Last year (Aug 2004), an Iranian security agent beat a female Canadian photojournalist to death in a Tehran prison. Apart from recalling its ambassador—a meaningless gesture given Ottawa’s weakness—the Canadian government was impotent to respond and merely 'publicly' demanded a trial. The Iranians agreed to hold a trial. After all, the killer’s identity was no secret, the circumstances were well known and there had never been serious charges against the victim, Zahra Kazemi, an Iranian-born Canadian citizen. The trial was a mockery. The acknowledged murderer was acquitted, of course. Months before the trial, Ms. Kazemi, whose skull had been crushed, was ruled to have died of natural causes. The regime hardliners had a grand, old laugh while thumbing their noses at Canada.
Canada’s response? The fact is that Canada is powerless to do anything. The hardliners of Iran took that into account as they methodically chose their victim. Ottawa was simply judged as unable and unwilling to respond to such a murder. Far more emigres active in Iranian affairs or journalism hold U.S. or British passports. They were safe enough, because killing a journalist protected by the great Anglo-American alliance would have been risky. What would Ottawa do?
This cynical murder should resound more powerfully than it has done. Canadians on the left may not like it, but the unmistakable lesson for Canada is that, when it defected from the great Anglolateral alliance that has defended freedom for almost a century, it lost its influence, its authority and the weight of collective power.
It’s all too easy to write off Canada as a parka-enshrouded land of strategic freeloaders, economic parasites who complain as they profit, kept safe by their proximity to the superpower they love to criticize. But the truth is that we only hear the noisy, down-with-America Canadians, like Canuck, who represent but a fraction of Canadas population (all that French influence at work). I like to think that there are far more goodwill, common sense and courage to the north than the Canadian media likes to admit.
Until Canada again stands shoulder to shoulder with her inevitable allies—those who share her core cultural heritage of the rule of law, democracy and the rights of the individual citizen—Ottawa will remain powerless, disdained by rogue states and manipulative Europeans alike.
In the last century, Canada fought heroically on the side of the brotherhood of English-speaking nations—the world’s only enduring alliance for freedom. I would that many within Canada’s military were ashamed that they were not allowed to do their share in the liberation of Iraq. Peacekeeping missions are well and good, but every soldier knows that what really counts is the willingness to give blood by your brother’s side. They need to rejoin the fold and stand, once again, against tyranny, against murderous ideologies, against the world’s deadly bigots. Some may not care for President Bush, but he hasn’t smashed in the skull of any Canadian citizens lately.