Queen’s Remembrance Day soapbox - Macleans.ca
 

Queen’s Remembrance Day soapbox

Why pay tribute to war veterans when you can make divisive political statements instead?


 

Today is Remembrance Day, where citizens across the nation pay our respects to the men and women who have served for Canada. Many people wear poppies as silent tribute to the war dead, pause for a minute of silence, and deliver ceremonial addresses in honour of Canada’s veterans. In some areas of the nation, however, these addresses tend to stray just a smidgen from the main point. Yup, just a smidgen. And on to campus . . .

Nick Day, Queen’s University’s student rector who has been elected to represent student views on social and financial matters to the university, delivered his laundry list of political talking points Remembrance Day address this morning at a Queen`s university-wide ceremony. Day began by telling the audience how his grandfather served in the Royal Canadian Air Force, fondly recalling passed-down war memories contained in an old, cracked cigar box. And then, according to the transcript Day posted on his Facebook page, he diverted:

The armies of the developed world have an unprecedented technological ability to create death.

What? Did you miss something? Maybe you were fiddling with your red poppy, you jingoistic, war-glorifier you.

I believe [my grandfather] would have a lot to say about several things that, in today’s fragmented world, are left unsaid. He would certainly speak up about the continuing violence done to the First Nations of Canada, who are plagued by disproportionate poverty, crime and incarceration, poor health, and who are disproportionately also the victims of violent crimes.

Day goes on to lament global inaction during the Rwandan genocide, and the so-called “international silence” on Palestinian human rights. (Understandable—perhaps the glare from someone’s white poppy was blocking out most UN declarations on Palestinian issues from the past several decades.) Day finishes off by with a quick stab at the Israeli Defense Force, exaltation of Romeo Dallaire, and then back to his grandfather.

Remembrance Day is a time to honour and remember the nobility of the principles defended by the brave citizens of Canada who have come before us. To honour those principles today, I think, requires us to recognize and stand against the atrocities committed at home and abroad.

In order to truly honour the sacrifices of those who fought for justice, we are now required to speak about new forms of injustice, perhaps ones that are harder to see, harder to recognize, that punctuate the lives of the many abused people of this planet.

No, Mr. Day. In order to truly honour the sacrifices of those who fought for justice, one has to actually deliver more than a line or two about those who fought for justice.

Unfortunately, crass and opportunistic hijacking of public addresses is becoming somewhat of a theme on university campuses. Last month, University of Winnipeg valedictorian Erin Larson used her convocation address to slam Public Safety Minister Vic Toews. Her divisive political statements came off as ill-timed, to say the least, but Day may have taken the cake with this one.

Divisive political points have no place in a Remembrance Day address. A ceremony intended to honour the memory of war veterans should do exactly that. To deliberately look the other way demonstrates an inordinate lack of gratefulness towards previous generations, something for which I, as a member of this younger generation, am personally ashamed.  Next year, I should hope Day and like-minded individuals wait until the 12th to clear their social consciences.


 

Queen’s Remembrance Day soapbox

  1. I’m sure that he didn’t perceive that anything he said was divisive, but instead that it was just stuff that all concerned Canadians should agree with. And, indeed, even Canadians who support Israel agree that the Palestinians have problems to cope with, and certainly it isn’t controversial that the people of Canada’s First Nations face problems.

    Irrelevancy and politicization are still reasonable complaints, but I can’t be too angry at someone who thinks he is merely taking advantage of an opportunity to touch people’s consciences so that they will try harder to do what is right.

    No doubt he has other political views I might object to, but he did apparently make an effort to avoid anything too contentious in this address, it seems to me.

  2. His random talking points were out of line. At a remembrance day event, you don’t bring up your political laundry list, and you don’t bring up, as the article said, the ability to kill. Yes, soldiers kill people, frequently other soldiers on opposing forces, but that isn’t the point of remembrance day!
    If that was the point, we would have kill counters for each side, and the Angel of Death would be the most fondly remembered person of World War Two.

