Sensitivity Training in the Peaceable Kingdom

Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Kate at SDA has two blood-curdling posts up on political correctness in Canada. First we learn (via CBC Watch) of a 2005 memo from CBC News editor-in-chief Tony Burman to his minions and colleagues in liberal elitism:
'Terrorism'? Who's to say?: Informed sources
National Post
July 19, 2005

What follows is a memo distributed to CBC staff describing the CBC policy on use of the word 'terrorism.'

'Terrorist' and 'terrorism': Exercise extreme caution before using either word.

Avoid labelling any specific bombing or other assault as a "terrorist act" unless it's attributed (in a TV or Radio clip, or in a direct quote on the Web). For instance, we should refer to the deadly blast at that nightclub in Bali in October 2002 as an "attack," not as a "terrorist attack." The same applies to the Madrid train attacks in March 2004, the London bombings in July 2005 and the attacks against the United States in 2001, which the CBC prefers to call "the Sept. 11 attacks" or some similar expression. (The BBC, Reuters and many others follow similar policies.)

Terrorism generally implies attacks against unarmed civilians for political, religious or some other ideological reason. But it's a highly controversial term that can leave journalists taking sides in a conflict.

By restricting ourselves to neutral language, we aren't faced with the problem of calling one incident a "terrorist act" (e.g., the destruction of the World Trade Center) while classifying another as, say, a mere "bombing" (e.g., the destruction of a crowded shopping mall in the Middle East).
Then we learn of the preparations the RCMP made for the recent alleged terrorists:
Before the raids came the sensitivity training: Tactical-squad Mounties learned how to properly handle Korans prior to arresting 17 terrorism suspects on the weekend.

And that's not all. The RCMP also made sure there were clean prayer mats on hand for their suspects when they were sent to jail cells.

Then, after everything wrapped up, authorities met with a number of Muslim leaders to impress upon them that officers were going after specific individuals, not the community as a whole.

"Our officers need to be respectful," said RCMP spokeswoman Corporal Michele Paradis.

"We want to make sure the investigation is pristine."
Isn't it interesting how the Muslim fanatics' (or do I mean all real Muslims? fifty percent? five?) deep concern with purification rituals and all things haram must now rub off on Canadian officialdom? I wonder if we will ever get to the point when terrorists have the right not to be arrested and handled by infidels. Without thinking like terrorists, I think we may however permit ourselves one wry smile at the news that one of the targets that the terrorists considered was CBC's Toronto broadcasting centre. (I will get a bit more reflective on blood and ritualism and post more here later in the day on the lead item in that story: the claim that one of the terrorists' targets was the Prime Minister's head.)


Rick Ballard said...

Now, now, TP, I'm sure you don't mean to denigrate a moderate Muslim's attempt to get ahead in life.

BTW - Please check out Terrye's post below. The blood money angle - and the lying that goes with it - are another highlight to differences that will not be resolved in our lifetimes.

Skookumchuk said...

Truepeers: None of my Canadian friends believe any of this PC stuff. They all maintain that some unknown but meaningful percentage of Moslems pose a threat in either an active or a passive, collaborative sense. Yet there is this complete inability and unwillingness to challenge the PC bureaucracy.

(As if we Yanks should talk . . .)

chuck said...

By restricting ourselves to neutral language, we aren't faced with the problem of calling one incident a "terrorist act" (e.g., the destruction of the World Trade Center) while classifying another as, say, a mere "bombing" (e.g., the destruction of a crowded shopping mall in the Middle East).

These bastards feel safe and above it all. Our fight isn't their fight, and yet they get funding from the Canadian government who collects the money in taxes from Canadians. At this point if the CBC ever *does* get bombed I am predisposed to consider it as a misunderstanding among our enemies rather than an assault on Canadians. It ain't nice to know I feel that way, but I do. It's like tossing useless baggage overboard in a storm.

truepeers said...

Rick, yes, Terrye's post is a must read.

Skook, whatever the threat of having Islamic institutions (as opposed to individual Muslims) in one's country, I do think our greater threat is what the elites in our own institutions do to justify their power: tell us that we are all bad, full of white guilt, and should shut up about anything distintive, any particular cultural affinities (unless they concern the other, or some pop culture triviality - e.g. let's talk Tim Hortons, that's one business that just keeps growing the more and more pc we get! ), and embrace the brave new world of multiculturalism.

Skookumchuk said...


