My dream is for people around the world to look up and to see Canada like a little jewel sitting at the top of the continent
~ Tommy Douglas
November 17, 2014
When Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper “greeted” Russian President Vladimir Putin at the recent G20 he said the following words that made me want to give him a big ol’ bear hug:
I guess I’ll shake your hand but I’ll only have one thing to say to you – get out of Ukraine
Mr. Harper, I take my hat off to you.
Here in the U.S., I think we mostly think of Canada as our peaceful, northerly neighbors. They’re like our brother from another mother. We like to joke about them, and their love of hockey, eh? We think of the country mostly as an ice and snow-riddled northern wilderness full of jolly, happy-go-lucky pacifists who stay out of most everything. Up until 2009, U.S. citizens didn’t even need a passport to visit. In the Northeast U.S., where I live, most people don’t even consider Canada another country and if you ask someone if they’ve traveled to a foreign country and he/she says Canada the joke will be, “But that doesn’t count!”
We don’t think of Canada as a military power or a country that is all that involved in international politics or warmongering, which might be why we like them so much. We’re tired of war, and Canada doesn’t seem to have it. They’re like the Switzerland of North America. We think of their police as handsomely dressed forest rangers riding horses, and who are endearingly called the “Mounties” and we have a tendency to ask Canadians if they actually have real crime. Side note: They do, but much, much less than here in the U.S. Oddly though, they’re more afraid of crime (perhaps because they’re not as used to it).
So when I read this morning about what Mr. Harper had to say to Mr. Putin, I nearly squealed in joy. Not because I like the thought of another nation becoming involved in war, but because it was so unexpected and also was exactly what most westerners would love to say to the Russian President ourselves.
Mr. Putin, you’re not fooling anyone, you’ve obviously done something terribly, terribly wrong. So like you tucked tail and fled the G20, so too tuck tail and get the hell out of Ukraine.
And if you want, take your separatists with you. If they feel that they’re more Russian than Ukrainian, take them back to your own soil and protect them there. We’ll see how Russian they are then. Ukraine is a sovereign nation, which you have invaded. Turn around and go home now, because you’ve done something I didn’t even think possible – you pissed off Canada.