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SNOBELEN: Politics is now focused on trivial matters over real improvements – Toronto Sun

Author of the article:

John Snobelen

A Dundas Street West sign is pictured in Toronto, Wednesday, June 10, 2020.
A Dundas Street West sign is pictured in Toronto, Wednesday, June 10, 2020. Photo by Giordano Ciampini /The Canadian Press

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For the last decade I’ve spent time in the early morning sorting out the events of the day with my friend Blake. Lately, it hasn’t been easy.

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The various edicts from legions of woke-folk are hard to decode.

For example, the high-minded folks at the Entomological Society of America are renaming the gypsy moth to rid the world of the obvious ethnic slur.

The ever-woke experts at Ontario’s Ministry of Education felt compelled to preamble the revised math curriculum with helpful notes on taking a “decolonial” and “anti-racist” approach to the subject.

And then there is the great Toronto unDundasing. Although roughly 99.99% of people have no clue who Dundas Square is named after, the uber-woke on Toronto Council is about to spend millions renaming all things Dundas.

These are trivial matters. But the nearly total focus on trivial, low-impact initiatives (can anything be less impactful than renaming the gypsy moth?) over real improvements in the lives of Canadians is difficult to explain. The best I can come up with is it’s a natural progression of the plague of the selfie-stick.

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The urgent need to virtue signal is probably best illustrated by the recent surge of Canadian politicians rushing to kneel at the site of ancient cemeteries that are likely the final resting place of hundreds of indigenous children. The history of the treatment of indigenous people is no trivial matter.

But politicians, most notably our uber-woke Prime Minister, won’t let a sombre moment go unmolested by a photo-op. Justin Trudeau demonstrated the depth of his indigenous sensitivity as he knelt, Teddy Bear resting in his hand, at a gravesite.

This is a sad indictment of the vacuous nature of politics at two levels.

First, and most importantly, a number of indigenous leaders have recently noted that the time for gestures is over. They need substantive, adult conversations about the future of indigenous peoples in Canada. Kneeling with a Teddy Bear doesn’t cut it.

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Secondly, the whole Teddy Bear thing displays remarkable ignorance.

Teddy Bears celebrate Teddy Roosevelt, the American outdoorsman and President who once allowed that “I don’t go so far as to think that the only good Indians are the dead Indians, but I believe nine out of every 10 are.”

Our endlessly virtue signalling Prime Minister seems unperturbed over the hauling down of statues of Sir John A and Queen Victoria but is oddly and publicly supportive of Teddy Roosevelt. Try ‘splaining that.

You get the point. I am not perturbed by symbolism. Haul down all the statues you want. Rename any offending bugs. Heck, give all the streets numbers instead of names.

None of it matters much. But when symbolism is confused with meaningful action, we are in a world of hurt.

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Building a future for everyone in Canada, most particularly the First Nation communities, requires serious work and adult conversations, not platitudes and empty gestures.

Which gets me back to the conversations with Blake.

Blake is smart. He has to be, he’s an Australian Shepard. He knows the difference between artifice and real. He can sniff out a poseur at 50 feet.

Humans do not seem to have Blake’s keen attachment to reality. We are easily, and happily, distracted by pretence, symbolism and fake culture wars that divide us into irrelevant camps, all at the cost of actually doing something constructive.

Which makes it increasingly hard to explain to a dog how humans are the superior species.

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