I do think our greater threat is what the elites in our own institutions do to justify their power

Well, sure. The paradox is that everybody knows it. It is like reading the happy results of the last Five Year Plan in Izvestia over and over. At some point society must face the consequences of not believing.

truepeers said...

Someone named "seeker" left the following a propos comment at Covenant Zone

What's multiculturalism to me? A little bit of everything and a whole lot of nothing. Take tolerance for example. I suppose that I 'should' practice tolerance for what a director of a Toronto Islamic centre (as quoted in the National Post) refers to as "confused young minds that need love and guidance". But my tolerance tank is runnin' on empty. Maybe I'll find a filling station soon. Maybe not. Until then, I'll console myself with jokes such as: "Question - What do you call 3 tons of 34-0-0 Ammoniun Nitrate?" "Answer - The mother of all isolated Incidents!"

truepeers said...

Skook, the newspaper of choice of Canada's bureaucratic elites is The Globe and Mail. Today, there are a lot of interesting juxtapositions and contradictions on the editorial page.

The lead editorial is titled: "Tackling the dangerous ideology of victimhood"...
"Muslims are not oppressed worldwide. Forty leading Arab and Muslim intellectuals, including Canadian economicist Atif Kubursi, have come out and said so in the past few years in the Arab Human Development Reports done for the United Nations... [note, the bureaucratic elite no longer worshipping victimhood]

"The notion that Canadian Muslims are victims is nonsense. Their parents left behind constrained lives in countries such as Algeria and Somalia for the educational and economic opportunities of this country. They worship freely. They are very much part of the mainstream of Canadian life.

"In Canada, Muslims do not find themselves living in separate communities as in Britain, where in 17 primary schools, 90 percent of students are Bangladeshi. They are not living in sprawling suburban ghettos, as in France. Female Muslims are not forbidden to wear the traditional head scarf in public schools, as in France. Schools make enormous accomodations - barring male lifeguards, for instance, to permit special swimming periods for Muslim girls... [so much for employment equity, or the right of all girls to admire lifeguards... if they ever instigate a single sex swimming schedule at my pool, i will explode] But the ideology of victimhood is attractive to some young people because it explains everything."

Then we read letters to the editor on the recent plot:

(from a historian) "Your newspaper's narrow focus on police efforts to prevent a terrorist attack has obscured a more fundamental issue: the fact that the suspected terrorists are essentially the products of Canadian schools. The public education system is our first line of defense agains homegrown terrorism. Arguably, this incident shows that it has failed to deliver the required ounce of prevention"

Another letter: "Drop into just about any classroom in Toronto and ask the kids about Canada. Surprised that they can't name the Prime Minister? They will probably just say, "Who cares?.. As an educator, I have always believed that our curriculum should be infused with Canadian content. We must teach kids what it means to be Canadian."

Another letter: "You [the Globe] say, "Some will even leap to the conclusion that our experiment with mass immigration and multiculturalism is failing, that our very tolerance and openness have become a weakness." Yes, and some will be right. Only in Toronto where political correctness has replaced logic and careful observation, would a major newspaper argue the opposite."

Another letter "Canada is the most tolerant, inclusive and multicultural nation on Earth. Even our enemies are Canadian."

Then there are many letters both lauding and criticizing Christie Blatchford for her column saying she was fed up with Muslim leaders after attending a meeting where she said Muslims appeared more concerned to portray themselves as victims and in fear of a backlash, than people willing to take responsibility for the crazies in their midst.

All in all, I get the distinct impression that many Canadians, including many Muslims who want to be Canadians first, are desirous of rejecting multiculturalism, or some aspects of it, e.g. the cult of victimhood. On the other hand, no one know what would replace it - there can be no going back now to a narrow white, British and French identity - so people continue to defend certain multicultural precepts. This is a problem I hope to address in depth over the days and years to come at our new blog, Covenant Zone, where visions of a new Canadian covenant will hopefully be developed.

terrye said...

It is just incredible how stupid people can be.

Now if a terrorist attack is not a terrorist attack would a kick in the ass not be a kick in the ass? Cause they need one.

Syl said...

Look, at the risk of becoming a person non grata here, I don't mind the training re handling korans nor giving them prayer rugs or whatever.

I do, however, object to the implied difference between Islamic thugs bombing a shopping market in the M.E. and bombing a subway in the West. They are both acts of terrorism and should be labeled as such. Not doing so is just pathetic.

truepeers said...

