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Story appreciated

The Editor: Re: Alma Barkman's Prairie Messenger story of June 29, "Rising to the challenge to sing despite our losses." What a touching metaphor of life and loss in both human and avian form. May she always have a robin nest near her kitchen window in the spring. — Claral Fouillard, Kamloops, B.C.


Slick campaign in U.K. leads to vote for ‘sovereignty’

The Editor: On June 23, 51.9 per cent of the voters in the United Kingdom — mostly in England — voted to leave the European Union (EU).

As titillating as the superficial coverage of the ramifications of this vote is, important questions are not being asked — much less answered.

I was in the Republic of Ireland and England for most of May.

In England, “Leave” ran a slick, hard-hitting campaign that manipulated the legitimate fear and anger of people for whom the current world order is not working — using lies, xenophobia and racism.

Being an uglier steroidal version of the 2015 Harper Conservative and current Trump campaigns, it skilfully redirected dissatisfaction away from those socially engineering current situations toward a possible means of constructively addressing legitimate concerns.

Within days of the vote, “Leave” campaigners backed away from major promises (health care; cut immigration) while hate crime complaints rose by 57 per cent.

Who would risk the unravelling of the U.K. and EU to meet their ideological and economic goals? Who finances the lies and antics of the likes of Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage?

For me, a clue lies in the repeated claim of the “Leave” campaign that if the U.K. leaves the EU it will have greater sovereignty and can just negotiate agreements with the EU as Canada is doing (CETA).

Farage, a commodities broker and former leader of the U.K. Independence Party, is a sitting member of the European Parliament (MEP) as well as co-chair of the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFD).

Members of the EFD are libertarians favouring asymmetrical agreements misnamed “free” trade.

These agreements, negotiated in secret, give global corporations the right and means (through secret tribunals) to sue democratically elected governments if projected profits are threatened by legislation favouring the common good.

They do not give people or government equal rights or means to sue corporations should they violate human rights, poison watersheds or misrepresent the threat to life posed by eco-system destruction.

“Increased sovereignty” may be the biggest lie of the “Leave” campaign. — Yvonne Zarowny, Qualicum Beach, B.C.



O Canada doesn’t deserve to be sung in church

The Editor: I wonder what it will take for Catholics to stop marking July 1 by singing “O Canada” at the end of mass. Don’t they realize that Canada is at war with the church?

I don’t know how else to explain legislative and judicial assaults of more than half a century. The assailants have struck down the Lord’s Day Act, emboldened secularists to banish Christian practices, symbols and utterances from the public square, ruled against religious exercises and recital of the Lord’s Prayer in public schools, compelled all schools to be open to homosexual and gender ideology, legalized contraception, group sex and assisted suicide, liberalized abortion and possession of child pornography, introduced no-fault divorce and same-sex marriage, and pressured Christians who refuse to co-operate in the changes to violate their consciences.

Oh yes, and the assailants have introduced a slippery distinction between freedom of religious beliefs and the right to act on them, trashed the Christian counsel of hate the sin but love the sinner, broadened the notion of hate speech in ways that could include quotations from the Bible, violated Catholic social teaching by allowing the welfare state to usurp from subsidiary organizations and individuals what they are able to do on their own initiative, and in the Charter of Rights and freedoms demoted God from supreme in the preamble to subordinate in the rest of the document. 

Maybe Catholics do know that the church is under attack, but put their faith in the line “God keep our land glorious and free.” It would be a persuasive possibility if, mentally, they replaced “keep” with “make.” They could be praying for a future liberated from an inglorious and licentious present.

If so, they had better hope that the God they are praying to is the one who is supreme, not subordinate, in the Charter. I fear, though, that if the assailants can demote God in the Constitution, they can easily remove him from the national anthem. Just as they changed “all our sons” to “all of us” in the second line, they should have no difficulty changing “God” to “Let’s” in the seventh. — Joe Campbell, Saskatoon