    Yes, soldiers fight and die. It is the sacrifice they gave of themselves that we remember, and for that the politics should stay out of the memories of our fallen, and surviving heroes.

  3. “Unfortunately, crass and opportunistic hijacking of public addresses is becoming somewhat of a theme on university campuses.”

    This is why remembrance day isn’t for politics. I don’t care about political messages.
    I went there for the ceremony and for my grandfather, not to listen to someone rant.

  4. Three cheers for Nick Day, and big thumbs down to Robyn Urback. Day managed to say something thoughtful and meaningful to honour vets by connecting their fight for justice to fights for justice today. Urback probably would have preferred plain old rah-rah support-the-troops drivel, the kind that equates the war in Afghanistan to WWII and pumps everyone up for some more killin’. (This is the real politicizing of Remembrance Day that goes on, but most are not as courageous as Nick and willing to steer it in another direction.) Remembrance Day should honour those that fought and not be afraid to talk about what is worth fighting for.

  5. War IS Murder.

    There has NEVER been a “just War”. NOT even World War Two.

    Those that are “poo-pooing” the young man are spitting in the faces of those so-called heros, as I keep being told that these poor souls were sent to murder others in order to protect my “rights”; including free speech.

  6. A Remembrance ceremony is very much a brief assurance to veterans that their nation respects them and honours their sacrifice. It is not a time for them to be lectured by someone of scant achievement.

  7. Well, depending on your philosophy, there is and there is not.
    Is defending yourself “Just”?
    Is defending your civilization “Just”?

    Those “poo-pooing” Nick want the politics out of it. Free speech is
    110% ok, what we are saying is he should have chosen to NOT bring up other political and polarizing events.

    The article never said “Silence the heritic!”, it merely pointed out how it could have been done better.

    Honouring veterans does not mean we need MORE veterans. I’m sure they would not mind if they were the last combat veterans on earth.

  8. If Remembrance Day is a day to remember the sacrifice in death of our soldiers who fought for freedom and justice, then we owe it to the memory of those soldiers not merely to stand silently for a minute each year, but to actually talk about and fight for freedom and justice ourselves. To ignore suffering and war around the world because it is an uncomfortable topic dishonours the sacrifice made by our soldiers. Remembrance Day is the day we should remember and also the day we should think about what we should be doing to prevent more war deaths.

  9. His Remembrance Day speech was appalling. This is not the time to bring up his personal opinions on incredibly controversial topics. His job was to honor the veterans and help commemorate the day that celebrates nationalism. (Considering that Stephen Harper has recently made a speech Pro-Israel, Day’s sentiments are rather anti-nationalist since that’s not what our troops are fighting for.)

    I’m rather ashamed to be a Queen’s students after this address.

  10. A new low for Queen’s. This guy should resign to save his school the embarrassment.

  11. I feel like Robyn Urback may need to open up a dictionary and find the word “divisive”. Day’s statements weren’t contentious, they were a recognition of practically universally recognized issues. The atrocities of the Rwandan genocide and the suffering of Palestinians are not contentious poltiical stances, they are statements of fact. These things are happening in our world, and it is a disservice to the memory of our war vets that we stand by silently and let this violence occur. Rememberance Day is an occassion to be grateful for the sacrifices that they made to fight for justice. To not uphold this justice is to freely surrender all that they fought for. Nick Day’s speech got to the heart of what Rememberance Day should be about. The brave men and women who fought not only lost their lives, but lost their lives for a reason. Annually remembering their sacrifices is a hollow gesture when we live the rest of our lives throwing away their accomplishments.

  12. I was at the ceremony and while I at the time I thought to myself some must surely find this a little controversial I personally thought it was a really novel and interesting perspective.

