Despite being a Canadian going back fourteen generations to 1587, Sea Shepherd captain and anti-whaling activist Paul Watson can no longer enter Canada because Stephen Harper took away his passport to placate Japanese whalers.
I am a Canadian.
Je suis Canadien.
I don't often take sides politically because for the most part political parties everywhere are pretty much all the same when it comes to environmental and conservation issues. Of course many of you will disagree but that's my opinion from a biocentric perspective.
But in Canada's case it is very personal.
I don’t have a Canadian passport.
Because Stephen Harper took it away from me.
Is it because I’m wanted for a crime in Canada or did I commit a crime in Canada?
There is no Canadian warrant for me in Canada.
Stephen Harper took away my Canadian passport because Japan asked him to take it away.
Because we opposed illegal Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean, a whaling operation that has been condemned as illegal by the International Court of Justice.
Stephen Harper decided that supporting illegal Japanese whaling was more important than defending the rights of one of his own citizens.
Now, this would have caused me some very serious problems if not for one important consideration.
I hold two passports.
I am both a citizen of Canada, where I was born, as well as a naturalized American citizen.The United States allows me to keep my passport and to travel and live in the United States.
I can still travel because I have the benefit of U.S. citizenship.
But I can't go to Canada.
Without a Canadian passport I am not allowed to enter Canada because dual citizens may not enter the country with the passport of their alternative citizenship.
I was born in Toronto in 1950. My mother was born in Toronto in 1930. My father was born in Atholville, New Brunswick in 1928.
My father served in the Korean War as an Army cook and a Sergeant. (The Blackwatch) His father served in World War I in the infantry. My great uncle whom I am named after, served in the Canadian Navy during World War II. He died from his war injuries.
My mother’s father served in the Canadian Army as an officer in the Boer War in South Africa.I served in the Canadian Coast Guard between 1969 and 1974.
My great grandfather was born in Prince Edward Island. His father, my great great grandfather was born in Nova Scotia.
My father’s family came from Brittany, France on my Acadian side in 1587, first to St. Pierre Miquelon then onto Acadia. On the Scottish side, the first one to arrive was a soldier under the command of General James Wolfe in 1759. He married a French woman and that is why today on my father’s side Watson is the only Anglo name in a huge clan of Canadian relatives bearing the names Maillet, Boudreau, Babineau, Dorion and Arsenault.
My mother’s father was born in Copenhagen, but her mother, my grandmother was born in Ontario. Her parents were from Louisville, Kentucky. They emigrated to Canada in 1908 from California, after her older brother was killed in the San Francisco earthquake when he was 6. My roots go back at least to 1850 in the USA.
Today, I have family, uncles, aunts, cousins, brothers and sisters in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. Also in New York, Washington, and South Carolina. I have no relatives that I’m aware of in Europe.
I am saying this to demonstrate that as a Canadian going back fourteen generations to 1587 I feel I am qualified to express my opinion on the current state of political affairs in Canada.
Bill C-51 makes the Patriot Act looks fascistically shallow by comparison.
My family did not fight in five wars for Canada (Quebec 1759, Boer War, WW I, WWI and Korea) so that an authoritarian leader like Stephen Harper could convert our democracy into a police state for the benefit of the resource extraction companies.
There is no Islamic threat to Canada. There never has been. C-51 has been designed to oppose environmentalists and First Nations and to benefit the interests of corporations both domestic and foreign.
Canada has absolutely no business sending men and women off to Afghanistan. They are not being sent to defend freedom. They are being sent to defend corporate profits.
The next Canadian Federal Election is in October and if Canadians are to have a secure and free future the Conservative Party under Stephen Harper must be ousted. And the Liberals under Justin Trudeau are not the answer. Canada has been led down the smelly path to corporate whoredom by both the Liberals and the Conservatives.
My answer was that it was because it was a part of our history, to which they asked me how long I had been a member of the FLQ to which I responded that I did not speak French so I would not even be accepted into the FLQ, even if I wanted to join. To which they replied, that I should prove that I could not speak French, at which point I said they were being ridiculous and we were in Vancouver and a few thousand miles from Quebec and to stop being so mindlessly silly.
They finally let me go. That was in 1971, the year that I reckon that Canada began to slide down the slippery slope to corporate control.
C-51 has negated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
We now have freedom of speech until we open our mouth. Harper now has a right to revoke citizenship without explanation something that he already effectively did with me.
The only parties that opposed C-51 it were the Green Party and the New Democratic Party.
And thus these are the only two parties that any freedom loving Canadian can vote for in good conscience.
Last month the NDP threw out the Alberta Conservatives who have been in power in Alberta since 1972.
Albertans had enough. Canadians have had enough.
I can’t go to Canada but I do intend to vote through my Embassy here in Paris and I will be voting for the NDP.
You see Harper can keep me as a Canadian out of Canada but he can’t take Canada away from me.
I swam with beavers as a child. I’ve trudged in snow shows at 49 below in the Peace River Valley to protect wolves. I led eight campaigns to the ice floes to defend harp seals. I drove the Spanish trawlers off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland in 1993. My greatest honour was receiving a shirt and a flag from the Mohawks and being received at their campfire in their longhouse in Kahnawake. I’ve canoed down the Fraser River and swam across the Georgia Strait in 1982. I supplied lighthouses on Vancouver Island and served on the Rescue hovercraft at Vancouver Airport. I’ve swum with Orcas in the Strait of Bella Bella. I helped build the seawall at Stanley Park. I worked at Expo 67 in Montreal and hitchhiked across the country 14 times and rode the rails across six times. I shook hands with John Diefenbaker as a child and Farley Mowat, Robert Hunter, Elizabeth May and David Suzuki have all been close friends. I co-founded Greenpeace in Vancouver in 1972 and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society also in Vancouver in 1977. I attended Simon Fraser University and High School in London and Markham, Ontario. I planted trees in British Columbia. I am an honourary citizen of St Anne du Belleville, Quebec. I have publicly debated former Newfoundland Premiers Tobin and Peckford and former Speaker of the House John Fraser. I ran for Parliment twice for the Green Party and ran for the office of Mayor of Vancouver. My daughter was born in Vancouver and I’ve read everything Leacock, Mowat, Burton, Atwood, Grey Owl and Richler ever wrote. My favorite music is Tyson, McKennitt, St. Marie, Lightfoot, and Stan Rogers. My favorite poets are Robert Service and Leonard Cohen. OK, I hate hockey, although I played it as a kid, but I love maple syrup on snow, steamed fiddleheads, habitat pea soup and dulse.
In other words, I’m just as much a Canadian as that sanctimonious petro-ass kissing corrupt, scofflaw, smug, on-the-take, holier than thou, climate change denying embarrassment of a Prime Minister who needs to be kicked out of Ottawa on his dictatorial pseudo-Tory ass come October.
It’s not only time for a change it's essential that there be a change and it’s time for us to return Canada to what we once were – a freedom loving, peace loving, beautifully wild nation – and what we need to be, a nation rich with First Nation heritage, true conservatives as in nature conservationists, instead of pseudo-conservative eco-terrorist right wing radicals, hell bent on selling the nation out to corporate marauders.
As a writer, I just donated my entire annual Canadian Public Lending Rights cheque to the NDP and come October they will have my vote.
Hopefully, someday, I will be able to return home to a nation that has not been enslaved to the oil companies, where I will be free to speak, to a place where I can once again proudly call myself a Canadian.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License
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