Syl, I don't think we can refuse to give them Korans and prayer rugs either, if they ask for them first (but it might be an idea to have some Christian missionaries drop by if they are in prison for a long time...). What I do mind is the police going out of their way to be "culturally sensitive" in a spirit of relativising neutrality where "we" (or the police) collectively end up standing for nothing. The police are afraid of Muslims in the greater community making an issue of this. But what are we to make of people who would be quick to point fingers at the police over symbols of alleged (mis)treatment of alleged Jihadists? If the latter politicking would offend us, should we go out of our way to pre-empt it? It's a pride thing... but more importantly it is also a strategic question: perhaps the more "sensitive" you have to become today, the more you open yourself to unfair criticism over the next provocation.

Also, having the cells laid out for religious Muslims, before they arrive, is a kind of pre-judging that the defense lawyers could exploit. This is all a reaction to Gitmo: knowing how such things can be exploited, stories completely fabricated, is it pragmatic to become more or less sensitive?

Have you read the Koran? it curses the unbeliever on almost every page; it is not particularly sensitive in its opinions about infidels. I say give them their Korans if they really want them, but also be awake to the reality that this book is the source of many of our problems. Do you think the police in Toronto who are trying to figure out what is actually going on with terrorism are hindered or hurt by "sensitivity training"? Sometimes brutal discrimination gets one closer to the truth...

Skookumchuk said...


Then there is the whole business of changing the Canadian political culture without (shudder) "becoming Americans".

But seriously, I do look forward to the discussions in your blog. It is about time.

BTW, do they still teach the kids about Juno Beach?

David Thomson said...

Canada’s left-wing establishment deludes itself into thinking that limitless tolerance and generous welfare assistance will satisfy the Islamic nihilists. Unsurprisingly, it ultimately backfires. Only a fair and tough approach will be respected by those tempted to destroy Canadian society.

Skookumchuk said...


I asked a buddy in West Van what kinds of sentences the adults might receive if found guilty. He hadn't a clue. I suppose it just depends on how advanced the plot was.

I somewhat foolishly told him that if any of the guys are judged guilty and get more than 15 years, I would push a peanut with my nose 25,000 miles along the Equator.

Thus for now I have a vested interest in maintaining your culture of political correctness intact.

chuck said...

I would push a peanut with my nose 25,000 miles along the Equator.

Lessee, say 8 hr/day at 1/2 mile/hr for an expert peanut pusher provided with the appropriate boats, support, water, candy bars, and proceeded by road grading equipment where needed. Hmmm, about 17 years and 1 month, with no time off for weekends or holidays. Sounds like a good entry for the Guiness book of records.

truepeers said...

Skook, I think your nose is pretty safe, though we have to clarify between "getting" and actually serving fifteen years without early parole. Being failures, and probably not too smart all around, will mean these guys get fairly light sentences.

As for Juno Beach, well I don't really know what they are teaching in the schools re the war - history teaching is definitely in retreat, but what is taught is probably all over the map. When I was in high school, we got lots of WWII history, but I don't remember a lot from a Canadian perspective. The base assumption was cosmopolitan already then. But then, that is the Canadian perspective in good part: we' ve always been as much a creation of Empire as we are a nation. The fight between the two impulses goes on...

This being the anniversary of D-Day, the Canadian version of the history channel has been showing appropriate films. The host/introducer for The Longest Day was typically (complaining about the Americans) Canadian in being disappointed that there was not very much at all in the film on Juno beach. The CBC and other news sources still remind us of that day, from time to time, but I wonder if they will feel the obligation fade when the vets are all gone.

Syl said...

We're confusing actions with motives.

Would any of you seriously suggest that we refuse to give them Korans?

What would that accomplish? Unless we're ready for the consequences, we shouldn't go there.

I think we're angrier at what we presume is the motivation behind this than the actual act of handing out korans and fuzzy rugs.

The left keeps telling muslims they are victims and the Islamist community leaders swallow that joyously--it fits right into their own worldview.

But unless, and until, the muslim communities realize they're victims of their own extremists we're stuck with this type of situation.

Do you openly mock Holy Rollers? What's that you say? Holy Rollers aren't planning to kill us? Well, neither are the vast majority of muslims.

I say first things first. Fillet the fish before it turns rotten.

Luther McLeod said...

On the one hand Syl I agree with you. But the other hand thinks that this hyper sensitivity leads us down a worrisome road. As mentioned above, it is not so much the doing as it is the preparation. That is really a bit much for me. I see nothing but fear of reaction in that action. We give an inch and a mile is taken.

Coisty said...

The failure to call an act of terrorism just that reminds me of the US MSM referring to illegal alien colonists from Mexico as "undocumented".

