With new leadership, Canada can be great once again

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To the Editor:

Regarding Pat Martin’s letter (“Bill 51 will destroy freedom, rights and democratic honesty”) expressing her concerns about Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Bill C-51, one can call it a secret police bill. I agree with Pat that that Harper “is hell-bent to destroy everything that Canada stands for.”

I came to Canada from Germany at Christmas 1952. Growing up under the Hitler dictatorship and after 1945 living under Soviet puppet German government dictatorship, I escaped from East Germany. It didn’t take me long to realize that I had come to a great country: freedom of speech and religion, living anywhere in Canada I choose and so on. It was like starting a new life.

I recall good politicians who made Canada great. There was former prime minister Lester B. Pearson who stood for peace in the world and created the peace army, the Blue Helmets, and gave Canada the beautiful maple leaf flag that united patriotic Canadians from nations all over the world. Then there was former Saskatchewan premier Tommy Douglas, who did a lot of good for ordinary working people and whom we have to thank that we have for medicare today. He was the first politician who talked to me and welcomed me to Canada.

“My Canada is gone.” I don’t agree with you on that, Pat. Our Canada is still here and it is now up to all of us to make it great again. We will find and vote for a real “Canadian” prime minister and government, one we can support and help to make Canada respected in the world again. We will look back on these dark times just like I look back on the dark times of Hitler and Stalin and their henchmen.

When I was taking evening classes to learn Canadian history in preparation for my citizenship I was surprised to learn that Canada had its dark days in history, too. Trying to destroy the culture of the native people by trying to indoctrinate their children in residential schools was one, and supplying native people with smallpox-infected blankets was another human rights violation. Also, there was the horrible treatment of Canadian citizens of Japanese heritage, taking everything away from them and transferring them inland into camps.

It was a great day in my life when I became a Canadian citizen and could vote. I do now know that along with my fellow citizens we have to be on guard for those politicians and others who want to change the wonderful Canadian way of life or to fill their pockets and have power over us.

Henry Dahle