    If I recall properly Nick talked about the complexity of a “moral” war and I believe he mentioned that while maybe the reasons for a war may be unjustified, those involved on the ground are generally doing it for the right reasons in that they believe they’re doing right.
    The speech wasn’t just about remembering those who have died but paying their memories tribute and going forth to serve justice to all the oppressed peoples of the world.

    I really enjoyed Nick’s speech and thought it brought some fresh perspective.

  13. Aside from the opportunistic airing of Nick Day’s political agenda I took Issue with several of the conclusions drawn throughout his speech. The whole document can be found here

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/258629/Rector%20Remembrance%20Day.pdf

    so you can see what I’m talking about.

    1) How is Kissinger, an American diplomat, in any way relevant to honoring the sacrifice of Canadian veterans? Furthermore, on a factual note, Kissinger won his Nobel Peace Prize for brokering the talks that concluded the Vietnam war. I would challenge anyone to find that implication in Nick’s speech.

    2) I would submit that his quote from the “Israeli Central Command” is false. I would challenge him to verify that. Once again is it’s inclusion relevant or balanced? no. So how anyone can justify Nick describing

    “when our forces encounter civilians during the war or in a raid, the encountered civilians may, and even must, be killed. Under no circumstances should an Arab be trusted, even if he gives the impression of being civilized”

    as an official Israeli policy is beyond me. It’s also beyond me how this again, relates to our Canadian soldiers with whom I am attempting to show solidarity and respect.

    I was frankly disgusted by Nicks choice of timing, his factual inaccuracies, faulty conclusions, and use of the English language (you don’t start a sentence with however,) and I am happy this is getting national media attention.

  14. Since when must Remembrance Day ceremonies be purged of any moral content? Nick Day challenged his audience to continue the fight for justice, rather than passively appreciating that it has been done by others in the past. He is shouting into a void, it seems, as many people don’t like to be told that they may be complicit in current wrongdoings, and would rather glorify the martyrs of the past.

  15. Well, let’s be clear. Nick Day made stuff up and substituted racist stereotyping for actually-existing reality. There’s nothing honourable there.

  16. This day is not about celebrating war. It’s not about passively accepting violence either. It’s quite simple and I’m afraid that people still don’t get it. Remembrance Day is just that exactly, to remember our veterans. Whether you are pro-war or anti-war; it’s irrelevant. Many of our veterans had no choice but to go to war, so it’s not as if one is glorifying war by honouring them.

    Nick Day really exercised some poor judgment. I disagree with some of the above posts, he did raise contentious points. When you selectively pick issues to discuss (First Nations, the IDF) and omit discussion other serious issue that people just don’t seem to care about as much in general (Human rights in Asia, for example), you are going to be seen as controversial. No matter what cause he adopted, it’s controversial. That’s just the way it is. So why can’t we avoid controversy for one day and just remember? Why is that so hard?

    (Blah blah free speech, I know, he has the right to say it. But he shouldn’t have.)

    • I totally agree, and thank you for bringing it up! Whatever your political stance, Remembrance Day is not the time to bring it up. It is a day put aside to honour the dead- whatever your stance on war, or your feelings towards those who have fallen, you should at least allow others to pay their respects on a day that meant to honour soldiers, instead of bombarding them with controversial, selective political conflicts.

      Also agree with the “(Blah blah free speech..” ! He should share his oppinion of course, but not when he is obviously in a setting where he is clearly representing the Queen’s community.

  17. According to Veterans Affairs Canada, the purpose of November 11th is “Remembrance for the men and women who have served, and continue to serve our country during times of war, conflict and peace”. By making comments such as “today, the line between might and right are thinner”, emphasizing civilian casualties in developing countries, and mentioning that bombs may raze developing countries without “any risk to the person at the controls”, this speech honors civilians in developing countries over Canadian soldiers serving in our military today.
    While listening to this speech this morning, I was ashamed to be a Queen’s student while many brave young men and women are training to serve at officers across the causeway at Royal Military College. They, and all others who have served or continue to serve in our armed forces are the ones to be remembered on November 11th. Certainly, Nick Day’s personal political opinions should not have been the centerfold of a university-wide Remembrance Day service.