Tonight on the CBC (Canada's BBC in more ways than one) there was a report from England and Holland about multiculturalism and its failure. Jeez I was a teenager in the 80s when I figured that out, but not these overeducated CBC types! The report ended with a remark about how Canada, unlike Europe, was multicultural from the beginning. Anyone who says that has not been taught Canadian history. It's a bit like saying the US is a mere propositional "nation of immigrants" when the main characteristics of the American nation were established before even Ellis Island.

Multiculturalism - which is not as popular with Canadians as the CBC and left wing Americans think - is very recent. It requires "Anglo-Saxon" Canadians to be whipping boys for everybody else for it to work. The Anglo-Saxons must suppress their ethnic identity whilst everybody else gets to celebrate theirs. And if they have an historical gripe with the Anglos - Chinese, Ukrainians, Italians, First Nations/Aboriginals/natives/Indians or whatever they are called this week - then all the better. You get an apology and your moment in the sun. The Muslims will probably have theirs one day along with made for TV movies, documentaries and, of course, an educational kit to be distributed to every school. If those RCMP parayer mats were not laid out facing Mecca look out! Generations will be taught about this insensitive act rooted in bigotry or ignorance, perhaps both.

Syl said...


I see your point. But this situation isn't static. Neither are the dynamics. This will take decades to resolve and as events play out attitudes can and will change in various ways--among all the players.

In the meantime some good old fashioned mocking of PC attitudes by comedians wouldn't hurt :(

And just look at how far America has come in just 5 years. It seems everything Bush touches turns chaotic which gives us all a glimpse into the underlying reality and turns everything inside out.

Canada is way behind but so was France and look at the changes there beginning there.

I'm not saying we shouldn't criticize certain attitudes, but I do feel we need the muslim community and they need us. I don't want to alienate them any more than we have to.

Luther McLeod said...


I should probably say nothing, but... I don't see us as having decades to sort this out. And I don't see any positives to be gained by having a greater muslim influence in this country or Canada. Sorry.

Barry Dauphin said...

According to some reports this group of Islamists (if they are what they seem to be) wanted to take over the CBC building. One could quip that the viewers probably wouldn't have been able to tell the difference.

But I think, if this is shown at trial to be true, that the CBCers won't really think about it. It will simply be absorbed into the arogant PoMo attitude. The left apologists are actually the new colonialists in my view. The difference is that they believe that the "Other" already shares their worldview rather than having to convert them to it. I think that even the plotting of al Qaeda wannabes (or franchise) will not shake that crowd from its slumbers and self righteousness.

I catch the CBC every morning for the classical music, but must tolerate the insipid CBC "news" crapola. I can practice tolerance by keeping track of how many anti-American pieces of propaganda they can stuff into 5 minutes worth of "news". They can actually turn almost any story in a pretext to vilify America or Bush. The term non sequitor does not exist for them.

I will follow the CBC portrait of these events and compare them with other sources of infomration or make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

Syl said...

I think I sound like I'm all okay with the tenets of Islam. I'm not. Especially the oppression of women and the ease with which violence manifests itself as well as the utter intolerance of so many. And I find nothing wrong with criticizing what I don't care for and doing it out loud.

But I don't feel it helps us in fileting the fish by making the community paranoid--they seem to have a tendency towards that anyway. And here is where the Left is really hurting us.

Just being multi-culti isn't all that horrible, just stupid and silly, but it's identifying this group as victims of an overzealous police state (not in so many words, necessarily, but you know what I mean) which feeds into the anxiety and paranoia.

Thus making us have to appease a bit just in order to tread water.

If we were allowed to be honest, a lot of anxiety, annoyance, and paranoia could be cleared up fairly easily though of course not totally.

PC prevents us from saying 'Yes, of course we're profiling blah blah because it's common sense to do so. Every terrorist we've captured so far has met those same criteria. So , yes, we might be checking out your mosque, or listening in on your Imam. We're sorry, but hopefully it won't last long.'

A little bit of honesty goes a long way to ease other honest people's minds and the dishonest don't matter. Instead they imagine we are pretending not to 'target' them and it makes it worse.

At least in my not so humble opinion.

Syl said...


And I don't see any positives to be gained by having a greater muslim influence in this country or Canada.

I'm not sure what you mean by 'influence'?

That's a strawman for my argument anyway. What we need them for is to reject their own fanatics. Being passive, in the face of our arresting these goons would be a good start.

Luther McLeod said...

I'll just leave it at that Syl. Off to bed.