Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Yes, why don't we say the Pledge of Allegiance in Canadian schools?

"First we lost saying the Lord's Prayer in school, then the Pledge of Allegiance, and now the singing of O Canada..."
So complained the aunt of a student at the centre of the New Brunswick controversy over a primary school principal reducing the daily O Canada ritual to once a month and special occasions. I watched her say it on CBC National tonight.

Good grief, lady, what the fuck country do you think you're living in?
Canadian students don't stand up every morning and put their hands over their hearts and think up new and amusing ways to riff off "My friends are leeches ... in a bag ... "
New Brunswick is still in Canada, isn't it?

CBC National didn't tag the pledge gaffe in their otherwise sympathetic report into the savaging of Erik Millett, the school principal who tried to balance the conflicting demands of three sets of parents. He decided to change the playing of "O Canada" to once a month during assembly instead of piping it into every classroom every morning, rather than single out the students whose parents objected to the anthem by pulling them out of class. Instead he had the student of the pro-anthem parents lead the school in singing it at assembly once a month.
That was back in 2007 and that should have been the end of it.

Instead Millett has been recently pilloried in the media for "banning the national anthem in school", a number of ill-informed Con MPs denounced him in the House of Commons, and he received death threats from local parents who took sides. Death threats.
After being inundated by emails criticizing the principal's decision, the local school superintendent ordered that the anthem be placed back in daily rotation.

Tonight on CBC Millett tearfully recounted how this McCarthyist witch hunt all began when the Con federal minister he ran against as a Green in the election slagged him about his anthem dilemma in a newspaper article.
Millett's in therapy now and doubts he will return to teaching.

Read that quote at the top again.
Then go and help Liberal Arts and Minds figure out how to stop this kind of dangerous right wing jingoistic nonsense in Canada.


Anonymous said...

Well said. I also watched the CBC television report about Erik Millett and reacted much the same way as you.

A question apparently way outside the scope of the CBC's mandate: Why should the "pledge of allegiance" mother be granted such an aura of privilege in this debate about symbols of national pride? She says its because she has a nephew who was killed in Afghanistan, "fighting for our freedom".

The CBC didn't even think of challenging that one! They probably were pleased as punch that they managed to get someone other than Don Cherry or the latest minister of Veterans Affairs to mouth such nonsense on their behalf.

Anonymous said...

Your post is now up at the CBC, giving us the rare privilege of seeing the word 'fuck' on CBC.


West End Bob said...

Having seen the CBC report last night, Alison's post is spot on.

Couldn't find it at the CBC website, though, Anonymous . . . .

Alison said...

Hey Brian / Bob
Did you think Ormiston might have been acting as a somewhat hostile interviewer in order to increase our sympathy for Millett? Because it was a sympathetic report.
I'm thinking of her questions like "Did you think your actions were apropriate given that we are at war?"
I haven't seen enough of her to judge.

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