  18. I think the fact that Nick Day is being in any way ostracized for his comments points to how close-minded a society Canadians have become. He said nothing that was not true. Irrespective of what one believes, the problems in Rwanda, Palestine etc are facts and if you refuse to see them that way, you’re just being a coward.
    Remembrance Day has never been an apolitical day, it is about war, politics and the soldiers who have fought, and in some cases died, for our freedom. It is used in all Canadian National Ceremonies to enlist more people in their causes and about the glory of war!
    He was completely right in saying what he did and if you don’t think so, open your mind s’il vous-plait!

  19. You dun f**cked up

  20. Hey Ryan,

    If you’re going to hate on someone’s grammar, you should probably use the proper “its” in your rant.

    Just sayin’.

  21. Well, he’s officially in trouble from the student government.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJ2NYpz399w

    A motion put forward by a student at large, Craig Draeger, passed 14 to 10 (11 abstained).
    It isn’t a “You’re out!” but it isn’t a “You did well”.

  22. Simply stated, this is one of the most poorly written speeches I have ever read. It seems as though he sat down and wrote out a few things that he believes to be injustices in the world and then surrounded it with speculative nonsense about what his grandfather ‘perhaps’ might think. It has absolutely no flow and it ends even more awkwardly than it begins.

    While a lasting legacy of these wars should be that we do all in our power to prevent atrocities like these occuring in the future, Nick Day would rather have you take a divisive stance on things like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict than one of diplomacy. If he wanted to speak about preventing atrocities in the future, he would have offered up some ways we could focus our energies in order to affect postive change. Instead all he has to offer are factual inaccuracies that do not in anyway tie together for a strong finish.

    As the Rector of the University, Nick is supposed to represent the Queen’s student body as a whole. Rather than taking the opportunity to speak on behalf of Queen’s students in gratitude for the great sacrifices made by our nation’s finest, he took this opportunity to assert his very divisive political views. There is something to be said of what our responsibility is as Canadians going into the future, it is clear though that Nick was incapable of putting that together a consice, positive and respectful manner representative of the student body.

    I encourage students to spend next years Remembrance Day at the Cross of Sacrifice (King and Barrie by KGH) with the members of our Armed Forces and Kingston familes. It was a much more tasteful ceremony.

  23. On the night of November 11th, AMS Assembly (the highest student legislative body at Queen’s) voted to censure Rector Nick Day for his speech. For coverage of the debate, as well as the final motion that was carried, visit http://www.queenstv.ca

    Best,
    Dan Szczepanek
    Queen’s TV

  24. perhaps he was smoking what was in that Cigar box of his grandfathers! “My Grandfather would” nonsense.

    Poor taste Nick.

  25. I would like to thank Nick for his well-crafted speech and express my disappointment over its censure by Queen’s AMS Assembly (the vote was 14 in support censure-10 voters abstained-10 opposed to censure). It is refreshing to see a student leader actually step up and say something meaningful on a public platform and in the name of anti-oppression. Nick has done more to honour his grandfather and the thousands of fallen soldiers than any apolitical “we remember” speech ever could have. He firmly situated Remembrance Day in a globalized context of continued oppression of the most world’s most vulnerable people. Remembrance Day would be truly great if it compelled a few days worth of contemplation and reflection instead of a singular moment of silence. Any respects we pay to our veterans’ sacrifices and struggles for freedom will carry all the more meaning if rightfully connected to the resolution of present-day conflicts and inequalities. Nick’s speech encourages us to carefully consider the principles underpinning our World Wars, the reasons for battle so to speak. His grandfather and so many other soldiers sacrificed their lives in defense of freedom and opposition to social injustices and genocide. How could these sacrifices not be more readily to present-day conflicts, in which human rights abuses and grave injustices are committed by powerful oppressors towards vulnerable populations? To remove our honoured Canadian soliders from these broader issues is to neglect the globalized face of oppression and thus their reason for fighting. People like Nick say these things because they want to address inequality and oppression on home and foreign soil. This is a long-term process that is very much connected to his grandfather’s sacrifices in the world wars. It is a process that requires the masses (that’s you!) to wake up and acknowledge that the struggle for freedom is ongoing and newly configured in transnational spaces. Nick was trying to honour the fallen by waking you all up to reality instead of letting you sleep in moments of sheltered silence.

