By Lethbridge Herald on April 27, 2018.
The haters need
to be silenced
In recent weeks, Canada has experienced two horrific tragedies which have touched people around the world. First, multiple young hockey players, including Lethbridge’s own Logan Boulet, were killed in a bus crash in Saskatchewan.
Now, 10 people are dead and many others hurt after the driver of a van indiscriminately and needlessly plowed down pedestrians on Toronto’s Yonge Street.
We Canadians aren’t accustomed to such violence. One is bad enough, two is unfathomable. Of course, others will say we ignore death and tragedy every day in our country, using certain well-publicized issues which the media has covered constantly to justify their lack of empathy for the victims of these two events.
Fortunately, we Canadians are a caring bunch. And we don’t ignore those whose lives end or are forever changed because of unexpected circumstance. We see that with the money that has often been raised to help people not only in our country, but abroad. Humboldt, High River, Fort McMurray, Haiti, just four examples of the generosity of Canadians who put their money where their hearts are.
But not everyone is compassionate. A Quebec blogger, who uses social media to spew contempt like a snake spews venom into its prey, had the audacity after the Humboldt tragedy to write on Twitter “I’m trying to not get cynical about what is a totally devastating tragedy but the maleness, youthfulness and the whiteness of the victims are, of course, playing a significant role.”
Shortly after the Toronto attack, she wrote on Twitter “pedestrian injuries in Toronto: so agonizingly mundane.”
This is a so-called journalist who has been given airtime on a national TV network and space in various Canadian publications. A so-called journalist who also referred this week to a Toronto Sun editor as “scum.” A so-called journalist who has made herself, with the help of followers, look like the victim when people have taken umbrage with her insensitivity and cruelty.
I won’t dignify this person’s conduct by mentioning her by name but a quick search of Twitter about Humboldt and #TorontoStrong will surely take you to some of her postings. Search for “Canada’s most hated person” and you’ll find a name other than Justin Trudeau.
I’ve been a newspaper writer for 38 years — my 39th starts on May 5 — and while some journalists have often worn their political and personal leanings on their sleeves for all to see, the writings of this particular individual are the most one-sided and mean-spirited I’ve ever seen.
Freedom of speech — which she and others are using as a defence — is not the freedom to hate.
With freedom comes responsibilities, one of them to be fair. We saw what freedom of speech without constraint did in Nazi Germany. We don’t need more hate-mongering.
The people affected by the Humboldt bus crash will forever be scarred; those who lost families or survived the Toronto attack this week will be, as well.
We Canadians need to stand up with them and show them we care. I’ve donated to a gofundme campaign for Toronto victims. I’m hoping many others join me in showing that this isn’t “mundane.”
People of many ages and perhaps races died in Toronto, neither of which should matter in how we respond to this event. Neither should have mattered in Humboldt. Neither should matter when the next disaster occurs, where ever it does in this country.
And I guarantee neither age nor race — nor sexuality, for that matter — do matter to most Canadians. We are not the image that some want to portray us as, including we white males, whose gender and colour is not a crime. We didn’t choose either, just like people don’t choose their sexuality. People of all gender, age and colour make the choice to love or they make the choice to hate.
Hatred and intolerance need to end. The way to do it is to stand up against the extremists — from both the far left and right of the political and religious spectrums — and tell them we will not let them dictate to any of us or the world who we are.
Stand proud with our friends in Toronto and support #TorontoStrong. Show the haters of all stripes that Canadians care. That Canadians love. That Canadians respect. That Canadians are one.
Follow @albeebHerald on Twitter.