcare to the Charter of Rights. Our celebrations of Canada should be based on achievements which extend our liberty and the quality of our lives. <<<
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