  26. Deanie boy wrote:
    “War IS Murder.
    There has NEVER been a “just War”. NOT even World War Two

    How would he have stopped Hitler and the Nazis???

  27. I’m inclined to agree with Rebecca about the focus of Nick’s speech. I don’t think anyone is arguing against human rights here, but I certainly take issue with his unbalanced portrayal and ill timing in drawing attention to what he believes are important political issues. I believe emphasis at these kinds of events should be placed on the actions of our soldiers and veterans, an easily acceptable focus regardless of whether you agree with the conflicts they’re engaged in or not.

    @ Finally

    1. You noticed I used my real name, you should too.
    2. “He said nothing that was not true.” – Yes he did. The Kissinger implication is faulty and irrelevant. The IDF quote is fabricated and portrays an unbalanced picture. I would also welcome anyone who rallies on about civilian casualties in war to wikipedia Dresden or Hiroshima.
    3. I have an open mind, but I also clearly have more tact than Nick Day.

    @ Corey

    Very well put. This was a poorly crafted rant with no positive alternatives presented. Based on the structure of what I see I’m actually shocked this guy is a grad student. Speaking of grad students…

    @Lauren McNicol

    1. Appreciate the use of the real name – kudos.
    2. So if I’m going to buy your “globalized situation” point about Nick’s speech, I would need you to explain to me how Pinochet and Kissinger are relevant to Canada and somehow an area where I as a Canadian can affect change. I would then need you to do the same for the Israeli Palestinian conflict, explain to me how this is relevant to Canadian soldiers, and then I would need you to probably produce a unicorn because I don’t think either of those things will happen.
    3. So here is I think the most relevant thing your trying to say – carefully consider the principals underpinning the World Wars. Now I’m close to agreeing with you on this point, however, I think what you’re forgetting here is that Canadian soldiers don’t exactly have a say in who/when/where/why they fight anything. That would fall to our government and elected officials. So if you’d like to make a point about our military supporting oppressed peoples, you’re doing this on the wrong day to the wrong people. The nature of the conflicts we’re engaged in is up to the electorate and you certainly don’t tangle with the electorate over political issues on a day primarily focused on the blank cheque our Veterans have written to Canadian society. That’s disrespectful.

    @Cierra

    You got me. I would, however, welcome anyone to try and engage me on something more substantial, like, for example, that IDF quote from the “central command.”

  28. The horrible quote he used was said by rabbi abraham avidan of the IDF central command, however it was not an official statement of the Israeli central command. The quote was made during The yom kippur war when Israel was attacked by neighboring countries. The full quote reads:

    “when our forces encounter civilians during the war or in the course of a pursuit or a raid, the encountered civilians may, and by halachic standards even must be killed, whenever it cannot be ascertained that they are incapable of hitting us back. Under no circumstances should an Arab be trusted even if he gives the impression of being civilized.”

    Mr. Day’s version read:

    “when our forces encounter civilians during the war or in a raid, the encountered civilians may,
    and even must, be killed. Under no circumstances should an Arab be trusted, even if he gives the
    impression of being civilized”

    He made specific cuts to the quotation, leaving out the part about killing them only if we cant be sure that they wont kill us and that under these circumstances it would be acceptable by halachic standards (jewish religious law). The rabbi’s justification of this is dubious.

