Redux: RMCC Recruits, Laura Secord, and Abortion

Recruit Grit

The original: I posted a video on the recruits at Canada’s Royal Military College doing the obstacle course.

The follow-up: A teacher-turned-psychologist does a TED talk on grittiness.

Pioneer Grit

The original: Last week I included Laura Secord in the list of Canadian national treasures.

Follow-up #1: One commenter sent a link to a Tanglefoot song about Laura Secord:

Follow-up #2: Another commenter has been to the cemetery in which Laura Secord is buried. Herewith, a picture of one side of that monument, which reads as follows:

To perpetuate the name and fame of Laura Secord, who walked alone nearly 20 miles by a circuitous, difficult and perilous route through woods and swamps and over miry roads to warn a British outpost at De Gews Falls of an intended attack and thereby enabled Lieut Fitzgibbon on the 24th June 1813, with less than 50 men of H.M Rect., 15 militiamen and a small force of Six Nation and other Indians under Captains William Johnson Kerr and Dominique Ducharme, to surprise and attack the enemy at Beechwoods (or Beaver Dams) and after a short engagement to capture Col Boerstler of the U.S. Army and his entire force of 542 men with two field pieces.

LCol (ret) Whitman assures me that the personal information one expects on a tombstone is on the obverse.

Granite tombstone of Laura Secord.

Courtesy of John L. Whitman


Community Grit

The original: I wrote about what looks to me like the muddled mess at the core of the non-debate on abortion in Canada.

The follow-up: In the partisan posturing over naming the chair for the Committee on the Status of Women, no party looks very good, to my mind. Two commentators have taken on the Liberals over this matter. If you don’t have a subscription to the National Post, you might not be able to read either piece I’ve referred to, so I’ll include a bit of them here. My point? We can do better. Indeed, if we want to be a community, we’d better do better.

John Ivison

Nothing sums up this government’s unique fusion of cant and artifice as neatly as the ousting of Conservative MP Rachael Harder as chair of the status of women committee, voted out by the Liberals Tuesday on the grounds of her anti-abortion views.

In their first throne speech, the Liberals pledged to respect diversity and differences of opinion in Parliament.

“In this Parliament, all members will be honoured, respected and heard wherever they sit. For here, in these chambers, the voices of all Canadians matter,” said the speech, delivered by the Governor General, which outlined the government’s priorities.

In the event, David Johnston should have added a caveat: “Except if you disagree with the Prime Minister. Then you will be shamed, disdained and silenced.”


Andrew Coyne

For those just joining us, the fracas was set off by the Conservatives’ nomination as chair of the committee, Rachael Harder, the party’s critic for the Status of Women portfolio. Thirty years old, smart as a whip, with a background in sociology and youth consulting, Harder is a promising up-and-comer, of a type and vocation one would more typically find in the Liberal caucus.

She has, however, one fatal flaw, at least to the Liberals: she is (sensitive readers may wish to avert their eyes) pro-life, or if you prefer, anti-abortion. Which is to say, she presumably believes there should be some sort of federal law governing abortion, as opposed to the legal void in which it now takes place. It’s not clear how fervently she believes this, or what sorts of limits she would prefer were in place. The Campaign Life Coalition gives her an “amber-light” rating: though she once filled out a questionnaire for the group saying she would work to pass legislation “to protect unborn children” from conception onward, she also reportedly told an all-candidates meeting in 2015 that “she believes every woman should have access to abortion.”

No matter. Any deviation from the status quo on abortion, no matter how slight, is enough to cast one into the pit. Neither does it matter that there would be no chance whatever of Harder using her post as status of women’s committee chair to implement her fiendish plan. The mere knowledge that somewhere within her lurked some small gleam of wrongthink was grounds for disqualification. Or rather, something worse than that: it was not sufficient for the Liberal majority on the committee to defeat her nomination, as eventually they did (later electing another Conservative MP to the chair against her will). No, so intolerable was the very idea that when it was first proposed the Liberals on the committee walked out in protest.

There is, it is true, a lot of posturing at work here. But it is also true that many Liberals (and New Democrats) sincerely believe this: that any woman who does not believe in absolute unrestricted abortion on demand does not truly believe in women’s rights, and as such is unfit for such a post. They are entitled to think that. What marks them apart is their absolute unwillingness to extend the same courtesy to their opponents — or even to recognize that their opponents do not see things that way.


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2 Responses to Redux: RMCC Recruits, Laura Secord, and Abortion

  1. Jim Taylor says:

    I’m almost scared to comment on the abortion issue. I find myself on both sides of the fence at once. I’m opposed to abortion. I think the Roman Catholic Church is talking out of both side of its mouth, when it opposes both contraception and abortion. But I’m also against someone (usually an elderly male) telling women that someone else is entitled to make decisions for them; therefore I’m pro-choice, anti-anti-abortion.
    Jim T

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim T – Yes, it feels dangerous to comment, and that’s a sad comment! It’s become so hard to disagree yet not demonize. I don’t like abortion, but I don’t want to ban it, either. And we could all make more “pro-life” choices for ourselves and for others.

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