Two new solitudes – Part 1

What used to be a divide between French and English Canada now seems to be between “Neo-Conservative” and “Progressive” Canada.

There was a time when we talked about the “two solitudes” in Canada, referring to a divide between French and English Canada.  Although differences still exist between our two founding cultures, they are now more often celebrated than not.

Over the past few years, however, I have seen “two new solitudes” emerge.  Let’s call them “Neo-Conservative” and “Progressive.” Though we may speak the same language, we really do not understand each other.  I notice this in the House of Commons, particularly.  There are major differences in how these two new solitudes perceive the world and I would like to discuss these over my next two columns.

One solitude sees for Canada a role on the world stage that is a significant shift from the values that our country has traditionally represented. The current Conservative government wants Canada to become a proud military nation that makes major contributions to war efforts in areas such as Afghanistan and Libya. This focus means that our military must be equipped and trained to engage in more combat missions throughout the world, usually at the side of the US in NATO-led missions. The latest military technology, like the F-35 first strike jets, needs to be in place to fit into this version.

The other solitude believes that Canada has lost its leadership role in world peacekeeping and that we should return to our role of working within the United Nations and concentrate on making defence a priority for our armed forces.

This change would require that Canada leave Afghanistan and decline other missions with NATO, an organization originally set up in 1949 to protect Europe from communist aggression.  Canada should play a greater role as a broker in peaceful settlements in the Middle East, Africa and other areas of conflict.

Military purchases should provide the equipment to get the job done and keep our troops, and civilians, safe.

This past November I introduced a Private Member’s bill to create a federal Department of Peace. Bill C-373 passed first reading in the House of Commons on November 30, 2011.

The work of a Department of Peace would be to strengthen non-military means of peace-making by developing policies and programs that promote national and international conflict prevention, non-violent intervention, mediation and peaceful conflict resolution.

Bill C-373 outlines wide-ranging objectives for a Department of Peace that would tackles domestic and international responsibilities in the areas of human security and education.

The notion that there can be peace in the world may be a utopian ideal but each generation owes it to the next to make a dedicated attempt to get as close to it as humanly possible.

Alex Atamanenko is the MP for

BC Southern Interior

Just Posted

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

SD20 now has an electric bus. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay-Columbia School District 20 adds electric bus to fleet

Bus will be incorporated into Castlegar route for next school year

Painting by Dave Davies from Shaver’s Bench facing Teck Trail.
Happy 120th Birthday to the City of Trail!

The town of Trail Creek- or Trail Creek Landing - was incorporated as a city on June 14, 1901.

Cropped photo: Silver Screen Drive-in will be in the upper parking lot of Waneta Plaza.
Summer drive-in returns to Trail unveiling blockbuster movies

PHOTOS: Scroll to bottom for a trip down memory lane to the Auto Vue Drive-In

Gentle draft horses are bred and raised in feedlots in Canada to be exported for slaughter. Since 2013, more than 40,000 horses have been exported out of Canada. Photo: Canadian Horse Defense Coalition
Ban the shipping of Canadian horses overseas for slaughter

Since 2013, over 40,000 horses have been exported out of Canada.

How to tell if a call from ‘CRA’ is legitimate or a scam

Expert says it’s important to verify you really are dealing with the CRA before you give out any info

British Columbia-Yukon Community News Association’s 2021 Ma Murray Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 10. (Screen grab)
Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

Publications received nods in dozens of categories

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets campers while visiting McDougall, Ont. on Thursday, July 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
71% of B.C. men say they’d prefer to go camping with Trudeau: survey

Most British Columbians with plans to go camping outdoors say they’d prefer to go with Trudeau or Shania Twain

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Chilliwack cocaine trafficker Clayton Eheler seen with a tiger somewhere in Asia in 2014. Eheler was sentenced to nine years jail in 2018, but was released on bail in October 2020 pending his appeal of conviction.(Facebook)
Director of civil forfeiture seeks $140,000 from Fraser Valley drug dealer’s father-in-law

Clayton Eheler’s father-in-law Ray Morrissey caught with money in Fort St. John by B.C.’s gang unit

A Comox Valley shellfish operator pleaded guilty and was fined $10,000 in provincial court in Courtenay earlier this year. Record file photo
B.C. clam harvester fined $10,000 for Fisheries Act violations

Charges against three others were stayed in Courtenay Provincial Court

Frank Phillips receives a visit from his wife Rena at Nanaimo Seniors Village on their 61st wedding anniversary, March 31, 2020. Social visits have been allowed since COVID-19 vaccination has been offered in all care homes. (Nanaimo News Bulletin)
B.C. prepares mandatory vaccination for senior care homes

180 more cases of COVID-19 in B.C. Friday, one more death

Lorraine Gibson, 90, received a COVID-19 immunization at the South Surrey Park and Ride vaccination clinic. (File photo: Aaron Hinks)
Surrey has had 25% of B.C.’s total COVID-19 cases

Surrey recorded 4,012 cases in May

The arrest south of Winnipeg occurred before Bernier was to arrive at a protest in the city. (Twitter/Maxime Bernier)
Maxime Bernier arrested following anti-rules rallies in Manitoba: RCMP

He’s been charged with exceeding public gathering limits and violating Manitoba’s requirement to self-isolate

Most Read