    Quote can be verified using pro-palestinian sources:
    http://books.google.ca/books?id=Pa89AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA91&lpg=PA91&dq=rabbi+abraham+avidan&source=bl&ots=x2wTSYCAb_&sig=QIhvi5-bFQP9loIsXqohBr0iMl4&hl=en&ei=HXHdTJr4CoycnAe8wuyWDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CCgQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q&f=false
    PG 91

    and

    http://books.google.ca/books?id=ghf_OBksgykC&pg=PA89&lpg=PA89&dq=“when+our+forces+encounter+civilians&source=bl&ots=SPrD_q7oac&sig=TVskgBfeaECuuNqySJfYnyY09Rk&hl=en&ei=yW_dTI6_BoXange587ijDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CCMQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=“when%20our%20forces%20encounter%20civilians&f=false
    PG 89

    So he used a statement of a fringe rabbi in the military to pass it off as the view of all israeli command, in a disgusting abuse of his power as rector. The quote was garbage as was the discussion of israel-palestinian issues in this context

  29. I googled that quote. It seems to appear in numerous books, so I don’t really doubt it’s true. That being said, in the book by Edward Said (a professor at Columbia), the context is explained – it was in a pamphlet issued by the army, written by the General Yona Efrati and the Central Command’s rabbi. The pamphlet was distributed in 1974 apparently, though. So its relevance today is questionable.

  30. Day needs to think a little harder before he opens his mouth. His grandfather was likely alive an well during the residential school program in Canada and I’m pretty sure he didn’t “stand up” for any aboriginals for that injustice. Instead, he went to war for his own kind. Still an admirable sacrifice in my opinion, but let’s not muddy the memory of his service with the kind of warm/fuzzy revisionist history that our rector seems to be a fan of.

    He cites genocide as a motivation for WWII, but in truth, axis aggression was the sole reason for fighting as it was known then. Perhaps we’re not all students of history, but back in the 1930s and 1940s, jewish people were not favourites of the allied nations either. Even if the holocaust had been widely known about, convincing the US and the other allied nations to commit to a bitter, total, no-holds-barred war to save the Jews would have been a pretty hard sell to the majority of the (christian) voting public. The genocide aspect was largely learned of in retrospect and tacked on as a convenient moral bonus to look back on.

    Now don’t get me wrong; I think fighting WWII was necessary for the allied nations knowing only what they did then. Fascist aggression was a clear threat to our way of life and needed to be stopped. It is but a fortunate coincidence that allied action stopped the Jewish holocaust before it went further. That’s cold, but it is a fact. I invite Hillel to correct me if they think I’m wrong.

    If Day really wants to start honouring his grandfather, he needs to understand the military for the necessary beast that it is. Justice is not its primary function. Justice is for the courts and our elected representatives to deal with. Anyone who thinks that military action can be equated to justice has never been on, or properly thought about, the field of battle. The job of the military is to be ready to dispense deadly force at the command of our society. The extent to which justice/injustice is contained within that deadly force is purely coincidental and defined by one’s point of view.

    Let’s assume we live in a world where we cannot control the actions of other nations, resources are scarce and may be obtained through force. A strong defensive military built of people willing to sacrifice themselves for the good of our society is required to prevent the logical outcome of the game theory that would occur in their absence.

    Remembrance day, for me, is where we show appreciation for the people who have laid down their lives for what is otherwise a remarkably thankless task. If we are to be honest with ourselves and not try to claim some kind of moral high ground, the fact that the armed forces prepare for/conduct violence against their fellow man and die at our beck and call is reason enough to respect their sacrifice.

    When injustice occurs at home or abroad, we should hold governments and individuals to account; there is no need to bring the memory of fallen soldiers into the mix. To do so perpetuates the myth that the soldiers serve a higher cause (largely meaningless interjections of freedom! justice! liberty!) than they actually do. This obfuscates their simple, but total service to our society; which should be enough for us to remember and thank them.

