The Earth is Flat Award for December 1996
As reported by Canadian media, leaders of the Chinese military, the same that crushed the democracy movement that sprang up in Tiananmen Square in 1989 visited Canadian military bases during the first week of November, as guests of Canadian military officers. While the Canadian military kept it as quiet as possible, China's official state news agency, Xinhua, described the visit as proof of "military friendship" between the two countries.
In typical military underspeak, a spokesman stated in The Globe and Mail's on-line edition, "It's a bit of a tightrope for us because we are sensitive to the fact that some elements of the Canadian public may think this is not very good at all."
Some elements may not think this is not very good at all? I'd like to think that anyone of conscience, who saw the tanks roll into Tianenmen Square, saw the 'brave' Chinese troops killing fellow citizens, saw the brave unknown man who stopped the tanks, might think this is a little more than "not very good at all." This visit shames a military already under siege from numerous scandals. Our military's only role is to protect our rights from external aggression, not play host to butchers from a tyranny. Yet another disappointment from Canada's military.
...And from our politicians. If you read the newspapers you might have seen pictures of our Prime Minister and Chinese Premier Li Peng chumming it up in Shanghai. According to a Globe and Mail article on November 27, 1996, Primie Minister Chretien had so sufficiently warmed up the Chinese Premier that they were trading jokes, Peng himself actually delivered off the cuff remarks (something he never does), and Chretien hugged him about the shoulders.
It is good to know that while Canada jails farmers for selling grain outside of the Canadian Wheat Board, that our leader is hugging the man who played a role in sending out the army against the students in Tiananmen Square.
On a lighter note...
Quebec's provincial government recently announced thirty new restrictions on language usage by its civil servants, including a requirement for these employees to receive permission before making a speech in English.
Quebec's Culture Minister Louise Beaudoin made it clear that she wishes to eliminate the "rampant bilingualism in the civil service."
While this testimony to anti-intellectualism was occurring, the provincial government's International Affairs office is promoting Montreal, in their fall 1996 edition of Quebec International, as a bilingual paradise where all sectors of the economy is thriving. The magazine is distributed outside of Quebec to lure vacationers and new businesses.
Speculation is that the Parti Quebecois is attempting to mollify its hard-liners who have been demanding tougher language laws.
This little episode merely illustrates the intellectual vacuum that is the separatist movement in Quebec. So in addition to intolerant and having an inferiority complex, Quebec's so-called intellectuals can also lay claim to stupidity. For them is a shiny and -- entirely in English -- Earth is Flat Award.
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