  31. Yeah, Remembrance Day is not about politics which is why Harper chose to use the day to announce the extension of our presence in Afghanistan – without a parliamentary vote. Just like WW1 was not about politics, or the Armistice not being about politics, or WW2 not being about politics.

    Anyone who thinks Remembrance Day hasn’t politicized already – by a pro-war government and its media cheerleaders (Blatchford and co.) – need to scrub the stink of hypocrisy and denial off themselves and admit the truth: that Remembrance Day has been mobilized in recent years to implicitly and explicitly build public support for the war in Afghanistan.

    Bravo Nick Day for your speech. It was a perfect time to raise these issues about justice and injustice and its relationship to war. Democracy is messy and hurts some people’s feelings, and what better way than celebrate democracy and the role of soldiers in defending it than to exercise it.

  32. “Divisive political points have no place in a Remembrance Day address”

    What is sad, Urback, is your uncritical analysis of the either the military or Day’s speech. Your article highlights the most incredible and insightful parts of Day’s speech–only further detracting from your idea that politics should remain out of Remembrance Day services. (To suggest an apolitical position is an impossibility– any undergraduate critical theory class will show you this). The fact is he was asked to give his thoughts on Remembrance Day. He did. I guess I forgot that for Conservatives the rule is: Free Speech as long you don’t disagree with me.
    Shame on MacLean’s for having such an uncritical lense in this day and age.

  33. Basically, Nick Day is saying, “what are you doing to with your freedom?”

  34. Hopefully this spoiled little Queens turd will have to get a real job 1 day and forgive the perceived unPC sins of his ancestors for saving his sorry ass from communism and facism. Bur I doubt it. He sounds like a prime candidate for an unproductive lifetime job mooching in selfabsorbed academia.

  35. Relax Jazbo, 7am is too early to be dropping a pantload. Get your coffee and calm the … down.

  36. It’s 10:14 now and I still feel the same about this smug little nobody :-)

  37. “Those that are “poo-pooing” the young man are spitting in the faces of those so-called heros, as I keep being told that these poor souls were sent to murder others in order to protect my “rights”; including free speech.”

    well… unfortunately, as Ann Coulter’s visit to Ottawa U proved to us, Canada doesn’t REALLY have ‘freedom of speech’ per-say. It’s more like, freedom of speech if it doesn’t ‘upset’ anyone…

  38. When did Maclean’s start hiring sixth grade students to write their articles? Thank you Maclean’s for lowering your standards once again. Every time you connect Remembrance Day to Canadian nationalism, you are being political. Every time you justify the wars of today with the sacrifice of yesteryear, you are being political. Urback, either grow up or get out, we need quality journalism not this rubbish.

  39. Huh? Remembrance Day intrinsically has something to do with Canadian patriotism because, uh, it’s a Canadian “holiday”. How dare we connect Remembrance Day with Canadian nationalism!

    Where in the article does the writer say that she (or anyone) is justifying the wars of today with the sacrifices of yesteryear? I don’t think that Maclean’s has sixth graders writing, it’s more likely that Maclean’s has fifth graders reading.

  40. Shane, you obviously did not understand what I was saying. If you were at the Remembrance Day ceremony held in Grant Hall, heard Nick Day’s speech and then later read this atrocious excuse of journalism then you would understand.

  41. Was the writer even there? Her facts don’t seem to have been checked very well and her analysis is pretty simplistic. When this post was brought to my attention I felt I had to check…wow! What a shcok to see Macleans is now being written by undergrads trying to make a name for themselves! I know not to bother with with this tripe anymore.

    While I’m here though I’ll just add a short reflection: the talk was provocative but not disrespectful or political in a partisan sense. It was political in the sense that life is political. Day made the point that our values are reflected in political action and he challellenged us to honour those who went before by defending the values for which they fought. He presented examples of the murkiness of today’s evils, noting that we are often complicit in injustice and that we must act to eliminate injustice…his examples included our allies and ourselves.
    It is fine to say wear a poppy, bow your head, and observe two minutes of silence once a year—there you’re done–respectful remembrance CHECK. Mr. Day simply asked us to think about and then act on the values for which our brave men and women fought. How much more respect and remembrance is demonstrated in the daily consideration of how our voices and actions can contribute to ensuring that those values are carried through the world?

    So yes, it was provocative. I was moved by his address and I believe that by linking past sacrifice to present responsibilities, Mr. Day created a visceral link, and has much to promote Remembrance and respect.

  42. “Her facts don’t seem to have been checked very well and her analysis is pretty simplistic.”
    What?!
    You just made the statement then did nothing to back it up. Every single one of her facts, from someone who was in the audience, was true.
    Mr Day wasn’t asking us to link past to future, he was basically saying “Oh, and while I have your attention…”

    Good on the AMS

  43. Just so everyone is aware, the quote that Mr. Day used in regards to Isreal was taken from Haolom Hazeb May 15th, 1974. So before you accuse someone else of using misleading facts, make sure you have the right facts…

  44. Chris R apparently wasn’t listening…doesn’t anyone find it odd that so many people actually “got” the point of the address, while others continue to undermine the message by steadfastly insisting that the address was political.
    You say her facts were true because you were there. I was there too. Essential parts of the address were ommitted from the article. I note that all of the posts against the address are simplistic and as unanalytic as this article. A pretty sorry state for higher education.

    I have now read a few more posts by this Ann Coulter wanna-be. Her writing is grammatically correct and she has a reasonable vocabulary. However, her style is trite and her usage is hackneyed. No doubt, she thinks her writing is edgy and insightful…yeah, right.

  45. Pingback: Queen’s Remembrance Day soapbox | Robyn Urback

  46. Pingback: TRUTH in Context » Blog Archive » Students vote in favour of removing Queen’s rector

  47. Mr. Day does not speak for long dead veterans though he clothes himself in their sacrifice to give himself and his personal political ideas a borrowed moral authority. Since permission has not been given, it’s actually “stolen” moral authority, making it an oxymoron. He probably doesn’t even speak for his grandfather if that gentleman is typical of other vets who still speak for themselves through their own organizations. Mr. Day is a raving socialist as can be ascertained by his portraying two pet groups as passive victims with permanent lack of accountability for their own actions. For example natives are described as “disproportionately…the victims of violent crimes”. Natives are also disproportionately the perpetrators of those crimes. It is natives’ tribalism with inordinate power for their leaders over the rank and file and federal socialist nannying that enables this archaic system where individuals are powerless over their own lives that has resulted in degradation into squalor, crime and suicide. This is always the result when people lose all self respect because they are being ordered about and “kept” by others. For a socialist to decry the results of what his own hand has helped to wreak is moral blindness. Similarly, what the Palestinians themselves DO is left out of Mr. Day’s equation, as though they are not actors in their own problems. This kind of socialist sympathy without any demand for accountability is “permissive parenting” and is poisonous to those infantilized. No military can save a people from their own tribalism and the resultant civil wars and self-degradation as western intervention in countless morasses around the world attest. There has to be evolution to what works, and tribalism and socialism do not work without subsidies or confiscation from free market domains. Even with constant financial transfusions, they have unhealthy effects on those “helped”. Those who do not get the exercise and self respect of catching their own fish curl up and die eventually from being dependent on donated or confiscated fish.

    The Mr. Days of this world don’t take their views into the marketplace of ideas or a fair debate where they’d have to defend them with facts, not emoting. Instead, they climb onto various soapboxes, preferably ones where the audience is captive, trapped by their own manners into listening to one-sided diatribes. Mr. Day obviously didn’t inform voters when he was running for Rector that he planned on presenting only the socialist world view on every occasion no matter how inappropriate. This is borne out by the recent vote to impeach him for his letter to Mr. Ignatieff defending Israeli Apartheid Day while claiming to speak for the Queen’s student body.